Sunday, September 4, 2011

Flattop, Hallett, Otis, Taylor

Today we headed back to the mountains, but this time we drove up to RoMo for our long run of the week. Hallett, Otis and Taylor have been on my list for quite a while, so I was hopeful we'd be able to summit all three. We parked at Bear Lake and ran the four miles up Flattop Mountain. Dan flew up to the flat summit in an hour and twenty minutes. I was less than 10 minutes behind.

From there we headed south to our next objective. The final few hundred feet up Hallett were quite steep and rocky, so we hiked the whole way. There were gorgeous views, but we didn't stay long. A man on the top told Dan that it was really cool to hike down the ridge and see the thousand foot cliffs that were often climbed. So, we did just that, and he was right. The sheer faces were stunning, but this jaunt added over an hour to our day.

We headed back up Hallett and skirted the summit while headed further south to Otis Peak. Here we had the tundra to ourselves and we enjoyed route-finding through the talus slopes. As we scoped out our next destination, we noticed there were three lesser summits on the way. Of course, we had to visit all of them as well.

We traversed the ridge and finally got our first view of the Taylor Glacier where a good friend of ours lost his life almost a year ago. It was sad to think of his fatal fall and the danger of our beloved mountains. But, it was also a time to reflect on Jim's positive impact on so many adventuresome hikers and climbers. He is definitely still missed. Needless to say, summiting Taylor Peak was bittersweet, but again it was a glorious day and the views were stunning for miles around.

Use scrollbar to view the entire panorama, or click for larger view

The hike back took us on the Continental Divide Trail and back over to Flattop. Dan was able to run the slightly-angled trail but I was too tired. I hiked quickly behind him. It was nice to finally get back to Flattop and follow the trail downhill to the car. Overall, we ran/hiked 17 miles and gained 6000 feet. It took us 8 hours.

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