Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mummy Mountain and Hagues Peak via Lawn Lake th.

May was not the most successful month hiking wise for me.  While I did obtain several new destinations, I also had two weeks done in by weather related turn arounds.  And of course, it wasn't short days I turned back on!  
Just a week before I started with a bad weather forecast aimed at Mummy Mountain and Hagues Peak.  I made it up onto Mummy's east ridge and lounged around in the sun for twenty minutes or so, observing the threatening clouds to the south that were swiftly moving in my direction.  The weather report called for a sixty percent chance of storms starting at noon, and it was 11:20.  I started down and the rain/snow hit right as I reached tree line around 11:50.  Within ten minutes it was thundering and hailing.  So, the right call was made there.
But what a difference a week makes!  May 28th saw a 10% chance of storms, which meant I planned to be out all day.  I started around 530 from the Lawn Lake trail head.  The weather was still a bit cool. 
Sun on the eastern ridges of Fairchild Mountain. 
Roaring River flood damage. 
A look at Mummy Mountain through the trees.
I really like hiking the Lawn Lake Trail.  It doesn't gain elevation too steeply, so it feels like I can really fly up it.  Until I hit the snow.  As of a week ago, there was still pretty solid snow cover on the trail from around 9800 feet up to tree line (exposure dependent).  From tree line, it is mostly clear up until the mid 12000's, when snow starts becoming an issue again.
Looking into the bowl of Lawn Lake.  Maybe it was the bad weather predicted and the resultant lack of motivation, but the week before I felt like I was dragging.  This week I was moving pretty well.
Once again I saw two kid bighorn sheep.  One of the decided I was interesting and kept moving toward me.  I was whistling and yelling to scare him off, and he turned around and started eating grass.  Guess I'm not too scary.
I hit the snow and it was pretty solid.  I was sinking in but only 6-10 inches or so.  Soon enough, I was at the summit.
Summit cairn.  Last time I was here was winter and I was FREEZING and didn't even want to stop to eat.  This day was very nice and warm.  I was in short sleeves, ate a snack, dug out the register.  To my surprise, I saw a familiar name: Lisa Foster had climbed Mummy Mountain in March with a friend.  I am happy to know she is healed up and getting out again.
I continued on.  The western slope of Mummy Mountain looked very steep from above, but in reality it wasn't too bad. 
Here I am in the saddle between Mummy and Hagues.  While I didn't know it at the time, a rescue was in progress on Longs Peak.... 
Looking toward Hagues.  I went contoured up and around the first bump to gain the top of the ridge and continued on from there.
Looking to Rowe Peak and Gibralter Mountain.
And the third highest named lake in the United States, Rowe Lake aka Rowe Glacier Lake.
Looking down to Lawn Lake.  This slope looked like it would be a fun glissade down, but I managed to restrain myself. 
Looked like some critter met its end here at the wings of a bird.
Or maybe glissade down this?  The wet slides around it meant no.  Note Crystal Lake and Little Crystal Lake.
It seemed to take a long time to get to Hagues and then it was fun to find some electronics on the top. 
Back to Mummy.  The clouds had started up in earnest by now, and were certainly adding to the look of all the photos I shot!
It was actually a little windy on top, and I donned long sleeves and headed down to a more sheltered place to eat.  Here view Mummy again.
I made my way back.  At first I was thinking I would contour around Mummy and pick up on the other side.  On second thought, I went for it.  As I was going up, I saw an SAR helicopter come and work through the peaks around me.  Who were they looking for?  According to the register on Mummy, no one had summited for over a month before me, and I hadn't seen any signs of humanity on my way to Hagues and back.  But seeing one of these out in the middle of no where is usually not a good sign of anything.
The copter went by me and I gave a thumbs up.  Back toward Hagues it went, only to come back towards me.
It landed in the saddle between Hagues and Mummy.  Two people got out with a third assisting with gear.  The third got back into the copter and it took off and flew away.  I am not sure if this was related to what was going on on Longs or what.  But it was a strange occurrence.
As I headed back to Mummy, I saw this crow on top of the peak.
And a cool cloud over the peak too!
Looking down to Lawn Lake from a break in Mummy's south face.
And the summit register again.  Does this mean I got three 13ers in a day?  Haha.
Looking down the east ridge, I found the perspective almost mind bending. 
I saw a ton of these bugs up there.  They seemed to be either coming up from the snow, or flying and landing in it. 
More great clouds.  The views didn't quit. 
And more!
Tileston, Potts Puddle, Bighorn Mountain.
I stopped to pump water.  It was pretty cool to look up and see the whole of Mummy Mountain laid out before me.
And farther down to see Longs framed by the river. 
I made it back to the car in almost exactly twelve hours.  It made me happy to see that parts of 36 that were not paved on the way up had been while I was in the mountains.  Maybe it will be back to fully open soon.  We can hope.
Again, this would be another one that will be easier in the summer once the snow has melted.  As it stands, this is my single highest elevation gain day as of yet, at 6262 feet.  While the Lawn Lake trail is relatively sedate, once you leave the trail, you'll gain almost 2000 feet/mile to reach the summit of Mummy Mountain, so plan accordingly and give yourself enough time to get to the summit and back down to treeline.  Hopefully you'll also see some Bighorn, as I have seen at least two each time I've been up here. 
The Mummy Range holds a special place in my heart.  The peaks are rugged, desolate, and beautiful.  The lakes are often just as hard to access as the peaks.  Once you leave the main trails, you'll likely not see anyone at all.  My idea of paradise.
Mummy Mountain (13425) and Hagues Peak (13560) via Mummy's se ridge/Lawn Lake Th:
15.4 miles round trip, 6262 foot gross gain.  Second class.  Strenuous+.

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