|Peak:||Kit Carson Peak (14er)|
|Route:||From Challenger Point|
|Range:||Sangre de Cristo|
|Date of Information:||06/16/2012|
You could see the smoke settling in Alamosa county as we drove closer to the town of Crestone. I wasnt happy that we were breathing that in but it made for a really cool/weird sunrise photo. See photo 1. On Saturday the day we climbed smoke was not much of a factor.
It was a long but fun day on Challenger and Kit Carson. The biggest problem were the Mosquitos from 8900 to tree line. As long as you kept moving they were not to bad. The trail was pretty dusty until around 11000 as well. We started just after midnight and before the lake it was so warm even in the middle of the night I was down to a tank top.
I was told that I should camp at Willow Lake and I really should have listened. That lake was beautiful with one flowing waterfall and one frozen one. I have pictures if anyone is interested send me a PM.
There was a decent amount of scree and lose rock as we ascended challenger. There was a couloir that you could of climbed up with crampons that paralleled the trail from about 12,750 to 13,900ft. We traversed the very top of it early in the morning and the snow was very firm. The standard trail was totally dry until the avenue on Kit Carson. See picture 2. There was some snow but it is easy to walk around it. We brought microspikes but never used them. Picture 3 taken of the Crestones just before we descended the second part of the avenue. My favorite part of the trip was free climbing up a low class 5 section that my other buddy also named Ryan (Dchild10) mentioned jokingly "hey we should climb up that" and I said ok and we ended up doing it and had a blast. See picture 4. If anyone knows if that route has a name let me know. We got a little off route but as we topped out we could see other easier sections that eventually crossed the standard route just before the summit. The decent was long but straight forward.
I love the rock in the sangres.
Photos (click for slideshow):