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The west slope of Long's Peak drops 3000 feet into a rugged basin at the head of Glacier Gorge known as the Black Lake Cirque. Some of the most impressive walls and spires in Rocky Mountain National Park are found here towering above fields of wild flowers, ice-scoured slabs and jewel-like lakes comprising an alpine paradise of exceptional beauty (except for the mosquitoes). The rim of Glacier Gorge is formed by Half Mountain, Storm Peak and Long's Peak on the east; Keyboard of the Winds, Pagoda Mountain and Chief's Head Peak on the south; and by McHenry's Peak, Powell Peak and Thatchtop Mountain on the west. Spearhead and Arrowhead are satellite or island peaks within the rim of the gorge.
Begin from the Glacier Gorge Bus Stop (Trailhead) and follow the Glacier Gorge Trail to Black Lake. A useful shortcut branches right from the main trail just after the 4th stream crossing (about .55 mile) and regains the main trail just east of the Loch Vale Junction. As soon as you cross the log bridge over Icy Brook, you are in Glacier Gorge. This great trail continues to Mills Lake, Jewel Lake and eventually to Black Lake. From Black Lake the trail climbs along a beautiful cascade SE into the basin above Black Lake. From here, cairns indicate the line of least resistance into the upper cirque.
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Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Glacier Gorge:
Featured Route For Glacier Gorge
Cowboys and Indians 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a CO : Alpine Rock : ... : Chiefshead Northeast Face
Cowboys and Indians is the most popular, and perhaps finest, route on the NE Face of Chiefshead. At 11 or so pitches, it is one of the longest routes in RMNP. On the right side of the wall, and just left of obvious terraces, find a thin finger crack (5.10d) leading to 3 bolts which protect 5.10 climbing. Belay on a ledge below an imposing, left trending roof.Undercling the roof left (strenuous) to a stance out left (optional belay) and continue up an easier left facing corner. If you skip th...[more] Browse More Classics in CO
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