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Upcoming Rocky Mtn NP mid-March Traverse: Seeking Advice
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Bill S
(pnchike) - M
Upcoming Rocky Mtn NP mid-March Traverse: Seeking Advice on 03/08/2011 10:46:28 MST Print View

Could use some advice from people who know Rocky Mountain National Park well: Got some time off in about 10 days, and I’m trying to put together what would become an attempted mid-March solo traverse of RMNP. After a lot of reading and staring at some maps I have a few questions:

I have a lot of experience winter camping in harsh places (New England, Montana, Wyoming) and navigating off-trail, but only brushes here and there with significant amounts of avalanche-prone terrain on my own. The route I have my eye on, which seems as possible to minimize this danger and other environmental hazards, would be to start at the west side of the park at Grand Lake, follow (approximately, not always on trail...) the East Inlet Trail east to Boulder-Grand Pass, go up and over the Continental Divide there, and then continue on the lower-elevation routes in Wild Basin leading to the east side of the park at Allens Park or Meeker Park. How does this sound? What can people tell me about the conditions in that area this time of year? What do I need to know about it that might not be apparent from map or guidebook?

If I could pick an ideal route without regard to the terrain, I’d probably do something that goes more through the center of the park and ends at Estes Park, but I can’t find any route that’s feasible without having to navigate significant amounts of alpine terrain—any suggestions here about something I might be overlooking? Would it be possible to string together a route that goes from East Inlet--->Wild Basin, then cuts north and ends up at Estes Park?

What about red tape from NPS—will there be any problems arranging this with them?

Transportation—flying into Denver, I can get as far as Granby with a few hours’ ride on Greyhound. From there I’m going to need a ride for a few more miles into the west side of the park. Any suggestions here? What about getting picked up from Allen Park or Meeker Park—if I could get to Estes Park there seem to be shuttles there that run back to Denver.

Timetable: looking at about 7 days, including time to adjust to elevation, setbacks from weather, routefinding etc. Sound reasonable to complete this trip?
Thanks everyone in advance for your thoughts.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Upcoming Rocky Mtn NP mid-March Traverse: Seeking Advice on 03/08/2011 10:59:14 MST Print View

This is a ski trip right?

Bill S
(pnchike) - M
Re: on 03/08/2011 11:04:19 MST Print View

Sorry forgot to mention...it's a *snowshoe* trip...

Aaron Armstrong
(traderaaron) - F

Locale: Colorado
Route on 03/08/2011 12:30:02 MST Print View

The east side of the park sees quite a few visitors in the winter from the Bear Lake TH, a safer option (only by way of terrain is it assumed safer than Boulder/Grand Pass) would be to use the North Inlet trail to Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain, down to Bear Lake.

But I can't assure you of anything other than people regularly attempt Hallett and Flattop in winter.