102 Photos - Sep 1, 2014
Photo: Ready to start a three day hike into the backcountry of Wild Basin. Photo by Bill WalkerPhoto: Destinations! Photo by Steph PetriPhoto: Lower Copeland Falls.Photo: Upper Copeland Falls.Photo: Next to Upper Copeland Falls. Photo by Dave SockyPhoto: Dave at our first campsite. Photo by Steph PetriPhoto: On the Bluebird Lake Trail. Photo by Bill WalkerPhoto: Longs Peak and Mount Meeker. Photo by Bill WalkerPhoto: Another great view of Longs Peak and Mount Meeker. Photo by Dave SockyPhoto: Copeland Mountain and Ouzel Peak. Photo by Bill WalkerPhoto: Copeland Mountain and Ouzel Lake. Photo by Bill WalkerPhoto: Tanima Peak and Mount Alice, our goals for the next day.Photo: Indian paintbrush. Photo by Dave SockyPhoto: Photo: Bluebird Lake lies in the basin ahead, beneath Ouzel Peak (center).Photo: Not sure what these pretty wildflowers are. Photo by Steph PetriPhoto: Farther along on the Bluebird Lake Trail. Photo by Bill WalkerPhoto: Monkshood.Photo: Some kind of asters?Photo: Yet another view of Longs Peak and Mount Meeker. Photo by Bill WilliamsPhoto: Almost to Bluebird Lake. Photo by Steph PetriPhoto: Wildflowers!Photo: A neat snow bridge, part of which collapsed while we were beside it. It made quite a rumble!Photo: Photo: A nice cascade above the snow bridge. Photo by Steph PetriPhoto: Short, tight switchbacks a short distance below Bluebird Lake.Photo: Then a snow ramp up the still buried trail.Photo: Another view of the snow ramp. Photo by Bill WalkerPhoto: Bluebird Lake and Ouzel Peak. Photo by Bill WalkerPhoto: Dave beside the outlet stream of Bluebird Lake.Photo: Mahana Peak (left) rises above Bluebird Lake. There is yet one more small lake higher in the basin, but we didn't go any farther. Photo by Bill WalkerPhoto: "Little pink elephants" is one of the names for these pretty wildflowers.Photo: Snow-lilies.Photo: Another view of Tanima Peak and Mount Alice.Photo: Mule deer. Photo by Bill WalkerPhoto: North St. Vrain campsite.Photo: Steve M F Wolf on watchdog duty. Photo by Bill WilliamsPhoto: Home for the night. Photo by Dave SockyPhoto: On the trail at 3:30 a.m. on Day 2, to move camp up to Thunder Lake, then attempt Mount Alice. It would prove to be not early enough. Photo by Steph PetriPhoto: Night hiking. Photo by Dave SockyPhoto: Near Thunder Lake. Photo by Dave SockyPhoto: Tanima Peak and Mount Alice.Photo: Boulder-Grand Pass is the low spot between Tanima and Alice, and was intended to be our descent route after climbing both peaks.Photo: A closer view of our intended descent, the obvious steep gully  right of center. Photo by Bill WalkerPhoto: Mahana Peak.Photo: Mount Alice, one of Colorado's many 13,000 foot peaks. Photo by Bill WalkerPhoto: Mount Alice and Lion Lake Number One.Photo: Reflections.Photo: "Watercolors". Photo by Dave SockyPhoto: Tanima Peak. Photo by Dave SockyPhoto: Heading for Lion Lake Number Two. Photo by Bill WalkerPhoto: Trio Falls.Photo: A short break at Lion Lake Number Two.Photo: Snowbank Lake is just above Lion Lake Number Two.Photo: Arctic gentians.Photo: Mount Meeker coming into view.Photo: Mount Alice looming above. The large cliff on its left side is referred to as the "Mini Diamond", a reference to the even larger face on the east side of Longs Peak. Photo by Dave SockyPhoto: Our route was to follow the center ridge to the pass, then continue up the right skyline of Mount Alice (left).Photo: Mount Alice and Chiefs Head Peak. Photo by Bill WalkerPhoto: Climbing the ridge to the pass.Photo: A closer view of Mount Alice. Photo by Dave SockyPhoto: Mount Alice again.Photo: A close-up of the distinctive notch at the base of Hourglass Ridge on Mount Alice. The route up must cross this area. Photo by Bill WalkerPhoto: Steph nearing the pass (and the Continental Divide).Photo: Mount Alice looking a bit more formidable, but doable. It doesn't show in this photo, but there were a number of ominous looking clouds building around us at this point. Ultimately, we decided the risk of getting caught in a thunderstorm was too high and we turned around - a difficult but smart decision. It ended up not storming after all, but taking chances with afternoon thunderstorms above treeline during the Colorado Summer is like playing Russian Roulette - you only get to be wrong one time. Photo by Dave SockyPhoto: Our turnaround point, a hard thing to do after all the work to get this far. However, the scenery had been spectacular all the way, so we still had our rewards. Photo by Bill WalkerPhoto: McHenrys Peak from the Continental Divide below Mount Alice.Photo: Chiefs Head Peak and Mount Meeker, the third and second highest peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park. Longs Peak, the highest, is hidden from view by Chiefs Head.Photo: The sky that ultimately  made us decide to abort our climb. Photo by Dave SockyPhoto: Lion Lakes Basin. Photo by Bill WalkerPhoto: The North Inlet drainage. Photo by Dave SockyPhoto: Bill glissading below Trio Falls.Photo: Below Trio Falls. Photo by Bill WalkerPhoto: Below Trio Falls.Photo: Chiefs Head, Pagoda Mountain, Longs Peak, and Mount Meeker.Photo: A closer view of Longs and Meeker.Photo: After returning to camp, I hiked a short distance up the basin above Thunder Lake, toward Boulder-Grand Pass and saw another neat snow bridge.Photo: Thunder Lake. Boulder-Grand Pass is the low point on the horizon.  Photo by Dave SockyPhoto: I left camp alone at 3 a.m. on Day Three, and made it to our previous day's turnaround point in time to see the sunrise over Mount Meeker before continuing up Mount Alice.Photo: Looking down at our previous day's turnaround point at the notch at the base of Mount Alice's summit cone.Photo: The continuing way up was via a steep talus slope and slabs.Photo: Looking down at Thunder Lake from Mount Alice. Camp is near the top left end of the lake.Photo: Looking towards Tanima Peak, the low, rounded ridgeline just above the center of the photo. It would have been an easy climb from Boulder-Grand Pass, but it was only about 35 degrees and very windy when I got there, and it looked and felt like it might rain or snow at any minute, so I ultimately decided to descend and be content with Mount Alice alone.Photo: On Mount Alice and happy at 13,310' above sea level.Photo: Mount Alice summit cairn. There is a second nearby spot that may be the true summit and I touched both just to be sure!Photo: McHenrys Peak from Mount Alice.Photo: Chiefs Head, Longs Peak, and Mount Meeker.Photo: My ascent ridge.Photo: Longs Peak, Mount Meeker, North Ridge, and Thunder Lake.Photo: Lake of Many Winds below Tanima Peak.Photo: Point 11,635 and Thunder Lake from Boulder-Grand Pass.Photo: The descent gully is very steep and very loose, but with caution it is relatively easy.Photo: Another view down the descent gully. Aptly named Lake of Many Winds is visible below.Photo: Mount Meeker, Point 11,635, and Lake of Many Winds.Photo: A neat snow-filled couloir.Photo: Boulder-Grand Pass and the descent gully from it.Photo: The outlet from Lake of Many Winds.Photo: More wildflowers!Photo: Fan Falls.Photo: Longs Peak and Mount Meeker one more time.Photo: The profile of our three days in Wild Basin, separately and combined.Photo: A topo map of our three day hike in Wild Basin. Red is Day 1, purple is Day 2, and green is Day 3.