Flattop Mountain

June 10, 2018 · Rocky Mountain National Park

The 2018 Hiking Season has officially begun! Hooray! Though, given what I saw on this first hike, it could have probably started a couple of weeks ago. They said they had a light winter in the mountains this year and they are right. I use Flattop Mountain in RMNP to restart the season as it gives a good idea of how much snow is left above treeline and in shady parts of the trail - and it's a good length hike.

It was a beautiful sunny day in RMNP and very warm. At the trailhead at Bear Lake there was a light breeze once in a while - that would change as I got closer to Flattop Mountain. There was very little snow on the trail, not even enough to use any kind of traction footwear. Just below treeline the wind picked up and did not let up until my way back down below treeline. There are Marmots everywhere, and eager to have their pictures taken after going all winter without anyone taking their picture; they're hams for the camera.

The wind was memorable, it was so strong and consistent once above treeline, that I finally got out my handheld anemometer and measured the windspeed. It was consistently above 16 mph and at the horse hitch just below the final pitch to the top of Flattop Mountain it was consistently above 20 mph; the max I recorded was 26 mph - and that is below the summit.

That much wind saps the energy and water out of you. I decided that if it's 20+ mph just below the summit, you can tack on a good 5-10 mph up on the summit. So the hike was a bit short of what it is normally, but I managed to get in 8.2 miles roundtrip; a good start to the season. I do live this hike, and when the wind is not howling at the summit it is very peaceful up there. Checkout my GPS tracks here.


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AREAS HIKED

Collegiate Peaks Wilderness10
Eagles Nest Wilderness10
Fossil Ridge Wilderness1
Fraser Experimental Forest1
Gunnison National Forest1
Holy Cross Wilderness12
Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness3
Indian Peaks Wilderness17
James Peak Wilderness1
Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness2
Mount Evans Wilderness2
Mount Massive Wilderness2
Pike National Forest1
Raggeds Wilderness1
Rocky Mountain National Park41
San Isabel National Forest6
Sangre de Cristo Wilderness2
White River National Forest10
Zirkel Wilderness1

TRAILS BY MONTH

January3
February2
March2
April3
May5
June16
July26
August26
September28
October6
November4
December3

SEASONS ON THE TRAIL

2021

The 2021 Season has started. Though the pandemic created a challenging 2020 season, I am looking forward to building on the 2020 season to create an incredible 2021 season. The pandemic has taught me a few things about when and where to go hiking. As such planning for the 2021 se...

2020

The 2020 hiking season has been incredible, even in the face of adversity. The pandemic has made for a logistically challenging season. Somehow, I was still able to piece together an incredible 230+ miles on the trail this season and able to see some truly spectacular places. Enj...

2019

The 2019 hiking season was an interesting season, this was the first season that I started and ended the season snowshoeing and a full summer of hiking for a total of just under 225 miles on the trail. What this season has taught me is that it's winter in the mountains for a long...

2018

The 2018 Summer Hiking Season has come to an end. What a season, incredible views and just over 230 miles on the trail. Even with 230 miles, this season seems short to me, perhaps I'll add something to it during the winter season - snowshoeing perhaps. In the meantime, I hope you...

2017

The 2017 hiking season was interesting, I was able to explorer more of Colorado's National Forests and get in some camping, not as much camping as I would have liked, but hopefully next year I'll able to get in more multi-day hikes. This season came in just under 129 miles roundt...

2016

The 2016 hiking season was about spreading out and exploring more of Eagles Nest Wilderness, Indian Peaks Wilderness and touching on White River National Forest - and of course a few trips into Rocky Mountain National Park. These are amazing National treasures. This season came i...

2015

The 2015 hiking season was a big hiking season, I decided to do a fundraiser for The Red Cross (I learned a lot about fundraising - it was very interesting) with my pledge to hike over 200 miles for this season, I came in at 217 miles for the season; what a great time out on the ...

2014

The 2014 hiking season was almost all about exploring Rocky Mountain National Park, it really is a beautiful park. What I learned during the course of this hiking season is, although people may roll their eyes when you say you're going on a hike in RMNP, it really is spectacular ...

2013

2013 is the year this all started. The hike to Pitkin Lake started it all. Although it was a difficult trail, I was hooked immediately. However, I didn't have the right gear and the seasons were changing quickly. So, even though this season only brought two hikes, I new this was ...