Mt. Lindsey - Standard Route
Elevation Gain: 3,500ft:
Hike Time: 7hrs @ Trip (-30min for Camp take down).
My best friend and I decided it was time for a road trip back to the Sangre de Cristo's. This time our target was Mt. Lindsey. So we read the reports and decided, sure we will strap on the sandals to keep our boots dry when crossing the river, good idea.
We left from Castle Rock Sunday afternoon and after an A&W Root Beer float and a Pizza Hut Pizza to go in Walsenburg; we were ready for the drive to Gardner. We reached the Lily Lake TH and geared up for our overnight camp. We only saw one couple in the parking lot, so it looked like we would have Lindsey all to ourselves.
One thing my friend Jim found out right away was; "OK, you wanted Pizza, so you have to transport it into camp." Hmmm, I guess I didn't think about that, I only had one zip-lock bag, so with my backpack ready to go, I looked like the Pizza delivery guy heading down Lily Lake trail with a pizza box in my hands. I was hoping I didn't run into any other 14ers.com folks on the way in…..
Lilly Lake Trial: Blanca in the Clouds
We hit the Huerfano River crossing and I almost got the pizza wet when stepping into a small hole in the middle of the river, but the large pizza box was still dry. Close call…. My feet were also about to freeze! Man that water was cold. All Jim could do was laugh at me as I ascended the bank. He was going to take a picture, but I threatened him with bodily harm if he did.
Our camp site was perfect, I highly recommend the open space right after the river crossing. We setup quickly and tried luck at fly fishing, but weren't successful. It rained a bit that evening, and we retired early. Sleep was hard to find, it was a chilly night.
We decided on a 6am start, it still came too early as always. Made fast progress up the valley and through the forest past the mine (11,700ish). We would take a visit on the way back.
After tree line the basin opens up. It is a beautiful site. Huerfanito Peak is right in front with its jagged peaks.
Huerfanito Peak early morning:
Also Iron Nipple and Lindsey are now visible and my excitement started building as Lindsey came into view.
Lindsey in view on the right.
Heading up to the ridge before the Iron Nipple/Lindsey saddle was fairly quick. What a view of Blanca and Ellingwood…..Those were fun climbs as well….
Blanca and Ellingwood in background:
Lindsey on the decent:
Continuing the quest, we reached the saddle and got our first good look at the gulley. First not much snow, second….."That is a Class 2 gully!" We stayed in the solid rock on the right side of the gully. It was no problem at all, definitely Class 2. Toping out of the gully I made the first mistake of the trip, not counting the Pizza incident. Although Pizza for breakfast does hit the spot. We headed straight up the face of Lindsey, (to the Right), and quickly enter Class 3 climbing. I wasn't thinking too much of it, the rock was solid and with a little summit fever, I was in the zone. Jim made me snap out of it by asking if this was the trail. But, looking down, I didn't want to backtrack and since we were so close to the false summit I lead us onward. I believe we for sure hit a few class 4 moves, but finally the steepness gave way and we were at the false summit.
Hikers on false summit:
From there it is just a short hop over to the proper Lindsey Summit. What a great day so far. We both seemed to even thrive through the unexpected off route climbing. Hung out at the top with a few fellow climbers….Dave and two guys who were guides at a boys ranch in New Mexico. One of them brought an entire Sarah Lee Pound Cake with the icing bucket on the side. Mr. Texas Longhorn shared it with us all. Hook'em Horns…..It was a party at 14K feet. Thanks guys……Enjoyed the views and then headed for the low country.
Down Climbing towards gulley:
We finally got to enjoy a quick trip inside the Mine……it isn't that deep, but as always enter at your own risk when exploring Mines….
Getting back into the forest we made it to camp and had it broken down within 30mins. Switched from hiking shoes to our sandals and hit the stream on a run this time…..without the pizza box…..Yep…it was still cold. Got to the parking lot at 1:30PM right as the rain hit us.
Notes: Helmets were a good idea in the gully, especially on the down climb. It is easy to kick rock. Going up we didn't knock much rock off due to staying to the right side where the rock is solid. Good idea on the way down to stay on the solid rock and out of the scree in the middle.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):