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Challenger Point  
Report
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Route  Conditions Information  Posted By   Posted On    Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
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 
2011-09-28  North Slope  Trail is dry and no snow to the summit. Colors are almost at peak. Great climb. mrschaible   2011-09-29  0     Edit Delete 
2011-09-25  North Slope  The route from Willow Lake is mostly clear. There are a few spots here and there with snow, the ridge is all clear, and the trail over to Kit Carson haas a few avoidable spots also. I like it on top   2011-09-25 1     Edit Delete 
2011-09-21  North Slope  Snow on Thursday-Saturday has mostly melted by now. There might be minimal snow at the top but it should be climbable without any snow gear. jdorje   2011-09-21  0     Edit Delete 
2011-07-19  North Slope  This is not a peak condition report. I just wanted to report that I had an encounter with a black bear and her cub at the 4wd TH around 3:30am. Be on alert for the next couple of days. I decided to play it safe and head home, ending my trip early. iquack08   2011-07-19  0     Edit Delete 
2011-06-10  North Slopes/Pencil Couloir  I‘m having computer issues and couldn‘t edit the conditions report I just posted to add photos. Hopefully this one will work. Road to the trailhead is in quite good condition. I made it all the way to 1/10 of a mile from the main trailhead in my low-clearance Chevy Cobalt (note, however, that it is a UAW-made monster . . . basically a 4-cylinder John Wayne). Approach to Willow Lake is in great shape and very little snow in the entire Willow Lake Basin, so leave your snowshoes at home. I attempted the Pencil Couloir on Challenger (Images 1 and 2). Even with an early start from above Willow Lake, snow conditions deteriorated quickly. The snow was good at first, but by 7:45 a.m., when I was just more than halfway up the couloir, it turned into 4 inches of slush on top of a base layer of ice--couldn‘t get a grip with my crampons or ice axe. I instead climbed onto the rock just east (left) of the couloir (Image 3) and scrambled to the top of the notch (not bad, Class 3 or 3+ tops). The standard route along the west (right) side of the couloir still had a lot of snow; I think the east side might be better for the time being. From the notch to the summit (Image 4) is smooth sailing. Kit Carson is still not viable from Challenger. Will try to post a separate conditions report on Carson. Exiled Michigander   2011-06-11 4  1      
2011-06-10  North Slope/Pencil Couloir  Hopefully a trip report will follow if I find time tomorrow or Monday. For now, here‘s an update on conditions for Challenger Point from Willow Lake. Road to the trailhead is in quite good condition. I made it all the way to 1/10 of a mile from the main trailhead in my low-clearance Chevy Cobalt (note, however, that it is a UAW-made monster . . . basically a 4-cylinder John Wayne). Approach to Willow Lake is in great shape and very little snow in the entire Willow Lake Basin, so leave your snowshoes at home. I attempted the Pencil Couloir on Challenger (Images 1 and 2). Even with an early start from above Willow Lake, snow conditions deteriorated quickly. The snow was good at first, but by 7:45 a.m., when I was just more than halfway up the couloir, it turned into 4 inches of slush on top of a base layer of ice--couldn‘t get a grip with my crampons or ice axe. I instead climbed onto the rock just east (left) of the couloir (Image 3) and scrambled to the top of the notch (not bad, Class 3 or 3+ tops). The standard route along the west (right) side of the couloir still had a lot of snow; I think the east side might be better for the time being. From the notch to the summit (Image 4) is smooth sailing. Kit Carson is still not viable from Challenger. Will try to post a separate conditions report on Carson. Exiled Michigander   2011-06-11  0  2      
2011-06-01  North Slope  Climbed the very easy Challenger Point North Slope, conditions were great! There was absolutly no snow and I wore a sweet Kansas Jayhawks T-shirt and cut off jeans. Also, I saw some bears.....we got drunk together. It was a great time QueerArmorGuy99   2012-05-01  0     Edit Delete 
2011-04-17  North Slope  Very little snow somewhat below Willow Lake. Snowshoes were handy at times. Above Willow Lake winter conditions still exist, with icy hard pack patches here and there complemented with loose rotten snow as well. scholbiwan   2011-04-18  0     Edit Delete 
2011-04-16    Just some shots of snow conditions in Kirk Couloir... BillMiddlebrook   2011-04-18 4     Edit Delete 
2011-04-16  North Slope  No snow on the trail up to the headwall (10,800‘) where it becomes patch up to the top of the headwall and snow-covered to the lake. From the lake, the climb to the top of the water (ice) falls is mostly clear of snow and dry across the flats, above the lake. The north slope is partially snow-covered and crampons are recommended on the steeper terrain. BillMiddlebrook   2011-04-18 4     Edit Delete 
2011-04-09  Willow Creek approach  Traction is not needed before the crossing of Willow Creek. The creek is flowing at the crossing, so water can be obtained there. I did not put on snowshoes until I got to the upper part of the headwall past the creek. The snow is hard there and traction is highly recommended. I kept the snowshoes on up to the lake as floatation was handy. I‘m not sure how many people have been up there, but there were quite a few postholes. The trail to the top of the falls past Willow Lake was a mix of ice and bare rock. I did not use snowshoes or traction on this portion. I also didn‘t need to use traction of any sort until I got to the gully below Kirk Couloir. At this point, I had decided not to climb it and wanted to get some beta on Outward Bound, so I proceeded across the gully with crampons as the snow was hard. That‘s as far as I went due to the winds. Holy crap -- the winds! The ferocity was astounding. As I approached the top of the falls on my way down, I was physically not able to walk against it and laughed as I braced myself with my trekking poles. Had I been on hard snow or ice, I probably would have been blown backward on my feet! Walk across the lake at your peril. There was a single set of footprints (and dog pawprints) in the ice that were made when it was slushy. I walked across on my way in and out, but a hole had appeared at the end of the lake where the creek begins by the time I was heading down and water was flowing. tmathews   2011-04-11  0  1    
2011-01-08  North Slope  Still not a lot of snow on west facing aspects in the Sangres, but that will probably change soon. We were able to get by without snowshoes all the way to the top of the headwall at about 11K‘. Trailbreaking beyond that wasn‘t bad, but deep enough to warrant rotating. Challenger is indeed a challenge in winter regardless of snow depth. It took us two tries! Summitted via a steep, snowy rib just east of the standard route. We protected about 80M of it. Kevin Baker   2011-01-09  0     Edit Delete 
2010-12-07  North Slope  Here‘s a look at Kit Carson and Challenger‘s north slope from Spread Eagle Peak. Taken with 400mm zoom lens. BillMiddlebrook   2010-12-08 1  3  Edit Delete 

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