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Challenger Point  
Report
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Route  Conditions Information  Posted By   Posted On    Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2014-06-24  North Slope  This route was still quite snowy and we never made it to Kit Carson. Too much snow and ice without tools. As stated the earlier report, big time MOSQUITO alert. We arrived at the trailhead and were swarmed. We drove back down to the market just off the dirt road and were SO glad we did. Mosquitos off and on from the TH all the way to 13k feet. The lake wasn‘t too bad though. Approach hike was in good condition. Once past the lake, the main north face to Challenger was VERY steep and quite snow covered still. We took the far right line up through the boulder field to the ridge. Summit time 4.5 hours. Another group took the main "trail" (no trail) straight up to the left of the "rock rib", and it took them over 7 hours to summit. Apparently lots of loose rock and snow. The ridge line was in good condition but very dangerous. 2000‘ drop to the west. Go slow. From a distance, the Avenue was still completely snow covered with reports of the opposite even worse. We planned on summiting both, but after the intensely steep Challenger and snow on Kit, we changed plans. jhmcknight   2014-06-28  0     Edit Delete 
2014-06-17  North Slope  Climbed the North Slope yesterday from Willow Creek. Snow avoidable for most of the route but becomes unavoidable at points past 13k. No crampons needed on the way up but axe was helpful. We put on crampons for the descent but it may be doable without them. Definitely spicy though. PM for pics or more info. LivingOnTheEdge   2014-06-18  0  1  Edit Delete 
2014-05-15  North Slope  The trailhead was dry and in great condition. By the time I got just below the Willowlake headwall I was breaking through 3 feet of snow. I lost the trail before reaching the lake and with no snowshoes had to turn back. It looks like the area needs another three weeks of thaw before attempting the peak again. scomay   2014-05-17  0     Edit Delete 
2014-02-23  Kit Carson South Couloir  Summitted Challenger and KC with Mickeys Grenade and robco. Trench up Spanish Creek (thanks to SarahT, IMan and Dominic). Note: there are two paths: the northern path requires dropping down a steep hill through the deadfall zone, the southern path follows the summer trail more closely and is recommended. Snow was stable in South Couloir and KC Avenue. Some sections of bulletproof snow to make things spicy. The scariest section is dropping down a 20‘ section of sugar and small rock steps above a death gully - not for the faint of heart. You need to be prepared to spend hours in a no-fall zone; no chance for self arrest. Trip Report to follow later this week. Yikes   2014-02-25  0  2 2    
2013-08-31  North Slope  Words cannot describe how crappy Challenger‘s North Slope scree slog is to descend. Aside from those 2,000 feet, both Challenger and Kit Carson Peak are solid, fun climbs. falcon568   2013-09-03  0     Edit Delete 
2013-05-26  Kirk Couloir  Kirk Couloir still skiing great and should have coverage for a while. The summit gets quite a bit of sun relative to the chute, but I assume it‘ll ski from the summit for a bit. I know the road construction to the TH provides some challenges for the next few months. bloomy   2013-05-30  0     Edit Delete 
2013-02-02  North Slope  Trail was bootpacked to the stream crossing at 11,000 feet, which proved not to be the icy mess that I was worried it might be (photo 1). Fresh trench led from there to Willow Lake and then headed up toward Mount Adams‘s west ridge. I left the trench at this point and crossed the slopes above Willow Lake. These had so little snow that they were not the avalanche hazard that they might normally be (photo 2). I climbed the standard route, which consisted of fresh soft slab of varying thickness on older, supportive hard slab. In light of the day‘s events elsewhere and the resulting "Special Advisory Statement" from the CAIC, avalanche danger may have been higher than I thought. But it made for some pretty decent snow climbing by winter standards (photo 3). The ridge to the summit was clear enough that a person could stay mostly on rock (photo 4). Snowshoes, ice axe, and crampons all mandatory. RWSchaffer   2013-02-03 4     Edit Delete 
2012-09-30  North Slope  The snow is slowly accumulating. On the slopes of Challenger Point, the melted snow is creating an icy base with new snow accumulating on top. The snow above 13,000 feet is deep enough to cover boots (a few inches) in some spots and begin to cover gaiters (over six inches) in other spots. The second photo shows the snow on the slopes of Challenger Point at 13,000+ feet. Snow is on the ground but is not an issue below 11,800 (although, the melted snow is making the trail a muddy, slippery mess). EM_in_CO   2012-10-01 2     Edit Delete 
2012-09-30  North Slope  As of the 28th, snow on the western face is mostly melted off, though the northeast slope typically holds quite a bit more (picture 1). On the 29th, there was more snow. As of the 30th it looks thin but icy. jdorje   2012-09-28 1     Edit Delete 
2012-09-22  North Slope  Some lingering snow on northern aspects of Challenger and Kit Carson. No need for gaiters, though. Otherwise, summer conditions prevail. The descent down the gully on the way back is outright nasty. Bring trekking poles! esagas   2012-09-23  0     Edit Delete 
2012-09-13  North Slope  There was snow yesterday, but 97% it melted off of west-facing slopes today. The forecast is more sun the next three days. jdorje   2012-09-13 1     Edit Delete 
2012-09-09  North Slope  The scree on the descent from 13,800 to 12,000 or so rivals going down Mt. Columbia, but I think this route is worse because it‘s steeper. The trail (if you can call it that) has a lot of erosion and is in need of some CFI love. Full story with pictures & video on Kit Carson / Challenger can be found below: http://awilbur77.blogspot.com/2012/09/oh-sheep-there-are-mice-in-my-jeep.html awilbur77   2012-09-10  0  1    Edit Delete 
2012-07-01  North Slope  Snow free. Started at the TH at 5:45 am, reached the summit of Challenger at 10:30 am and Kit Carson at 11:15, back to the Lake at 2 pm and back to the TH at 4:15. I would highly recommend camping at the Lake the night before as it ended up being a long day. The Class 2+ climb from the Lake to the Challenger ridge is brutal, loose rock and very steep. Easily my least favorite 14er trail. Start early and wear a helmet imho. WarDamnPanic   2012-07-01  0     Edit Delete 
2012-06-26  North Slope  The snow that the previous update mentioned is now more like 2/3 up the mountain and is easily avoided. It does get pretty slick on the way down. I guess Roach‘s 2+ rating is accurate given his definition of 2+ but I found the top half to be slower than class 3 both up and down. So much loose rock. mikefromcraig   2012-06-26  0     Edit Delete 
2012-06-08  North Slope  There was no snow up to the lake. About a mile after the lake and halfway up the north ridge to Challenger, there was some good sized snow fields. With some careful route finding the snow may be avoided. However, the snow is melting fast and creates a very wet scene if coming back down after 12 or so. The snow was soft at 10am. I estimate snow to be on this side of the ridge for a few more weeks. On the ridge it was clear but a bit windy. The top of the peak was clear of snow and the weather was crystal clear. rkhaun   2012-06-09  0     Edit Delete 
2012-06-04  North Slope  100% snow free. Great glissades down the small couloir to the north of the Kirk Upper basin nearly dry and the uppermost willow lake is about 50% thawed. Early storms today prevented us from doing Kit....the north side of the avenue still had snow though so be prepared for that. EDITED WITH PHOTOS ADDED!!!! First photo shows Adams Second photo shows Kirk coul Third one shows North side of Crestones Matt Lemke   2012-06-04 3  4    Edit Delete 
2012-05-26  North Slope  Only a couple of snow patches beofre Willow Lake all of which were avoidable. I turned around here because I couldn‘t even stand in the wind, guessing 70-80 mph gusts- I can tell you I‘ve never seen wind like this day. I wasn‘t carrying anything special (crampons, axe) and Challenger looked doable but I wasn‘t about to endure the wind for that long. The attached photo was taken from the creek above Willow Lake. Stevo   2012-05-29 1     Edit Delete 
2012-05-19  North Slope  Trail is more or less dry to Willow lake. The snow in the up the north slope was nearly continuous to the ridge, with a few dry spots. Was able to glissade most of the way down. The Avenue to Kit Carson was completely covered in snow, and snow in the second section was already very soft before noon. We turned back as it was unsafe to cross at the time. Picture 1: Going up the north slope Picture 2: Crossing the first portion of The Avenue Picture 3: The second section of The Avenue, our turn around point climbingbiz   2012-05-20 3  2    Edit Delete 
2012-03-31    Climbed and skied Kirk Couloir today. Snow extended from the basin below the couloir, through the couloir and to about 100‘ below the Kit Carson-Challenger saddle. Snow in the couloir was very firm and mostly consolidated. Hard snow and it would be hard to stop a fall. General Willow Lake Conditions: The trail is dry from the TH to the headwall where you‘ll find patches of snow beyond the first stream crossing and then more continous snow above the headwall and all the way to Willow Lake. The snow was hollowed out and very collapsable. After the lake, the trail up to Challenger is mostly dry past the top of the waterfall. Patchy snow after that, but not continous all the way to Kirk Couloir. BillMiddlebrook   2012-04-01 4  1  Edit Delete 
2011-10-16  North Slope  Decent amount of snow above Willow Pass to the lake, although it is all boot-packed. From the waterfall above Willow Lake the snow can get mid-calve. On Challenger it was post-holing almost the entire way up. An axe helps in spots, but in others provides almost no purchase. Made it up to about 13,850 before having to turn around due to snow and ice. Cool Hand Luke   2011-10-16  0  2    Edit Delete 

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