This second group of three climbers caught us right at the first ace - they had bivied at Spectacle Lakes. For the last Ace, climb slabs on the right (north) side (YDS 5.4) until you reach easy ledges that wrap left towards a white boulder, from there cross to the left (south) side of the ridge and climb either a corner or chossy ledges to the top of the ace (YDS 5.2). Labels: Colorado, National Parks, Rock Climbing, summit, United States. Blitzen Ridge is a technical mountaineering route (Grade II, 5.4 to … We coiled the rope and trotted after Brian and Dan. I was totally wrecked, but incredible satisfied with another great day in the hills. Ypsilon (Blitzen Ridge) Chiquita, Chapin - Northern Rockies - Trip report with pictures by Seano Enrico Bonino and Jon Bracey climb a new route on the Grandes Jorasses on Mont Blanc - Planet Mt 10 Gravity defying mountains even experienced mountaineers avoid - During a glance over the shoulder to see when the sun would rise we spotted another set of headlamps coming up the ridge. In mid-May my partner Wade Morris and I boarded our red-eye to Anchorage (our third teammate had to drop out due to a foot injury). We still hadn't seen or heard a hint of lightning or thunder but it looked like the rain could start at any minute. Cresting this ridge will land you in the Fay Lakes basin, and following the top of the ridge west will take you to Blitzen Ridge, and one of the technical ways to ascend Ypsilon Mountain. The pair had departed from the Lawn Lakes trailhead at 3:15 a.m. on the morning of March 16 with the intent of climbing Ypsilon via the Blitzen Ridge route and descending Donner Ridge to the south. I followed Dan up a nice little dihedral with some 5.2ish moves and then up a face. A little ways into the traverse caution got the better of him and he backed off and retraced his steps. This was our 8th and final roped pitch of the climb. The first part is steeper and offers some 5.easy climbing before it evens off a bit and continues to be class 4 all the way to the summit. Recent snow and winds have contributed to what the Colorado Avalanche Information Center forecasted as considerable avalanche conditions in this area since Saturday. That was a small price to pay for a successful ascent of the route. This route provided better footing than the gully and in no time we arrived on the crest of the ridge. They said they'd wait there for us unless the weather got really bad. The trail to Ypsilon Lake is a quiet trail traveling up to a fine alpine lake. I continued along the ledge system angling up toward the ridge crest. Found your site while Googling Blitzen Ridge on Ypsilon Peak. Fabio made quick work of the pitch and when I commented that the moves at the top were rather stiff, he informed me that if I'd moved a meter to my right I would have found trivial terrain. Blitzen Ridge on Ypsilon Mountain is a challenging mountaineering route that includes sections of technical rock, often made more difficult in winter conditions. The sprinkles were persisting so we didn't waste any time on the summit and kept heading down. I had absolutely no problem with this because it was my turn to "lead" it. Blitzen ridge is a very popular and often talked about climb in Rocky Mountain National Park. We decided to go up the eastern side of the Blitzen Ridge, climbing up from the northeast side of Ypsilon Lake. Whitepages is the authority in people search, established in 1997. There was no social trail and no cairns. The description on Mountain Project even describes it as the best ridge climb in the park. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/colorado/ypsilon-lake-trail When the sprinkles began Brian and Dan got tired of waiting for us and headed down to Donner Ridge. We set a leisurely pace and arrived at the Lake around 18:00. The first bit was pretty stiff and exposed but the holds were where I needed them. In the fall of 2006 I lined up a bunch of partners, got our bivy permits squared away, but the weather did not cooperate. At about that point Fabio began simul-climbing behind me and I continued down into the notch between the second and third aces. This was by far the best pitch so far. It looked like non-technical terrain from here on out. Dan was by far the strongest rock climber among us so we encouraged him to try to attack the arte directly. At the top of the first ace Fabio and I swapped gear and I headed down the other side. Powell/Taylor – Ice, Rock, and snow. Walked down to Fall River Pass in the morning and hitch-hiked down. It's fun to read of others' adventures up there, remembering that great day all those years ago... Our ascent was informed by at least three guidebooks, a couple of websites, a handful of trip reports from friends and acquaintances, and I'd been up Donner Ridge before and had our descent doped out. I was surprised at how consistently quality the rock was…seemed to be very little choss (relatively speaking, for the alpine) in general. Because the rappel wasn't anywhere near vertical, and we really needed to do a descending traverse to get to the notch, we decided to downclimb it. Fabio followed right behind. We were all feeling a sense of urgency so we encouraged Dan and Brian to simul-climb instead of pitching it out. Mountain Project link here. Despite forecasted rain, we decided to go for it anyway with an alpine start and a plan to be back to the car by 1pm. Luckily the weather held off and from there it was just a death march back to the Lawn Lake Trailhead. From there climb the trail towards Lawn Lake and after a little more than 1.25 miles, turn left for the Ypsilon Lake turnoff. This took me straight to the ridge and felt quite efficient. Location: Ypsilon Mountain, Colorado 80517, USA. Blitzen Ridge, Ypsilon Mountain . Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest. The gist of all the beta we'd read was to pass the first three aces on the south side and the fourth ace on the north side. Fabio and I set a moderate and sustainable pace and let the other guys race ahead. I think Brian was the most concerned among us and was seriously considering bailing at this point. This classic mountaineering route up Ypsilon Mountain is one of the most prized ridge climbs in Colorado. P.S. There were some fun moves on great rock. After rounding a gendarme, dropping down on the north side of the ridge a little bit, then scrambling back up to the ridge proper we spotted Brian and Dan far ahead of us. They were to bivouac on the route on the night of July 20, which they did. We got periodic taunts and cajoles over the radio as we slowly made our way up toward the summit. These are four, "A" shaped crests on the ridge that present the crux of the route. Anton's Strava for this is saved as a bicycling activity. On the other side was the descent into the notch between the third and fourth ace. We left the Lawn Lake Trailhead at 4:30 and once again made quick work on the approach to Ypsilon Lake. Start from the Lawn Lake Trailhead, where Fall River Road splits from Highway 34 in Rocky Mountain National Park. I was out of practise and a good deal more uncomfortable with exposure than I remembered. Once Fabio had set up a belay he brought me up. Found your site while Googling Blitzen Ridge on Ypsilon Peak. There was a rappel station there and Fabio and I debated what to do. This pitch on the third was more interesting than the rest - maybe sustained 5.0ish with one interesting 5.4 move in the middle. After you descend the final ace, the ridge climbs continuously to the summit. This was pretty much our last opportunity - above the headwall we were pretty much committed to going up and over Ypsilon Mountain and down Donner Ridge. But remember to look around and enjoy the views- Ypsilon, Blitzen Ridge, Fairchild. As he made his way up the pitch Brian joined me at the belay and began bringing Dan up. I shot this video of an ascent of Ypsilon Mountain's Blitzen Ridge. Fabio and I made a team, Brian and Dan made the other. We had planned to simul-climb, but once on the summit of the first ace Fabio decided to just bring me up because simul-climbing over the top and down the other side would have caused too much rope drag. It had only been a 15.5-hour day, but it felt like a lot more. On October 31, 2007 I received the following note from Charles Ehlert (currently of Seattle, WA): Found your site while Googling Blitzen Ridge on Ypsilon Peak. Ypsilon. The terrain was just not steep enough and the rope drag was tremendous. The summit of Ypsilon Peak is at 13,500 feet in elevation — so altitude plays a major factor as well. There might have been a few low 5th class moves on that first pitch but mostly it was 4th class. Oh well - it was fun anyway. I pulled a couple of pretty stiff moves through the overhanging section before topping out on the headwall. Next up was the ascent of this slope on the north side of the lake. From here, there are either anchors to rappel or it's a quick (YDS 5.0) downclimb to reach the col before the fourth and final ace. I set up a quick belay and brought Fabio over. Fabio and I packed away our gear and had a snack while we looked warily at the building clouds. Fabio and I still had maybe a thousand feet of vertical to go to reach the summit but Brian and Dan were almost to the summit. We were hiking toward Ypsilon Lake by about 15:00. Don't be fooled by the 5.4 rating. It was obviously a lot further than we could rappel with our one 70m rope, so our options were to consider making two rappels, waiting for both Dan and Fabio to join us, or downclimb. The third ace is best climbed directly up a corner that's slightly right of center, then cut left to reach the top of the ace (YDS 5.3). Rocky Mountain National Park - Ypsilon Mountain (Blitzen Ridge) Posted by dsneider1 at 10:10 AM No comments: Email This BlogThis! However rope drag became such and issue that Dan didn't feel comfortable simul-climbing. Therefore I would get a really nice belay. We were slow, got to the summit just before dark. From the notch between the fourth ace and the headwall there was a walkoff down to Spectacle Lakes. Fabio didn't seem that concerned and neither was I really. I found one opportunity that looked like some stout 5.7 and chickened out. This resulted in our ill-fated attempt at Gash Ridge. From the lake, we headed east then north on a climbers trail to the secluded Spectacle Lakes. After our snack Fabio and I swapped gear once more and he set off around the fourth and final ace. Upper Fay Lake was our first destination. When planning for this route, keep in mind that you'll be climbing a rather commiting, lightning prone ridge which is blind to approaching storms. After our snack we headed up after Brian and Dan. We were slow, got to the summit just before dark. The first 50' of the pitch were up an interesting gully thing with a couple of fun moves but once up that it was 3rd class to the belay. With dinner eaten and all our water filtered for the climb we hiked back up to our bivy site, made a few last minute organizational adjustments, and went to sleep. We were slow, got to the summit just before dark. While its west slope is unremarkable tundra, its steep, complex southeast face rises 2000 feet from Spectacle Lakes, containing several interesting routes. We sorted out our racks, left a car at the visitor center, and headed over to Lawn Lake Trailhead. The description on Mountain Project even describes it as the best ridge climb in the park. Labels: Colorado, National Parks, Rock Climbing, summit, United States. After setting up our bivy we hiked back down to the lake to filter water and cook some dinner. It took us a while to find a reasonable bivy spot but we finally found a few relatively flat spots in the middle of a boulder fields about 300' feet above Ypsilon Lake. We hadn't heard or seen any indication of thunder or lightning and I had my rain gear. Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest. At about 12,000' you'll run into the four Aces. He didn't though, and soon he joined me in the notch. In its alpine setting, this route challenges the soloist to make a fast ascent to the summit, or a roped party to move quickly and efficently to avoid the summer storms. Chapin on the left, and point 12005 and Chiquita in front. For the first two, traverse ledges to left (south) side of the ridge proper. A photo essay from an alpine rock climb of Blitzen Ridge on Mount Ypsilon, 4,119m, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado September 2014 It had been over two years since I'd last climbed. Recent snow and winds have contributed to what the Colorado Avalanche Information Center forecasted as considerable avalanche conditions in this area since Saturday. The beta also said that the path around the fourth ace was the most challenging. Thus Brian and Dan quickly pulled ahead. Once through the two pitches or so of the headwall we would be beyond all the technical climbing and into 3rd class terrain. We were already anxious about having enough time on Denali, so midflight we … This belay was pretty worthless - it would probably save Fabio's life if he fell, but not much more. Here's Anton Krupicka's Mountain Project report from a run (probably FKT) in August 2015: "Really nice ridge scramble. After a while the ridge did begin to flatten out. After climbing the Spiral Route on Notchtop Mountain the previous day, Jeff and I decided to tackle Blitzen Ridge on Ypsilon Mountain. Recent snow and winds have contributed to what the Colorado Avalanche Information Center forecasted as considerable avalanche conditions in this area since Saturday. Ever since I first tied into a rope I've wanted to climb Blitzen Ridge. Recent snow and winds have contributed to what the Colorado Avalanche Information Center forecasted as considerable avalanche conditions in this area since Saturday. Two days previously, we'd been repulsed by… With comprehensive contact information, including cell phone numbers, for over 275 million people nationwide, and Whitepages SmartCheck, the fast, comprehensive background check compiled from criminal and other records from all 50 states.Landlords use Whitepages TenantCheck, which is … Once Fabio had all the gear he set off. Dan took off while I set up an anchor to bring Fabio up. We found a nice route slightly to climbers' right of the obvious grassy gully. I hoped that with Fabio's deeper alpine knowledge that he could place pro in such a way to reduce rope drag to enable he and I to simul-climb, but it was not to be. Midway across the ledge system rope drag began to become and issue for Dan so he set up a belay and brought Brian up with Fabio close on his heals. Blitzen ridge is a very popular and often talked about climb in Rocky Mountain National Park. Follow this trail all the way to Ypsilon Lake (3 more miles). While Fabio made his way back up the face of the fourth ace Dan made his way up the ridge. I'm not exactly sure what the attraction was - probably the spectacular setting as one of the dramatic arms encircling the gorgeous Spectacle Lakes Cirque and the large size of the route. Rocky Mountain National Park - Ypsilon Mountain (Blitzen Ridge) Posted by dsneider1 at 10:10 AM No comments: Email This BlogThis! He set up a belay and brought Brian up. Approach was fairly casual, and we had no trouble finding the start of the ridge. Depending on the strategy you choose, the day involves at least 10 miles of hiking and climbing, with at least seven thousand feet of cumulative elevation gain/loss. I slept fitfully and was already awake when Brian's alarm went off at 03:30. I think all of us were under the impression that the ridge was more or less flat until we got to the aces, but this was not the case. The ledge system I was on was just too comfortable to leave. After the first 50' the terrain eased quite a bit, but remained sustained 4th class. A party of two (Climber 1 and Climber 2) departed from the Lawn Lakes trailhead at 3:15AM on the morning of March 16th with intent of climbing Ypsilon Mountain (13,514 ft) via the Blitzen Ridge route and descending via the Donner Ridge to the south. Brian showed up a few moments later and Dan followed soon after. Blitzen Ridge on Ypsilon Mountain is a challenging mountaineering route that includes sections of technical rock, often made more difficult in winter conditions. Colorado, Mt. A few hours after I had gotten back from Lawn Lake TH (after completing the Mummy Kill line with the Boulder Trail Runners group), Peter picked me up to get whisked back to this very same trailhead! To reach the Fays, you first have to hike 4.5 miles (1 way) to Ypsilon Lake. Continue they did. Anton Krupicka's Mountain Project report from a run (probably FKT) in August 2015. The Official Whitepages. I had set up the belay right below a nice slabby ramp that looked like it might actually provide the first interesting climbing of the day. This is where most people stop. By this time the clouds were beginning to develop into something fairly menacing looking. I made my way down it trying to remember to place a bit of pro below the tricky section. For those who aren't familiar with the route it is a strenous ridge climb found on Mt. It ended too soon though and soon I was swapping gear with Fabio. I began to make my way up a ledge system on the third ace but rope drag was becoming an issue so I found a very spacious belay ledge (big enough for all four of us) and set up a belay. http://www.andyintherockies.com/trip/90/Ypsilon_Mountain_Blitzen_Ridge.htm, Participants: Fabio Somenzi, Brian Kraus, Dan Dalton. Ypsilon and Spectacle Lakes Ypsilon Mountain is one of the better peaks in the Mummy Range in northern Rocky Mountain National Park. Ypsilon Mountain. At the top of the 100' ramp Fabio set up the belay and brought me up. This might now supersede Kiener's and/or the Keyhole Ridge as my favorite alpine scramble in the park, simply for the quality of rock and length of the ridge. Towards the top the face became completely vertical, if not overhanging. Blitzen Ridge - Ypsilon ; Route: Ypsilon via Blitzen Ridge Partner: OldTrad Mileage: 11.85 Ascent: About 5k (watch altimeter is apparently on the fritz) Time: About 9 hours Route: Lawn Lake TH to Chapin Pass TH with car shuttle So last year after completing LB NW Face and the traverse to Blanca, and the Sangres dash, I decided I wanted to start looking at more technical ridges. The ledge system was easy and after about 100' I was on 2nd class terrain. I came down Donner Ridge, and when I got to the big, seemingly impassable cliff/notch in the ridge at ~12,300', I dropped down a loose-ish gully SOUTH off the ridge, stayed high on descender's left out of the underbrush in the basin and at treeline eventually picked up a very faint use path, crossed the stream to the right on a giant log, and soon ran right into a very obvious social trail that quickly led me right back down to Ypsilon Lake. Ypsilon Mountain is a 13er in the Mummy Range of Northern Colorado. I found a nice ledge system along the south side of the second ace and followed it along looking for a way to the top. Upon cresting the ridge, you are granted this beautiful sight. On the morning of July 21, the two began their ascent of the intended route via the Blitzen Cutoff. Fabio set off on the north side looking for a ramp system that would go. We ended up bailing on the climb and instead headed south where the weather was better. Descend via Donner Ridge (see our map), or another way. However, with careful route finding, there … I gained the ridge just west of the summit of the second ace. Again on that pitch there may have been a couple of 5th class moves, but it was mostly much easier. Blitzen Ridge is one of the finest ridges that can be climbed in Rocky Mountain National Park. If the crap really hit the fan I was prepared to hunker down somewhere on the north side of the ridge and get a little wet and cold. Many years ago (about Sept 1958) Phil Ritterbush, Clint Brooks, Jim Walker, Dave Fedson and I (students at Yale at the time) did the first ascent of the Blitzen Ridge. Fabio was cool with it so I set off. I radioed ahead to Brian that we would follow them if they continued up the ridge. Meantime Dan was getting antsy so Brian and I encouraged him to try a different line. Need to be heads-up, but this felt like a very logical, efficient descent.". The route has 4 distinct rock features known as the 4 Aces which, along with a headwall after them, rise hundreds of feet into the air and comprise the crux of the climb with the difficulty ranging from 5.4-5.6. It looked doable from where we were so Dan set off. Blitzen Ridge on Ypsilon Mountain is a challenging mountaineering route that includes sections of technical rock, often made more difficult in winter conditions. Ypsilon. Soon Fabio joined me and we swapped gear. The ascent is just one part of the journey. We all took the opportunity to have a little rest, a big snack, and joke around. Ypsilon. As the sun began to rise we geared up for the technical climbing. Those were certainly the stoutest moves I've pulled on lead in a while - probably in the 5.7 range. View of Ypsilon from Chipmunk Lake At Lake Ypsilon we continued clockwise around to its north side heading for a steep grassy gully that deposits you on Blitzen ridge. Many years ago (about Sept 1958) Phil Ritterbush, Clint Brooks, Jim Walker, Dave Fedson and I (students at Yale at the time) did the first ascent of the Blitzen Ridge. Looking down the grassy gully Once on the ridge, you still have a bit of easy hiking before you get to the start of the 4 Aces which mark the start of the technical climbing. This time to do Blitzen Ridge, 5.4. My pack weighed 43 pounds on this trip up the Blitzen Ridge. Many years ago (about Sept 1958) Phil Ritterbush, Clint Brooks, Jim Walker, Dave Fedson and I (students at Yale at the time) did the first ascent of the Blitzen Ridge. Start from the Lawn Lake Trailhead, where Fall River Road splits from Highway 34 in Rocky Mountain National Park. This can be a casual dayhike if not in a rush. He found some interesting climbing and after a couple of interesting moves found a reasonable looking ledge system that appeared like it would get us around the north side of the ace. We gained quite a bit of elevation while we hiked along in the dark. Despite forecasted rain, we decided to go for it anyway with an alpine start and a plan to be back to the car by 1pm. When I joined Dan at the belay he was coiling the rope and Brian had already set out up the ridge. There were some clouds forming to the west so we didn't waste a whole lot of time though. I followed easily with Dan leading right behind me. Dan raced ahead and grabbed Fabio's stuff and filtered some water for of us. Blitzen Ridge is a HUGE day. Those Seeking Adventure and Solitude: Deep in Rocky Mountain National Park we have found not only classic high quality climbs, but a pristine and peaceful experience. Soon I joined Fabio and we swapped gear for the final time. By the time Fabio and I caught up Dan was already out of sight. A couple beta points: at Ypsilon Lake, I went around its west end, bushwhacked on a very faint trail parallel to the lakeshore for maybe 5min, and then went left/NW/uphill in the steep, somewhat narrow grassy gully. After packing up and reorganizing our kit we resumed the death march back to the car and arrived at the Lawn Lake Trailhead at 19:30. Blitzen Ridge on Ypsilon Mountain is a challenging mountaineering route that includes sections of technical rock, often made more difficult in winter conditions. Hiking to Ypsilon Lake (and Beyond) 8/16/2020 0 Comments Trailhead: Lawn Lake Trailhead Elevation: 8,540' Destination Elevation: 10,559' Total Elevation Gain: 2,180' And this is actually the summit you can see. I lined up some more partners, arranged the bivy permits, and showed up at The Beaver Meadows Visitor Center Saturday afternoon to meet Dan, Brian, and Fabio and pick up our permits. 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