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From the eastern side of RMNP, drive up the Bear Lake Rd to Glacier Gorge's parking lot, about 1 mile short of its terminus. From here, hike uphill about 0.3 miles. Go left to the 2nd bridge. At this point, you have 3 choices. Efficiency is likely determined by how much snow & which trails have been stomped down. The climber's trails go after the 2nd bridge either at the bottom of the drainage (sometimes the deepest snow, sometimes the best ski) or the along the left side of the drainage, climbing to as much as 100' above its bottom on a summer trail. The longest trail goes along the widest summer trail past Alberta Falls (typically buried in snow, at most WI1) to junction of the trail that splits towards Mill's Lake & Glacier Gorge. The climber's trails join here. Follow the signs towards Loch Vale. For Loch Vale Gorge, hike the trail until you get to a tight switchback, then drop down & left. For climbs Loch Vale & above, continue up the summer trail to Loch Vale & beyond!
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Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Loch Vale & vicinity:
Northwest Face Route - Thatchtop or Northeast Gully? WI3-4 Trad, Ice, 5 pitches Loch Vale & uphill
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Quicksilver M3+ Mod. Snow R CO : CO Ice & Mixed : ... : Loch Vale & uphill
Begin at the very highest point of the snowfield and climb a couple pitches trending left toward the ridge. Traverse back right and into a bowl. Trend left then follow the obvious relief toward the upper bowl and skyline notch.Frozen Spring conditions may be best. Ken Younge & I did it in early April 2002. We were several hours late and post-holed in knee deep slush. Styrofoam type frozen snow would be ideal....[more] Browse More Classics in CO
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