Sprague Lake, Granite Pass, Battle Mountain (12,044 ft, 3,671 m), Storm Pass Loop, 10/18/2003
We started at the Sprague Lake parking area at 8:12. It was a beautiful sunny morning, and there were only a few cars in the parking area. Heading southwest along the Glacier Creek Trail, we reached the Boulder Brook Trail, and then headed south on that, reaching the intersection of the Boulder Brook Trail and the North Longs Peak Trail at 9:20. Following the zigzagging N. Longs Peak Trail up the side of Battle Mountain, we reached Granite Pass at the intersection with the East Longs Peak Trail at 10:42. Since by our estimate, we arrived early at Granite Pass, we decided to do a little extra beyond the planned loop, so we headed up to the Boulderfield, getting there at 11:25 and taking a break on a rock for a few minutes for a drink of water and some digicam pictures of the East Face and North Face of Longs Peak and surroundings. Returning to Granite Pass, we left the trail, and headed northwest along the ridge of Battle Mountain. We stopped for lunch just below the summit of Battle Mountain, out of the wind. We continued northwest along the ridge, then began our descent toward Storm Pass making a beeline toward a rock knob to our left that was at about treeline. Near treeline, we hiked toward our left for a while looking for the best place to enter the forest, so as to minimize krummholz. We entered the forest where the trees looked the largest, which allowed us to entirely avoid the krummholz. Stefan led us along a route down to Storm Pass which was quite nice, with very little dense forest. We reached the Storm Pass Trail at 14:22, turning right on it and hiking about a tenth of a mile more to its intersection with the Estes Cone Summit Trail. A sign at this junction said it was 4.5 miles to Bear Lake Road. From there we headed back northwest along the Storm Pass Trail and then back to Sprague Lake via the Glacier Creek Trail. We returned to Sprague Lake at 16:20, for a round trip time of 8 hours and 8 minutes.