Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Flattop Mountain and Beyond.

More than a few weeks ago now, Dan and I set out early one morning to try for Snowdrift Peak.  This peak is relatively far in any way you do it, with a good part of the day spent above tree line.  As you can see above, we started under hallucinogenic skies from Bear Lake.  We did not find the construction traffic to be too bad- of course the park is definitely much slower over all this time of year.
Frozenish Bear Lake, Hallett Peak sees first sun.
Glacier Gorge through the trees.
The early morning sun and low lying clouds gave us some crazy looking skies all day.
A better view into Glacier Gorge and of Longs Peak.
Above Emerald Lake.
A frozen Dream Lake far below.
Equally frozen Emerald Lake.
Amazing skies.
Nearing tree line and starting to approach Flattop.
Somewhere up there.
We remarked on the lack of snow at this point in the year.  Since our hike, the winter has caught up.
Well there it is.  Way over there...
I can't remember now why I aimed at this, but at least it looks cool.
Closer still.
We left the Tonahutu Creek Trail a bit prematurely, and topped out point 12277' a bit northeast of Snowdrift.  We sat and ate and talked, and discovered that the cold and windy day had taken a toll on our motivation and the seemingly questionable snow conditions lying ahead could cause us to turn back anyway.  So we acted logically and turned back.  It sucks to be so close (relatively) but knowing that neither of us really wanted to go on was all we needed to know we'll get back to this peak in the future...
Heading back to Flattop, Hallett Peak again.
Down something steep.  You can see just a touch of smoke from the Fern Lake fire above the lake on the left.
Tundra as far as the eye can see.
Got my finger stuck in this one...
And the camera strap in this one...
And nothing in this one.
As we descended, I again found that on this day, the skies held most of my interest.
Back at Bear Lake.
And a last glimpse of Glacier Gorge and three goals for 2013- Longs Peak, Keyboard of the Winds, and Pagoda Mountain. 
Although we did not gain our ultimate destination of the day, we felt like this was a fun day in the park.  Spending several hours above 12000 feet wasn't so bad, and I did get to check off a place I hadn't been to before.  Despite the bone chilling wind, a good time was had!
Flattop Mountain:
4.4 miles each way, 2874 foot gain.  Moderate+.

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