A Classic Route on Hallett Peak, and Otis Peak (as a Bonus)

When: July 2008
Partners: DB, Ram and Aaron Ramras
Route: Unnamed on North Face (Class 4-5)
Mileage/Gain: 11/3,500

Heading up toward the Tyndall Glacier

Always glad to join up with Ram and his son Little Ram, DB and I were excited to embark on another adventure that Ram promised to be "classic." Having shown us an obscure and stunning route he'd pieced together a decade and a half earlier on Zion National Park's North Guardian Angel only 2.5 weeks earlier, we knew we'd be in for a good time. This time we were headed for Hallett Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park!
Near the toe of the Tyndall Glacier

With an absurdly early start to avoid the expected and typical afternoon thunderstorms summer Colorado is so famous for, we found ourselves leaving the trail and slogging across talus to a snowfield as the first light of morning graced the horizon.

Reaching for our ice axes, we gained the snow and headed up the drainage to the toe of the Tyndall Glacier...and there, our eyes beheld the route!
Looking up at the upper half of our route on Hallett Peak

The route was stunning. Perhaps 1,000-1,500 vertical feet of semi-sustained class 3 & 4 scrambling, with the occasional class 5 move thrown in to keep one on his toes! "Let's go!" So Little Ram led up...
The Adventure Sage

Little Ram above the Tyndall Glacier

Plenty of quality class 3 & 4 scrambling on the route

Little Ram and the uninspiring Flattop Mountain

Little Ram working through steepening terrain up high

Great stuff along the upper route

Ram wasn't lying. This route, which he'd found some 15 years earlier, was indeed "classic." Steep, sustained, fun, and on mostly good rock, it was highly memorable. And for added glee, it dumped us off within steps of the summit and its stunning views!
DB takes the last few steps to the summit

Aaron, within a few moves of the highpoint

Spending quite a few minutes enjoying the warmth and views on the top of Hallett, Ram suggested we head down the easy backside of the peak and traverse past Otis Peak, ultimately aiming for a descent down the Andrews Glacier. Let's do it!
En route to the Andrews Glacier

But along the way, Aaron and I decided to bypass off to Otis Peak for a little bonus action. While only a minor peak, the view over to a nearby feature called The Sharkstooth was awesome. Ram had climbed the thing some years earlier and described it as something like "the scariest 5.6 route I've ever done."
The Sharkstooth

After Otis, we dropped down to the head of the Andrews Glacier to meet up with Ram and DB. There, we not only found the two, but also a NPS sign that said something about caution and crevasses and other absurdities regarding this tiny, benevolent "glacier." And so we headed down...
A quick and easy descent down the Andrews Glacier

Near the toe of the glacier, Ram enjoyed a short glissade to the lake at the base of the snow. Once there, he and his son enjoyed a dip in the frigid waters of Andrews Tarn.
Nearing the toe of Andrews Glacier

Andrews Tarn

Eventually beginning our descent back to the civilized world, DB and I soon stumbled across something neither of us had ever seen or even thought to exist...
A marmot feasting on human shit

How awful. But we worked through it and continued on.
Silly Rockstar, almost back to the car...well, within a few miles, at least