Summit Storm Peak and Mount Lady Washington

14 miles 4500 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Crystal Brindle

Approximately 14 miles and 4,500 feet of elevation gain round-trip. It is best to attempt this trip in late June or early July to avoid crowds. Enjoy spectacular views and photo opportunities from two 13ers via the boulderfield. Overnight backpacking – be prepared to camp at 12,760 feet!

This adventure began at the Longs Peak trailhead in southeastern Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. I followed the Longs Peak trail for 6 miles to the Boulderfield backcountry camping area. This is a fairly steep on-trail climb of 3,360 feet.

After setting up camp at 12,760 feet, my partner and I cooked dinner and waited for lingering storm clouds to pass. As late afternoon approached, we decided to try for the summit of Storm Peak in an attempt to photograph the sunset from an ideal vantage point. In late June, snow still lingered at the base of the peak and we had to scramble up a less direct route as a result. After a few sections of intense exposure, we reached the straight-forward class 2 scramble route. We gained the summit just as golden light began to filter through the growing clouds. As we stood on the 13,326 foot summit, clouds from the valleys below began to engulf us – giving us the feeling of being an island in a vast sea. When the clouds broke for a few seconds to reveal the surrounding landscape, we were in awe of the rugged scenery that surrounded us. As the sun dipped below the horizon, I left the summit knowing I had just witnessed one of the most powerful sunsets of my life.

The next morning after a frosty night in camp, I awoke before sunrise and climbed to the 13,281 foot summit of Mount Lady Washington to witness the sunrise illuminate the rugged face of Longs Peak – Rocky Mountain National Park’s famous 14er. The Boulderfield provided an ideal basecamp for these two summits and visiting in the early season allowed for a crowd-free experience.

Tips:

Go in the early season for best photography conditions and limited people. Longs Peak typically becomes snow-free in mid-July and is then a mecca for visitors. Visit in June if possible. A backcountry camping permit is required to camp at the Boulderfield – inquire at the Backcountry Office in Rocky Mountain National Park.

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Fitness
Camping
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Forest
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Scenic
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Hike early to see the sunrise

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