• Date - 11/03/2013
  • Elevation - 11,400'
  • Route - Northwest Face Route
  • Miles - 5.0
  • Elevation Gain - 2,200'
  • ACME Mapper - Link
  • CalTopo - Link
  • Partners - Jeff Shafer


This route is on the northwest face of Thatchtop Mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park.  Jeff and I climbed this route four years ago and thought enough time had passed to give it another attempt.  In addition, the wind forecast in the park was fairly strong so we thought we'd be better protected on this aspect then West Gully or All Mixed Up.  As it turns out, we were right and got pummeled pretty good once we topped out.

We left the Glacier Gorge Trailhead shortly after 6:00 and made our way to the Loch Vale on a well packed trail.  We hiked to the west end of the lake and broke trail for a short distance to the talus slope leading to the deep gully cutting left into the side of the face.  We scrambled up snow and rock a couple hundred feet in the gully until the first ice pitch appeared on the right wall.  We geared up and since I led the money pitch last time, Jeff took the sharp end of the rope.  The first ice of the route is the best and it was a good WI3+ pitch.  From here to the ridge of Thatchtop Mountain, we simul-climbed the rest of the route.  Once on top, we were greeted by gusts and fairly powerful wind.  We worked our way down the ridge to the walk-off descent before scrambling back to The Loch and hiking out.  We completed the climb in six hours car-to-car.  We stopped at Smokin' Dave's BBQ and Taphouse in Estes Park, Colorado, on the way home for a meal and drink.  I was actually pretty tired and beat up from the relatively easy and short route.  It was definitely type two fun for the day.


The LochJeff on the scramble approach.Pitch 1Jeff leading pitch 1.Jeff leading pitch 1.Jeff leading pitch 1.Jeff leading pitch 1.The LochLooking up the rest of the climb.DescentContinental DivideJeffJamesDescentJeff back down at the lake.Jeff hiking out to the trailhead.James leading the rambling pitches above the ice.James following pitch 1.