Mount Ida

I tried hiking Mount Ida last year, but the weather didn't cooperate so I didn't complete it.  The summit was enveloped by clouds as I was hiking and the rocks were getting slick.  This year, the weather looked much better and I was confident that I would summit.

Be sure to click on these thumbnail photos for larger versions.

1. This shot of Mount Ida was taken from a pullout on Trail Ridge Road just west of Forest Canyon Overlook.  But I won't start the hike from here!  That would be a tough hike.  Instead, I'll start from Milner Pass.

2. This was taken just after leaving the trailhead.  This is Poudre Lake at Milner Pass.

3. The first part of the trail climbs steeply for a short distance until is rises above treeline.

4. Most of the trail is above treeline.  Mount Ida is far up ahead.

5. You soon reach a rock pile known by some as 'Marmot Village'.  You can count on seeing Marmots here.

6. The trail as it crosses the tundra just a few feet below the continental divide.

7. There were lots of Northern Paintbrush scattered all over the tundra, not usually in clusters like this though.

8. Still climbing the tundra.  Mount Ida is straight ahead, although what you see is a false summit.

9. This is looking down a drainage that leads to Forest Canyon.

10. You get a great view of the Never Summer Range from the trail.
Super Size It!  (492kB)  Photo only.
Super Size It!  (533kB)  With peak identification.

11. There was a group of about 10 Ptarmigan here, both adults and chicks.  They are so well camouflaged that if they don't move, you don't see them!

12. You get to this point and you wonder, is that the true summit?

13. Yep, we're getting close now.

You'll notice that there is some pink in the snow here.  The color is caused by thriving communities of algae.  Here is a link to an explanation. Biology of Snow: Watermelon Snow

14. Ah! My first good look down into the Gorge Lakes area.

15. The summit!  This rock is the highest point on the summit and this marmot beat me to it.

16. What a view this guy has!

17. The view toward Grand Lake.

18. There's Terra Tomah and Mount Julian.  The lakes are Inkwell Lake and Azure Lake. 

19. A panorama of the Gorge Lakes area.  Highest Lake seems to be hidden by Chief Cheley Peak.  Arrowhead Lake is also hidden.  Super Size It!  (423kB).

20. That is Rock Cut on the other side of Forest Canyon.

21. A closer look at Rock Cut.

22. Longs Peak through the haze.

23. This shot of a bighorn ewe and lamb was taken at 'Marmot Village' on the way back down.  I almost missed them.  They blend in with their surroundings pretty well too.