Mt Richthofen
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Mt. Richthofen Hike Scramble - RMNP  West of Fort Collins on Highway 14 to Walden

Lake Agnes trailhead with my 2011 Jeep Compass rental which was a quite nice crossover to drive

Road wasn't too bad except for this dip here, most regular cars should be able to make it to the trailhead although a little bit of clearance helps

An excellent trail up to the lake

Our view of the whole off trail route from the lake, quite a splendid looking basin

A little bit of the creator's handiwork as you go clockwise around the lake

The route to take depends upon the snow in the basin. I went straight up the middle of the basin, quite a bit of rock hopping on fairly large stable boulders. In hindsight the left side might have been a bit better. My scramble was on August 20, 2011 where the season was late due to all the spring snows. Due to the firmness of the snow and icy patches in the morning, crampons and an ice axe would have allowed climbing the snow on the edges in a quicker and safer manner so mostly hiked just to the right of the snow going up. I did go down the snow later in the afternoon as everything softened up. On a normal late August scramble there would be considerably less snow. The last third up to the saddle is quite steep, a real quad burner.

A closer view of the upper part of the basin

Another view of the upper basin to the saddle

Last steep section on grass and rock to the saddle

Looking back down the basin from the saddle

The loose and steep route with only a faint trail here and there. The top you see is not yet the false summit.

A bit more to the false summit. The rocks get a bit more stable from here onwards.

Looking back down at the saddle

The summit of Richthofen comes into view, see the wind break

The crux gully class 3 curves around out of sight. Lots of foot and handholds to use just take your time. At the more cautious spots I always just stop for a minute before them and let my heart rate and breathing go down so that I am fresh on the crux part and I don't rush it.

Looking back down at the start of the gully

Another view of the gully a bit higher up

Another view of the gully as you exit it and have only 30 feet more to the summit

Looking up at the last 30 feet from the gully exit

Yours truly after 2,300 feet of loose off trail quad burning effort. Felt like a lot more.

And again

Thought the wind break looked kinda cool all by itself

Peaks to the west

Looking at the false summit from the top

Looking at the Nokhu crags to the north east

Nice peak to the north west

Half a dozen other guys from all over the USA hiked up the peak about 20 minutes behind me. I guess I was there to take their group shot on the summit :)

Lake Agnes from the top zoomed in a bit

Almost back to the saddle on loose terrain

Mt. Richthofen Hike Scramble - RMNP  West of Fort Collins on Highway 14 to Walden

Scramble: Class 2 + with Class 3 Gully near the top

Altitude: 12,940 ft, Trailhead 10,240ft

Elevation Gain: 2,700 ft approx, Round trip 4.0 miles

Start Time: 6am to 8am to be on your way down by noon and avoid potential lightning storms

Ascent Time: 3 Hours + or -

Highlights

This scramble is in a very beautiful rugged basin and the summit views are quite splendid, the only tough part is that the last 2,300 feet are off trail with a faint loose trail from the col to the false summit. Still a highly worthwhile scramble.

Getting There

Lake Agnes Trailhead – 10,240 ft – Yes restrooms

From I – 25 take highway 14 west into Fort Collins and in town take a right going north on highway 287, keep left as you come to the intersection for 287 and highway 1. Then stay right as you pass the Laporte turn, then at "Ted’s Place" there is the left hand turn off of highway 287 onto highway 14 heading west towards Poudre Canyon, Cameron Pass and Walden. Approximately 62 miles of fairly slow driving (like average 40-45mph) to Cameron Pass which is at 10,276 feet. Start down Cameron Pass approx 2 miles, looking for the left hand turn into Crags Campground and also the road that goes to the Lake Agnes trailhead. At the left hand turn for Crags is where you pay for a daily park pass $7 and the camp site fee $16 as at 2011. Have the correct change as you stuff the envelopes to pay as well as a good pen or pencil. At the left hand turn pavement turns to gravel and the road heads downhill for a bit arriving at an intersection where you take a right and begin the uphill climb to the Crags / Lake Agnes sign, left at the sign for Crags and straight for the Lake Agnes Trailhead.

Camping

If the Crags Campground is full you can head further down the pass for a few miles to Ranger Lakes Campground.

Route Description

For the first 400 feet of elevation gain there is a very good trail up to Lake Agnes. As you look south across the lake you can see the boulder bowl and col. Take the faint rock trail on the left or clockwise around the lake. At the back of the lake you can either go up the left side of the boulder piles until you hit a big rock fin or rib, then along it if conditions are dry or you can go straight up the middle through the obvious gap between two sets of trees. I went straight up the middle rock hopping on fairly stable and big boulders up to the snowfield that still covered a lot of the last third of the route up to the col. From here your judgment will be required on the route to the col. Without crampons I chose to keep to the right edge of the snow working my way up a very steep slope until things eased a bit aiming for the rocky outcrop at the col.

From the col head left up the loose and faint trail to the false summit, from here it is best to stay on the ridge as directly as possible as you traverse over to the summit block. The gendarme just before the crux gully is circumvented on the left on a number of ledges. The crux gully has a brief bit of mild exposure at the start but is reasonably easy to ascend as there are numerous good foot and hand holds to use. Just take your time and look for the holds to use. Once you exit the gully 30 feet of scrambling takes you to the summit and wind break.

Due to the 2,300 feet of off trail work I recommend high top hikers and be prepared to persevere, the summit views are worth it!