Rocky Mountain Backpacking
THE ULTIMATE ALPINE ADVENTURE
About this Trip
Longs Peak at 14,259’ above sea level is just one of many peaks towering above Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colorado. Camping at the nearby Boulderfield at 12,700’ is one of the many objective goals of this trip, an alpine backpacking adventure in its purest form. But just like most things in life, we work up to this goal. With most participants hailing from the Midwest and much lower elevation, Rocky Mountain Backpacking truly is an on-site exercise in preparing for our ascent to the Boulderfield and ultimately a scramble to the Keyhole rock formation at 13,100’ just in time for a morning sunrise over Mount Lady Washington and Granite Pass on the final morning of the backcountry journey. Beginning with a flight to Denver on Delta Airlines, the trip spends a day in the “frontcountry” of the park for acclimation and day hiking before the backcountry portion begins. Participants sample a gain in elevation as Storm Pass is crossed and attempts to summit Estes Cone are made. Eventually, the group prepares for the long, sustained ascent to the Boulderfield with an overnight at Goblin’s Forest and an early morning hike above treeline toward Chasm Junction, Granite Pass, and up the Keyhole Route to the highest campsites in the park. The trip is physically demanding in nature, mainly due to sustained uphill hiking at high altitude, and builds an incredible amount of confidence in participants as a major goal is achieved. Although the final trip in the Northpoint Adventures series, Rocky Mountain Backpacking marks the beginning of a lifetime of tripping ahead for most participants.
Rocky Mountain Backpacking in chorus with previous trips in the Northpoint progression equips participants with necessary knowledge and skills for a lifetime of adventuring ahead. Our Owners, Directors, and Trip Leaders hope that through participation in the Northpoint program you feel confident pursuing future adventures in adulthood. Rocky Mountain Backpacking specifically teaches; the importance of Leave No Trace ethics, responsible adult-like conduct in public places and during travel, the importance of trail nutrition at high altitude, basic wilderness first aid and group safety, understanding weather conditions in alpine environments, the importance of encouragement in accomplishing physical goals, and the importance of emotional support of others in accomplishing challenging initiatives. Further, participants are self-sufficient in wilderness cooking, possess a meaningful understanding of self and personal gear care in an alpine environment, and are self-starters in taking responsibility for and supporting the group. Participants contribute to the Rocky Mountain team at a high level, and are encouraged to recognize what’s personally important to them about this formative wilderness experience.
Future Trip Dates to Be Determined
Recommended for Participants ages 16/17+
Advanced / Expert level backpacking experience – 30 miles over 8 days
Completion of Isle Royale Backpacking or Voyageurs Wilderness Canoe recommended
Future Trip Dates to Be Determined
To Be Announced
To Be Announced
The following items are necessary for a safe and comfortable Rocky Mountain Backpacking experience. This trip requires gear slightly more technical than before – please read the list carefully. If you have questions, please e-mail Northpoint Adventures.
2 pair Smartwool Brand Hiking Socks – a must for Rocky Mtn
1 pair Nylon Athletic Shorts
1 pair breathable Hiking Pants – recommend zip-off hiking pants (shorts and pants in one)
1 short-sleeve Polypropylene Hiking Shirt – a shirt other than a cotton t-shirt works well
1 long-sleeve Polypropylene Hiking Shirt – no cotton please
1 Polar Fleece Top – not cotton, no sweatshirts
1 pair Rain Pants
1 GoreTex rain coat – it’s important to stay dry
1 T-Shirt for sleeping
1 pair lightweight Pajama Pants
1 pair Socks for sleeping/campsite
4 pair Underwear (or enough for 6 days)
Sports Bras as necessary
1 Baseball Cap, Visor, or Bandana
There is a chance we’ll encounter cold conditions high in the mountains. Temperatures also fluctuate throughout the day. Be prepared with the following layers:
1 stocking cap
1 pair gloves or mittens (lightweight)
1 medium-weight puffy jacket (outer layer)
1 warm-up jacket (micro-puff, fleece, or similar) (inner layer)
1 Under Armor or similar Polypropylene turtleneck or cold gear base layer
1 pair long underwear or waffle/fleece pants (insulated but not bulky)
1 pair of ankle-height Hiking Boots – Hiking or All-Terrain Shoes DO NOT WORK for Rocky Mountain! Supportive boots are a must, and please break them in.
1 pair of campsite shoes, Chacos, etc.
EXTRAS (but still important…)
1 Chapstick or Blistex
Toothbrush & Toothpaste
1 Headlamp – important to have your own
Bug Spray or Bug Wipes
Sunglasses – required as UV levels are high at altitude
1 package of Wet Ones or similar hand wipes
1 Sleeping Bag – please check the degree rating on your bag. It’s important to bring a bag rated between 0 degrees (preferred) to 20 degrees. Anything rated warmer than 20 degrees isn’t suitable for high-altitude camping.
2 Nalgene-brand Water Bottles (wide-mouth, one-quart size. MUST be Nalgene-brand to work with our water purifiers.)
1 Crazy Creek Chair or Sleeping Pad – not both, space is limited*
*denotes optional item
Northpoint Adventures will supply packs, eating and cooking equipment, and the rest of the gear for the trip.