Mt. Royal 2014

The summit ridge on Mt. Royal has some good rock
Route Name: Mt. Royal trail
Start Elevation: 9,086 ft.
Mt. Royal Elevation: 10,422 ft.
Distance: 3.6 mi.
Elevation Gain: 1,483 ft.

Start Time: 9:00am
Summit ridge time: 9:39am
End Time: 10:05pm
Duration: 1 hrs 4 mins




TRIP REPORT:

Mt. Royal has become an almost annual acclimatization hike for us Midwestern flatlanders.  Its almost to the point where I may not even blog or make trip reports about it.  There isn't anything new to say about the trail itself which is pretty straightforward, but the experience is still rewarding so I share it.  Plus, there are always great photos to be had as there are on any good hike.


A beautiful morning to be on the trail
This year I flew out to Denver on a Sunday evening with my wife Sarah and then made the drive out to Frisco.  We were arriving around midnight.  First thing Monday morning I wanted to get out and get the heart racing so I headed for Mt. Royal.  We were in the Peak 1 Condos again this year right along 2nd Avenue which usually would mean a short walk south to the end of the road gets you started.  This year Frisco is constructing new condos at the end of 2nd and this blocks access to the bike trail and the beginnings of Mt. Royal from that part of town.  This led to a detour of mine over to Mt. Royal Dr. and then on to Aspen Dr. which gave me access to the bike trail at its end.  The true Mt. Royal trailhead was then a short walk up the bike trail.  

The months leading up to our summer Colorado trip this year, and even leading into late 2013 have been amazing months of fitness for me.  I started running long distance last September and have been hitting 100+ miles a month for every month but 2 out of the last 10.  This meant heading up Mt. Royal for me was not so much a challenge of making it, but how fast I could make it.  As I started up the trail I wanted to see what kind of pace could I push.  

Cairn on the summit ridge at the top of the trail
On the ascent I never broke into a jog as the steady hiking pace I made was enough to keep the heart racing.  I did push it the whole ascent, however, without any stopping and passed a handful of people along the way.  In my previous 3 summits of Royal I've either been dragging my kids to the top or hiking it in deep snow in the winter.  Summit times would average about 1 hour 45 minutes.  Today, I reached the top in 38 minutes.  I was pretty pleased with the feel of the hike and the effort.  I made it to the top of the trail and a large cairn on the summit ridge where I could look over to I-70 and spent about 2 minutes there for pictures before heading down.

Checking out the "other side" and finding I-70
On the descent I broke into a jogging pace.  I was able to sustain this pretty much the whole way down slowing just a bit here and there on a steep section or on a rocky section.  I had some hesitation pushing it too far as I had a bad experience of running down hill last year when hiking above Skagway, Alaska.  I had hiked to Upper Dewey Lake there and did a jogging descent for 2000+ feet.  That ended up giving me severe soreness in my thighs for almost a week.  Hesitant to risk repeating that on my first day of this trip I held back some to hopefully alleviate the risk.

One last look at a beautiful morning
I ended up making it down to the trailhead and even back on the detour to the condo in about 25 minutes, making for an overall hike time of 1 hour 4 minutes.  Definitely my fastest hike of Mt. Royal to date.


TRACK:

I have a track and waypoints from the hike all contained in a KML file that you are welcome to download and use (at your own risk): .

My Track


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