Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Mount Chiquita, Rocky Mountain National Park

September 8, 2015

Distance: 5.6 miles
Time: 4 hours 52 minutes
Elevation gain: 4,635'
Altitude: 11,004' - 13,070'

Year to date miles: 582.8

Map: The trail is not shown on maps because it isn't maintained. However, it is very easy to follow. 

Parking: Chapin Pass trailhead
Parking is on the dirt Old Fall River Road - a one way road with sharp hairpin turns and steep drop offs. Even though we saw regular cars on it, I was glad to have a Jeep! I figured there was only room for 3 cars to park, but when we left there were around 8 cars parked. Yikes.

Rocky Mountain National Park Dayhiker's Guide by Jerome Malitz

We originally were going to hike Twin Sisters today. When we got to the trailhead we saw a sign about how a lot of the switchbacks have been wiped out by a landslide. We didn't want to deal with hiking up and over a landslide again, so we decided to hike Mt. Chiquita instead.

Just before we hit the dirt portion of Old Fall River Road, we saw our first moose! We jumped out of the car and took photos. It was not close, but we were still so excited!

We were the third car at the trailhead. The drive on that road is kind of crazy. We started the hike below tree line, then entered what I think is called the subalpine zone with krumholtz. Then above tree line into the alpine zone. Hiking above tree line was amazing! This is what I imagine Colorado hiking to be. It was wicked cold and extremely windy. I only had light gloves and my hands were freezing. My face was also freezing due to the constant wind blowing sideways. We had to stop and rest a lot to let our heart rates go down. But then we'd get very chilled. The miles went very slowly! We eventually made it to the summit where we shared a rock windbreak with another family. Just incredible views! So happy we made it to the top.

On the way out we missed the cairn for a trail up to the summit of Chapin Mountain. We saw it on the way back, but we were pretty cold and ready to head back to the car.

I only had mild pressure in my head for 10 minutes. Glen had dry heaves when we were descending. I don't know what more we could have done to acclimate. But, it looks like Mt. Elbert is out, because that would be more than 1,000' higher than today's hike.



On the way out the trail splits. We took the trail to the right which is higher above tree line and I believe rockier. I believe they both meet up near the pass.

Trailhead sign

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