Note: This route description is part of a one day Mummy Range clean out that used a two-vehicle setup. For further details, see the route descriptions for Mt. Chiquita, Ypsilon Mtn., Hagues Peak and Mummy Mtn. Pre-Lidar elevation was 13,502.
Accessed from Ypsilon Mtn., Fairchild involves a rugged descent and then ascent on boulders & talus. Accessed from "The Saddle" above Lawn and Crystal Lakes, it is a moderate ascent on trail and mostly tundra with some rock and talus. Class 2. Passenger vehicle accessible but check on condition of Fall River Road in RMNP before proceeding.
Fairchild Mtn/Mummy Range Clean out Route
Please Note: The description provided here requires a two-vehicle shuttle. You will begin at the Chapin Creek Trailhead and come out at the Lawn lake TH. The Old Fall River road, is a graded dirt road. Though many if not most passenger cars can negotiate this road successfully, you'll be more comfortable in a higher clearance vehicle.
The Chapin Creek TH is located on the "Old Fall River Road" in Rocky Mountain National Park. This road is One Way, uphill from the access point. From Estes Park, follow HWY 34 or the bypass west to the Fall River Visitor Center and entrance station. Continue west on HWY34 about 2 miles to an intersection just past Sheep Lakes. Turn right onto the Fall River Road and almost immediately right again into the Lawn Lake Trailhead parking area. Leave one vehicle here.( If coming from Grand Lake across Trail Ridge Road, at Deer Ridge Junction, turn left onto HWY34 and drive under two miles to the intersection with the Fall River Road where you will turn left, then right into the parking for the Lawn Lake Trail.)
From the Lawn Lake TH, continue driving west to the end of the pavement at the Endovalley picnic area, another 2 miles. Continue almost another 8 miles on the graded, single lane dirt road to the Chapin Creek trailhead. There is very limited parking here. This is where your very long hike will begin. When you finish you day at the Lawn Lake TH and retrieve your second vehicle at the end of the day you will have to drive west again on the Fall River Road, pick up your other vehicle at the Chapin TH, then continue on to the toTrail Ridge Road Visitor Center. Then, drive back down to Estes Park on Trail Ridge Road, assuming you came from the Front Range. If coming from the west slope, you can continue west on HWY 34 to Grand Lake and beyond.
There is no "at-large" camping allowed within RMNP, neither can you camp overnight at any of the trailheads. If within park boundaries, you must camp in the designated campgrounds. The nearest park campground is the "Aspenglen." Check the park website for additional information about which campgrounds allow advance reservations and how to obtain those.
From Mount Chiquita
Class 2 /
2.6 mi / 2,050’ One-Way
Mount Chiquita/Mummy Range Clean Out
Open This Route in a New Window
Please Note: This peak is included as part of a sequenced, two-vehicle shuttle route description for the Mummy range, including Ypsilon Mountain, Fairchild, Hagues and Mummy. See those peaks for further details if needed. All-aboard for a mega peak day.
From the Chapin Pass TH, head NE on the Chapin Creek trail toward Chapin Pass and then turn east on another trail that leads to Mt. Chapin. This trail does not show on the USGS map but the lower portion of it is indicated on the park brochure map and the NFS map for Arapaho/Roosevelt. Those maps only show it as far as a little above treeline. Since Mount Chapin is a ranked 12er, you might consider tagging it as you pass by, but for the approach to Chiquita, Ypsilon, Fairchild and Hagues, the goal is to reach the saddle between Chapin and Mount Chiquita. To reach that saddle, follow an easy trail that contours upward across easy tundra terrain bedecked with alpine wildflowers.
From the saddle between Mount Chapin and Mount Chiquita, hike NE along a very broad ridge to the summit. You'll be hiking on mostly tundra that will give way to more embedded rocks and some rocky talus. Enjoy the wildflower display.
Class 2 /
1.3 mi / 730’ One-Way
Ypsilon Mtn/Mummy Range Clean Out
Open This Route in a New Window
Note: This route description is part of a sequenced route that includes the entire Mummy Range as part of a single day hike with a two-vehicle shuttle. See also Mount Chiquita, Fairchild Mountain, Hagues Peak and Mummy Mountain for additional details. One-way mileage & elevation gain for Ypsilon are measured from the summit of Mount Chiquita. Round-trip figures assume completion of the entire circuit.
From the summit of Mount Chiquita, Ypsilon Mountain is an easy, 45 minute stroll. Descend north from Chiquita to the saddle at 12,786 ft. over similar, mostly tundra, and some embedded rock, boulders and talus encountered on the hike up Chiquita. At the saddle, head NNE to the summit of Ypsilon following along the broad ridge with the same kind of terrain. This is a fairly easy, low-angle stroll with summer wildflowers to brighten your way. Don't miss out on the views down into the cirque surrounding the Spectacle Lakes.
Click thumbnail to view full-size photo + caption
Year Climbed: 1997
Note: This description is part of a one day Mummy Range clean out that utilized a two-vehicle set up. See also Mt. Chiquita, Ypsilon Mtn., Hagues Peak and Mummy Mtn. for further details. One-way mileage and elevation gain estimates are measured from the summit of Ypsilon Mtn. Round-trip numbers assume completion of the entire circuit.
From the summit of Ypsilon Mountain, head down to the NW on easy slopes until the ridge line comes to an abrupt end and turns to the NE. You'll be greeted by a rugged jumble of spires and broken blocks of rock. To avoid this mess, drop down on the east side of the ridge and descend carefully on loose rocks and large blocks & stacked boulders until the terrain relents and you're able to drop into something of a more mellow, but still rocky basin with some tundra as well. At about 12,400 feet, turn more to the north and begin your ascent to Fairchild from the saddle at 12,580 ft. Clamber over more broken rock, scree etc. as you ascend 600 feet along the ridge. At just above 13,200 feet, the steep ascent will relent and you'll be able to stroll on to the actual summit across far less steep terrain. The summit is rather uneventful, but the view east, looking down into the protective cirque surrounding Crystal Lake is very impressive. From Ypsilon, it will take about one hour to cross over to Fairchild.
Alternate route: From Lawn lake, hike up the trail that leads to "The Saddle" at 12,398 ft. From that saddle, turn SW and hike up the fairly gentle slope to the summit of Fairchild over tundra, embedded rocks and talus.
Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.
"In the sciences, the authority of thousands of opinions is not worth as much as one tiny spark of reason in an individual man." Galileo Galilei