FKT: Guy Love - Rocky Mountain Grand Loop (CO) - 2020-07-07

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
16h 37m 54s
GPS track(s)

A wild ride! This has been on the radar a couple years now since stumbling upon it on this website--how few things are there on the front range that next to no one has done?

Aesthetically and by trail style, counterclockwise (the original) makes the most sense I think, but does leave you very remote if storms roll in anywhere in the last 20 miles. Thankfully, I only got hailed on for 30 seconds going up Boulder-Grand Pass while watching the IPW get pummelled.  Going this direction, you descent the really nice trails and climb the heinous, slow parts. The original route was advertised at 43 miles, but I can assume mile add on for trail improvements, plus the original duo took cables down, as well as starting/finishing at the Boulderfield

Start with a nice sunrise hike up Flattop, then a long downhill on as good of alpine singletrack as any I've seen. Buy chips and Mountain Dew in Grand Lake for the walk back out of town.arvel at the engineering on the East Inlet Trail, as well as the lack of crowds on this side of the Divide. Get stuck not wanting to commit to a steep glissade off Boulder-Grand Pass and end up descending a ledge system that was likely much harder anyway. Then glissade and rock hop your way to Thunder Lake and chat with some fishermen. Wander aimlessly through the woods with poor route finding and then nail your line up Mount Orion; think briefly about tagging the summit (it's right there after all), before skittering down to Hunter Creek because there are ominous clouds to the South. Stomp through willows grumbling to yourself. Look up and see blue skies again. Slip and slide the first 600 feet of Keplinger's Couloir until you can skirt onto some rock on the side. Scramble 50 feet, rest and dry heave, then repeat. Feel better on the summit because you think you're done. Be surprised how smooth, if slow, the keyhole feels. Then bumble your way endlessly back to the trailhead wondering how the NPS can stretch 1000 feet of descent out into so many miles.

Spent the last 7 hours nauseous and 6 hours without stomaching any food or water. This was my first altitude long run of the year, so to be expected I guess.

I'm really happy just to do the route, see almost all of RMNP in a day, and tag my favorite mountain in a new way. I'll likely do it again next year, it's worth repeating.  And hopefully now someone else will go do it too!