Fairchild Mountain Fay Lakes Approach
ElevationAscent: 5,011' 1,527 m
Descent: -169' -52 m
High: 13,387' 4,080 m
Low: 8,545' 2,605 m
GradeAvg Slope: 15% (9°)
Max Slope: 63% (32°)
Current ascent conditions
Popular ski lines nearby
Hidden Valley "Ptarmigan"
0.2 mi 0.3 km • -128 ft Descent • -38.9 m Descent
Singletrack Estes Park, CO( 1 )
0.3 mi 0.5 km • -394 ft Descent • -120.02 m Descent
Singletrack Estes Park, CO( 5 )
0.3 mi 0.5 km • -398 ft Descent • -121.25 m Descent
Singletrack Estes Park, CO( 2 )
0.5 mi 0.9 km • -1,633 ft Descent • -497.8 m Descent
Singletrack Grand Lake, CO( 21 )
Smoke and Dragons
0.2 mi 0.4 km • -830 ft Descent • -252.93 m Descent
Singletrack Grand Lake, CO( 1 )
0.2 mi 0.4 km • -434 ft Descent • -132.27 m Descent
Singletrack Grand Lake, CO( 2 )
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“A shorter but more involved approach to Fairchild Mountain.”— Ryan Nevius
Once you reach Ypsilon Lake, hike or skin along the south shore and cross the outlet stream. From here, things get tricky. Bushwhack northeast for 0.6 miles to the lowest and smallest of the Fay Lakes. This is almost always a slog and takes longer than one would think. Eventually, Fairchild Mountain will come into view; you'll know you're getting closer.
After you reach the lowest of the lakes, follow the inlet stream uphill (to the north) to the larger and rounder Middle Fay Lake. Take the western shore along the lake to the bottom of the Hourglass Couloir (South Face). Follow the path of least resistance through the rocky terrain and up the South Face.
This is definitely a ski mountaineering ascent. Crampons and an axe are often necessary for the final few thousand feet, during the spring season.
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Land Manager: National Park Service - Rocky Mountain National Park