Mt. Lady Washington

      by Gordon S. Novak Jr.

Mt. Lady Washington is a relatively easy 13'er that makes a good training hike because it has a short approach.

The first part of the hike is the same as the hike to Chasm Lake. It takes about 2.5 hours to reach the Y where the trail splits, the left branch heading to Chasm Lake and the right to Longs Peak. There's a horse rack here, and a privy just up the ridge.
From the Y junction, there are two choices: to go directly up the somewhat steep east slope of Mt. Lady Washington, or to follow the Longs Peak trail north and around, then go up the north ridge or the back. My recommendation for the ascent is to go directly up. Although it is a moderately steep climb, it is the shortest distance and probably faster and takes less effort overall.
By the time you reach the top of the eastern slope, you are close to the summit. Mt. Lady Washington has two summits, of which the eastern one is higher. It may be worth the short trip to the other summit to get a better view of the east face of Longs Peak. Binoculars are helpful; you may see technical climbers ascending the east face of Longs.

For the return trip, I usually go down the north ridge or back because its slope is more gentle than that of the east ridge. Both areas are covered by large talus blocks that are mostly stable but occasionally loose. A long ice axe or trekking pole is useful as a third point of support in case one foot lands on a loose block.

Mt. Lady Washington is a fine hike with a great view of Longs Peak; it makes a good training hike for altitude over 13,000 feet.

Time from start to summit: 4:45. Time to return: 2:35. Water consumed: 2.5 quarts per adult.

Rocky Mountain National Park: The High Peaks