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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-07-16||Route: From Challenger Point
Info: The climb from Challenger to Kit Carson was uneventful. No need for winter traction whatsoever. A nice remnant of winter is that there is a snow patch immediately below the exit from the Avenue, so on your descent, just make sure you turn on to the Avenue a few feet above the snow patch. It's a great visual marker while it lasts. Mosquitoes from the TH to above Willow Lake remain mortally epic. I only got a few bites by first covering the skin of my arms, legs, chest, and face with repellent, and then spraying my clothes. I wore a long-sleeved shirt over my t-shirt, long climbing pants, a hat with a "Sahara" neck flap, and mountain-biking gloves. For the pre-dawn hike in, I'd recommend a thin rain shell, too, as I got some bites on my shoulders, despite the clothing and repellent. On the descent, I forgot to put on the gloves and got several bites on my hands. These bugs are merciless. As for the trail, the descent from Challenger was one of the least enjoyable of my career. The gully is steep, filled with loose scree and unstable rocks. There are almost no switchbacks. A few hours before my descent, I climber told me of a rock slide in the gully earlier in the day that narrowly missed other climbers. There were lots fresh white "chalk" marks all along the gully that I image were created by the falling rocks. The descent seemed far less stable than the ascent, with many large rocks highly unstable and football-sized rocks highly unstable. I talked with a trail worker for a group affiliated with the 14ers Initiative. They're currently building an alternative trail up Challenger that will feature lots of switchbacks. If you're selecting peaks for your season, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND WAITING A FEW YEARS FOR THEM TO COMPLETE THIS NEW TRAIL. She said they would likely finish in two years or so. Of course, if you're trying to finish the list soon, just be prepared for a time-consuming and dispiriting descent. But some good news! In tiny Crestone, the Crestone Brewing Company has opened. Great burgers and beer for the evening before your climb.
|2016-07-12||Route: From Challenger Point
Info: Yesterday, July 12th, we summit Challenger Point and Kit Carson Peak. DANGER DANGER DANGER! Mosquitos are really bad, unless the wind blows, on the Willow Lake approach and at the lake. It really ruins what is a great trail and beautiful place. Kit Carson avenue had some snow which is all avoidable. No tracton needed. I think we make have only taken a couple of steps on the snow. But the snow was solid as ice. The rest of the route is dry. Finding the avenue, on the way down, was tricky because the easiest gully is furthest away and easy to down climb to far. We paid the price and had to add an extra 100 ft of class thee climbing to the day.
|2016-07-10||Route: From Challenger Point
Info: Avenue entrance snow easily crossed. No axe, or spikes needed, but use them if you're more comfortable. Two other snow areas avoidable. Mosquitos from the TH to Willow lake are at an epic level...WORST I've ever seen!!! Recommend heavy duty repellant...not that it did much to help. on second thought, bring body armor.
|2016-07-07||Route: From Challenger Point
Info: Start of the Avenue from Challenger has snow (photo 1), some crossing low, I crossed high against the wall (photo 2). Clear to the Prow. Two patches of snow lower on the Avenue (photos 3 and 4) where the foot prints are right by the edge and the snow is soft with ice bottom. One more patch at the turn to go up Kit's summit gulley which can be postholed against the rock face. RECOMMEND taking spikes and an axe, and 20' of cord to pull them back if you want to share one kit for your group. It's getting a lot of sun so might melt out, but could also be slushy and slick.
|2016-07-06||Route: From Challenger Point
Info: Avenue is mostly clear. You have to cross one small mostly level, seemingly stable snowfield to access the avenue (picture 1). Past the Prow there are two small snowfields you have to cross. At around 11am I was post-holing. Other hikers said it was firm earlier in the day. They seem really rotten, are about 10ft across, and have high exposure. From the trail head to Willow lake the mosquitoes are difficult to do justice. Bring DEET and move fast.
|2016-07-03||Route: From Challenger Point
Info: Hiked from the willow trailhead on 7/3, starting at 3:45 a.m. Made it to the lake and headed up Challenger in about two hours. The trail was wet but clear, bugs weren't quite out yet. Got off trail on Challenger due to massive amounts of random herd paths and some snow that obscured the trail. Ended up doing a longish traverse across the summit ridge, which was more annoying than anything else - conditions were fine, nothing harder than class 2. Avoidance of all snow is possible. The trail from Challenger to Kit Carson was 99 percent clear save for two spots of lingering, rotten snow on the Avenues. It was a bit unnerving to kick step into such rotten snow but made it across safely in trail runners, no need for even microspikes. The final ascent up Kit was clear and easy. Made it to the summit at 10 a.m. Descended and went back across Challenger's summit, then down the messy and unclear herd paths back to the lake/waterfall. Bugs were out in FULL force - absolutely brutal, vicious swarms of them. They all but ignored the industrial strength bug spray we doused ourselves with. Back to the car by 3:40 p.m. - 12 hours total time, including short stops on each summit.
|2016-06-27||Route: From Challenger Point
Info: Made it up Challenger Point yesterday (be warned: the trail gets really muddy and slippery after Willow Lake), but not to the summit of Kit Carson. The Avenue still had snow and ice on it (see picture). If the snow were softer and more packy in this spot I could have made it, but it was frozen solid around 10 a.m. yesterday morning and the drop-off is 800-1,000 feet. Side notes about this hike: * The Rocky Mountain Field Institute is working on building a new trail from Willow Lake to the summit of Challenger Point because the current one is steep and falling apart. I'll come back in a couple years once the new trail is built. * The mosquitos below treeline were terrible. Bring lots of bug spray!
|2016-05-25||Route: From Challenger Point
Info: Folks inevitably start asking about Kit Carson avenue around this time of year. Here's a photo from Wednesday, 5/25.
|2016-05-22||Route: Spanish Creek - Cole's Couloir
Info: Get permission from the Crestone Mountain Zen Center before hiking this route. Trail dry through blow-down area up to 11,200'. After that snowshoes required. With a good freeze you may get by without. A couple signs of small wet slides on the South Slopes. Cole's Couloir looked to be in good shape.
|2016-05-14||Route: Outward Bound Couloir
Info: Summit ski is in for a bit longer.
|2016-01-22||Route: From Challenger Point
Info: The standard route is out of condition. Read my report on Challenger for details.
|2015-10-17||Route: From Challenger Point
Info: Climbed Kit Carson on a warm October Saturday. Started at Willow Creek trailhead at 4:00 am. Summited Kit Carson by 11:30 am. Made it back to the car by 5:00 pm. Route tip: You can save some time and energy on the descent by avoiding summited Challenger again. From the Challenger- Kit Carson saddle, traverse across the east face of Challenger. From afar the east slope looks like it might be horrible scree fest. In reality, the rocks are pretty large and don‘t budge when you rock hop across them. This short cut saves you ~400 ft elevation gain and maybe 20 min.
|2015-10-11||Route: From Challenger Point
Info: Climbed both Challenger Point and Kit Carson Peak this Sunday. Weather was excellent, warmer than usual for October but still a bit windy higher up. There is quite a bit of snow on the upper reaches of Challenger point. The most difficult part of the climb was ascending up Challenger point with snow and some ice making this mostly I would say class 3 climbing and not class 2+. Yak Traks or ice spikes may help here, there are a couple of sections on both the uphill and downhill that are downright nasty. Getting up Challenger Point really is a complete s--t show and be ready for loose rock with snow and ice thrown in. KC avenue is free of snow and ice, I wore a helmet from the start of the steeper stuff on CP to mostly the top of KC peak just to be sure but many people climb without helmets and the rock looks fairly solid above most of KC but is more loose on CP. All in all a great climb and thankfully met up and climbed with Army Ranger Will after my buddy gassed out midway up CP. There is exposure on this route and really most of the difficulty was with CP and the snow and ice. Missed connection on the way up to Willow Lake on Saturday, cute blonde who climbed CP that day was in party of three. Spoke with you briefly (was with my buddy) and wanted to get your number to see if you want to climb/hike other 14‘ers, hit me back if interested.
|2015-10-03||Route: East Ridge
Info: Climbing Kit Carson Peak was my 53rd Summit this summer. My goal was to climb them all, AND I DID! You can read more about this hike and others at sunshineof1985.com. I was also recently on Channel 9 News and you can watch my story at http://www.9news.com/story/news/local/features/2015/10/08/woman-climbs-55-fourteeners-to-help-overcome-eating-disorder/73628028/ Kit Carson Route: East Ridge Challenger Route: Challenger to Kit Carson in reverse Distance from Trailhead to Camp: 3.4 mi. Distance from Camp to Both Summits and Back to Camp: Roughly 8.2 miles (GPS died for a short time) Elevation Gain from Camp: 4,300 ft. (I think this is wrong because I‘m not sure if they add the loss and gain) Time started: 8:25am End time: 6:30pm Time to Summit Kit Carson: 4 hours and 5 minutes Time to Descent (Back to Camp) from Challenger: 4 hours GEAR (to bring): Bear spray, GPS, extra socks, phone, SPOT Satellite Tracker, Map, Topo Map from 14ers.com, hiking boots with 2 pairs of socks on, long-sleeve, wind-guard/raincoat, light weight puffy coat, warm hat, lightweight gloves, day pack with water sack (100 oz or more), snacks. Road Condition: With a little guts, my sedan was able to make it all the way to the upper trailhead- barely. It‘s very bumpy and plenty of opportunities to bottom out unless you know what you‘re doing and have plenty of experience. Trail Condition: Walk up the road from the upper trailhead 2.65 miles until you see the sign wooden sign on the right for the Humboldt standard route. I camped at 3.4 miles in and that‘s the start of many more campsites to come. There are a couple wet areas, but nothing to sweat. Walk past the South Colony Lake, and when you reach the Upper Colony Lake look for a trail leading to the right and up the mountain side. You‘ll come to a saddle and turn LEFT. Climb over the BACKSIDE of Point 13,290. It‘s easier and will block you from the wind. Once at Bear‘s Playground, look for the cairns as they will lead you beautifully across the meadow (you‘ll never have to actually summit Obstruction Peak). There is a path that will come and go up Kitty Kat Carson, but just climb to the top of that one and you‘ll barely notice climbing along the ledges of Columbia that you even climbed another named peak because it‘s such a short distance. The pictures from 14ers.com make the next section look very intimidating, but the ridge to Kit Carson isn‘t bad and with care, you can safely make it down the gully without too much trouble (mostly solid rock). As confusing as it sounds in the directions, once you‘re there, it‘s fairly straightforward. I only took the directions out once to check out how they recommended climbing up the last stretch of Kit Carson (lots of loose rock). ONCE YOU‘RE READY TO MOVE ONTO CHALLENGER: Backtrack down the same way you came up Kit Carson only head to the right instead of the left (to go back the way you came). You‘ll see a purplish, brownish, fairly wide trail to follow around Kit Carson. In a short time you will see Challenger and it‘s straightforward from there to reach the summit of Challenger Point.
|2015-09-29||Route: From Challenger Point
Info: The route is completely devoid of snow, same as Challenger. I would suggest going up the first gully from the avenue (shown with a dashed line on the route description). This gully has super solid class III rock instead of the lose class II + crap you see in the second gully. It is also much easier to spot the Avenue when you are descending.
|2015-09-19||Route: South Colony Lakes
Info: Kit Carson/Challenger and 13ers Columbia Point/Obstruction Peak from South Colony Lakes today. Route finding was straight forward. Long with lots of class 3. A little snow in couloirs between Kit Carson and Columbia Pt, near O.B. Couloir. Definitely snow free on the standard route and route we took from SCL. Some fall colors.
|2015-09-13||Route: From Challenger Point
Info: Be very careful in ascending KC - it can be very easy to lose the trail to get back to Challenger by overshooting the avenue and dropping too low. See full details here: http://www.14ers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=48075
|2015-09-13||Route: Outward Bound Couloir
Info: There is still quite a bit of snow in the couloir. DO NOT try to descend down this route. Please see entire details here: http://www.14ers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=48075
|2015-09-06||Route: North Ridge
Info: On Saturday evening and overnight there was intermittent rain. However the early morning was windy and dry. Thinking this would dry off the ridge we decided to go for the North Ridge still. I think this would have held true, but the low, wet cloud hovering on the North Ridge caused the moss/grass, rock and our boots to have a constant thin layer of moisture on them. Climbing up that ridge with slippery rock was not fun at all. Very scary. In these conditions, I found this route to be much more difficult and scary than the Bells Traverse last weekend (in good conditions).
|2015-08-08||Route: From Challenger Point
Info: The avenue is clear. No traction is needed.