As a summit, Half Mt. is but a bump along the crest of Long's Peak/Glacier Gorge's NW ridge. Previously this was known only for the Astro Tower, the tallest of five formations seen to the east above popular Mill's Lake. Left of the Astro Tower is the Darkberry Buttress and to the tower's right is the Chronic Buttress. Astro Tower has only two recorded routes, Snively and Westbay's 1983 line and the Rossiter's Space Walk, of the same year. At least a half dozen have been added since then. The Darkberry has several FAs. The Chronic Buttress, is a 400 foot high, truncated rock of fine, glaciated granite. Three routes, including this chronicler's Secret Garden, a three pitch, pleasant 5.9+ a line up the buttress's left shoulder.
Gillett's 2001 RMNP Climber's Guide suggests a 1000 foot elevation gain from Mill's Lake. I would double down on that once quoted as the worst approach hike ever: this daunting bushwack angling around slabs and talus then through Krummholz forests took this party from the lake over three hours.
Browse More Classics in Astro Tower & Group Half Mt., Glacier Gorge, RMNP
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Astro Tower & Group Half Mt., Glacier Gorge, RMNP:
The Secret Garden 5.9+ Trad, Alpine, 3 pitches, 400 feet, Grade II
Featured Route For Astro Tower & Group Half Mt., Glacier Gorge, RMNP
The 400 foot high, square topped buttress right of Astro Tower has been named Astro Slab; aka Chronic Buttress. Endure a long slog through the windtimber before roping up below the left side of the buttress below an obvious, white rock scar.P1. Climb a 5.9 thin crack just right of the scar. This is a nice pitch to nice ledge.P2. The crux pitch: a distinctive, fish hook, thin crack, reminds one of a Lumpy, Book crack.P3. Finish on a steep and blocky 5.8 rib to the summit....[more] Browse More Classics in CO