This is a less-visited locale on the eastern side of Rocky Mountain National Park that requires a somewhat longer walk in, but it is a beautiful location with an alpine, granitic cirque with a small number of routes that go up to 1200 feet in length. Perhaps due to the abundance of closer alpine rock, this mountain can feel fairly remote despite it being a longer day trip.
The most common approach is via the Lawn Lake Trailhead off the Fall River Road entrance into RMNP. Hike northward 1.4 miles to the junction where you go right towards Lawn Lake (not towards Ypsilon Lake & Ypsilon Mt.). Continue on a flatter 4.8 miles to the junction with the Black Canyon Trail and go left (Northeast) towards Lawn Lake. Curve around the eastern shore of Lawn Lake (6.3 miles). Near a patrol cabin, you get to a 4 option fork. The path you want is the 2nd from the left (not clearly marked). Continue to the fork for The Saddle (descent from the climbs). Consider leaving gear you won't climb with near this fork so you don't have to hike back to retrieve your gear. Continue leftward towards Little Crystal Lake (7.5 miles). Contour / boulder hop around the western shore and arrive at Crystal Lake (7.9 miles). Now the scrambling begins. The rest of the approach is only ~0.6 miles, but you probably need to budget in 1.5-2 hours for the remaining terrain, since the boulders are loose, and the final snow slopes are a bit treacherous. This snowfield is fairly sizeable and steep enough to make normal approach shoes feel inadequate. You can try to skirt the right side of the snowfield. We saw what seemed like an adequate path of scree/boulders resting on the left side and mid-left side of the snowfield and used that. There are spots where this is five steps up to gain one step's height. Eventually you can get a hole in the snowfield to gear up. Belaying from this hole may be the safest way onto the rock.
Browse More Classics in Fairchild Mountain
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Fairchild Mountain:
Honcho Boncho Buttress 5.7 PG13 Trad, Alpine, 9 pitches, 1200 feet
Featured Route For Fairchild Mountain
Honcho Boncho Buttress 5.7 PG13 CO : Alpine Rock : ... : Fairchild Mountain
This is an older route which ascends a chimney system in its first half and connects with a meandering path of least resistance on the upper face. The position is excellent, the climbing is not as stellar, but in its entirety, the adventure of this climb makes it a worthy endeavor. There is an amazing quantity of loose blocks littered all about this face, but a careful climber can avoid most of it. This was originally done as a 13 pitch climb. With its wandering nature, rope drag probably wi...[more] Browse More Classics in CO