Where do we even begin with this one?
Fairchild lies next to Hagues, Ypsilon and Mummy and within reach of Dunraven and the Rowes. As the 5th tallest peak in the park, it rewards you with some awesome views of the area, including a spectacular views of the Longs cirque. It’s a great peak to attempt if you are looking for relaxed skiing with a bit of route finding adventure. The line we skied is off the south face of the peak and can be seen from Trail Ridge Road.
From the Lawn Lakes trailhead, you are going to want to make your way to Ypsilon Lake, crossing a creek at about 1.5 miles in which is missing a bridge . From the lake, head east along a trail to the point where you will have to cross another creek. At this point, you are going to leave the trail and make your way through the marsh up to Fay Lakes. There is a bit of navigation involved here and, unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as simply following a creek. The good news is that you should be able to see your line through the trees to aid in navigation.
From Fay Lakes, scramble through the boulders toward your line. In the spring time, this area is pretty damp, so wait to change socks until you are on the summit. Once above the boulders, trend to looker’s right. You will come to a flat area just below the largest of your waterfalls. The Blitzen Ridge is that huge, jagged mass to looker’s left heading to the summit of Ypsilon.
Keep heading up and look for a spot to transition to ski boots. Half of our crew continued the rock scramble and half decided to kick steps up the line. Its up to you and the snow conditions.
There is a choke about half way up where the snow melts out the quickest, but that is really the only obstacle until you hit the boulder field near the top. There is a summer trail along the east ridge, but with snow, you will make more progress simply booting up the south face until you hit the steepest section right at the top.
As you drop into this line, skiers left is clearly steeper – you’ll figure that out real quick. As a spring ski, this line is nearly perfect with almost 2k of skiable vert. It’s mellow enough to rip, yet has a few hazards which can make even the smallest mishap ruin your day. Savor this line as it stays in longer than most in the park and is a wonderful way to spend a relaxing day out with friends.