Mount Meeker, June 27, 2010
(13911 ft / 4240 m)

This was a day trip from Denver to the Wild Basin area of the Rocky Mountain National Park. We started our hike from the Sandbeach Lake trailhead at 5 am, and followed the trail for about 3 miles to the Hunters Creek bridge. This is a convenient place to leave the main trail. A faint trail, not shown on topo maps, continues on the northeast side of Hunters Creek, passes by Lyric Falls, and after about a mile and a half reaches a stream coming off of Meeker's south slope. A footpath follows the stream for another few hundred feet but then it disappears as you reach open meadows on the south slope of Meeker. A rock formation called Dragons Egg and the summit of Meeker come into clear view. This is a point where a true ascent begins. Up to here, we traveled about 4.5 miles, with a 2150 feet elevation gain. In the next two miles we will gain another 3400 feet on a steep, cross country route to the top.

South slope of the mountain is rimmed by Meeker Ridge on the east (right) side, and by Southwest Ridge on the west (left) side. Once you get close to Dragons Egg, you can angle either west or east and head to one of those two ridgelines. Depending on your route, you will exit lower or higher on the ridge. Southwest Ridge will get you directly to the true (west) summit of Meeker, 13911 feet. If you choose Meeker Ridge you will first end up at a slightly lower east summit. Two summits are connected by a 250-yards long sharp ridge, known as Meeker's Knife Edge. We decided to exit high up on the Southwest Ridge on our way to the top, then use Meeker Ridge on our way down. We reached the main summit slightly before midday, and stayed there briefly because dark clouds began to gather to our west. Twenty minutes later we scrambled up the east summit over Knife Edge, then quickly descended via Meeker Ridge to lower elevation. In the end, thunderstorms didn't materialize, and the sky cleared. By 3 pm, we were back on the main trail at the Hunters Creek bridge, and an hour later back at the trailhead.

This was an eleven-hours round trip from the Sandbeach Lake trailhead with about 5550 ft elevation gain. Some of the highlights of the hike were amazing views of Longs Peak, and that nice little "knife edge" between two summits of Meeker.

 

Going up:

Mount Meeker above Hunters Creek. Getting closer to the base of the mountain. Our cross country route to the summit. South slope of Mount Meeker, and the Dragons Egg rock formation. Our routes to the summit (in red), and back down (in blue). Sandbeach Lake from the Meeker south slope. The closest exit to the southwest ridge over a snow field. But we turned right before the snow, and climbed to a rib higher above. The rib that we used to reach the southwest ridge. Sandbeach Lake and Indian Peaks in the background. Sandbeach Lake from the Meeker south slope. Snow field leading to the southwest ridge. We turned to the right here. The snow field stays behind us. Turret. View down from the rib. Meeker summit from the rib. Up the rib. Meeker Knife Edge in the background. Clouds or fog gathering behind Meeker Ridge. Indian Peaks in the background. Another snow field on the way from the rib to the southwest ridge. Summit of Mount Meeker from our exit point at the southwest ridge. Longs Peak from our exit point at the southwest ridge. View west from our exit point at the southwest ridge.

Longs Peak from Meeker:

Longs Peak from Mount Meeker. Longs Peak from Mount Meeker. Trail to Chasm Lake from Mount Meeker.

On the summit:

Summit of Mount Meeker in the foreground, and lower east summit in the background. Summit rock on Mount Meeker. Summit rock on Mount Meeker. East summit of Mount Meeker from the true summit. Sandbeach Lake and Wild Basin from the summit of Meeker. On the summit rock on Mount Meeker. On the summit rock on Mount Meeker. View east from the summit of Meeker.

Knife edge:

Knife edge on Mount Meeker. On the Meeker Knife Edge. You slip, you are gone. On the Meeker Knife Edge. Exiting from the knife edge.

Look back:

Mount Meeker and Longs Peak. Longs Peak from Meeker Knife Edge.

East summit and Meeker Ridge on the way down:

Lower east summit of Meeker. At the top of the Meeker east summit, with Longs Peak behind. Clouds are engulfing the mountain. Clouds are engulfing Meeker Ridge. View south from Meeker Ridge. Indian Peaks from Meeker Ridge. Summit of Mount Meeker from Meeker Ridge. Clouds approaching Meeker Ridge from northeast. View of Meeker's southwest ridge from Meeker Ridge. View of the snow field that we crossed on our way up. Clouds everywhere. A rock castle on Meeker Ridge. Sandbeach Lake  from Meeker Ridge. View back towards the summit and the rib and the snowfield that we used during the ascent. Reaching the tree line.