cloudhiking - maps and adventure guides

Site Links


Contact Us









Friends' Links

Appalachia & Beyond

Family Wilds


Marking My Territory

Outcast Hikers


563 Halletts Peak Story 2012-01-24

Halletts Peak

A good friend of ours is celebrating a birthday today. We've known him for years and have shared many adventures with him. So a bit of a roast to our friend ...

Before the digital age, my friend and I climbed Halletts Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park by the old Northcutt-Carter route. Sorry, but I could not find pictures from the day.

Each day of the summer, hundreds (if not thousands) of hikers walk the 1.8 miles from Bear Lake Trailhead to Emerald Lake. The path is almost a walkway as it slowly gains elevation to the upper lake. From Emerald Lake the views of Halletts are superb. Hikers line the shore of the lake and rest as they gaze upward at the imposing cliffs.

Early in the morning my friend and I had walked to the lake and beyond as we continued to the base of the Third Buttress of Halletts Peak. Our intended route was one of the Fifty Classic Climbs in North America. I had climbed the route a couple of times before, but was still psyched to be on the mountain again and to share the route with my friend.

It was cold that morning and the north face of the mountain was very chilly. My friend wore bright green, baggy, fleece pants, a down jacket and a red helmet. He was easy to see, but he would have been easy to spot even in a carnival. He looked like a genie!

We made quick work of the climb. Even though the face looked intimidating, the climbing was at a moderate grade. Soon we were at the top of the cliff and then descended a steep, loose, couloir back to the base of the climb. There was plenty of snow on the upper slopes of the mountain (above the lake) and we did not have ice axes with us.

As we stood at the top of one of the snowfields, we discussed techniques to use on the slippery slope. To quicken our descent we decided to try sliding down the slope in a standing glissade. A standing glissade is like skiing in your boots, sans skis. On a steep hard surface, you can slide very fast. Your boots edge cuts an edge in the snow and slows you with each turn. Well, if you are wearing boots, that is. Unfortunately, we were not wearing boots.

Still high above the lake, we started sliding. Quickly we slid and even quicker we fell onto the slope. Bouncing back to our feet, we slid and fell again and again. The comedy of errors lasted for minutes as we fell all the way to the bottom of the first snowfield and continuing on to the lower ones.

Arriving at the lake, we brushed off the snow and proudly walked around the shore among the hikers. We had ropes, climbing gear, and helmets hanging form our shoulders. Our strut said, we were mountaineers. A group, stopped us to ask questions, I think my friend was ready to whip out his autographing pen ... as one girl directed a question to him.

"Was that you up there?"

"Why, yes, it was," my friend answered proudly.

"Why did you keep falling?"

Turning bright red, my friend hem-hawed a lame answer, as I belly laughed at the comical scene. My friends clothing made it easy for him to be spotted, even at great distances. The observers/hikers did not see me fall, because I was wearing less conspicuous clothing.

We laughed and poked fun at each other all the way back to the trailhead. It was a good day.

Happy birthday trails


Name (required):

Comment (required):

Please Introduce Secure Code: