by Gordon S. Novak Jr.       June 30, 1989

Thatchtop is a fairly large mountain with a conical top. Although not one of the higher peaks, it affords great views of the peaks around Glacier Gorge. Much of Thatchtop is ringed with cliffs. I leave Glacier Gorge junction at 11:43. Climbing Thatchtop requires leaving the trail and finding an S-shaped gully that cuts up through the cliff band. I find the gully, but I also find that it contains a mound of snow about 15 feet high, blocking the gully except for a gap of about one foot at the sides. I manage to squeeze my way up in the gap, hoping the snow doesn't decide to collapse on me. I get to the top of the cliffs at 15:35, followed by a trudge up tundra to the summit.
The views from the summit are great, including a unique view of the ridge of Arrowhead and McHenrys Peak. I decide to descend the south side of Thatchtop on talus toward Solitude Lake, avoiding the need to find the gully again to get down. I descend past Solitude Lake to Shelf Lake and on down to the trail between Mills Lake and Black Lake; this descent is steep at times but not too bad, and the tiny lakes are beautiful. I return via the Mills Lake trail at about 21:30.

Rocky Mountain National Park: The High Peaks