14ers.com
Mt. Lindsey - Northwest Ridge
Climbing mountains is dangerous! Please read the Mountaineering Safety Page and make sure you have a map+compass and can use them effectively. A GPS or cell phone can be very helpful with navigation but you should still be able to use a map+compass in case your device stops working.
(Spring/Summer/Fall) A while back there was a large landslide on the road to the Huerfano/Lily Lake trailhead, so the road is closed and has a parking lot 7 miles below the actual trailhead. Until a new road is built around the landslide, the additional 14 miles round-trip is unavoidable.
Difficulty: Class 3 
Exposure:More serious exposure that could result in serious injury or death if you fell. Moving past the area will require some scrambling or short technical moves.
Trailhead:Huerfano/Lily Lake
Start:10,700 feet
Summit:14,042 feet
Total Gain:3,500 feet
RT Length:8.25 miles
USGS Quad.:Blanca Peak
County Sheriff:Huerfano: 719-738-1600
 Costilla: 719-672-3302
National Forest:San Isabel
Author:BillMiddlebrook
Last Updated:11/2014

Trailhead

- Drive to the town of Gardner, northwest of Walsenburg on Colorado 69.
- From Gardner, head west for about 1/2 mile on CO 69 and turn west on the road to Mosca Pass. There should be brown Forest Service signs on CO 69 indicating the turn.
- Just after the start of this road, a Forest Service sign states "Upper Huerfano - 21.5" and "Lily Lake Trhd - 22.5".
- After 7.0 miles the road turns to dirt.
- Continue 4.8 miles to a junction and stay left on Forest Road 580.
- Drive 3.4 miles and enter private property where a "Forest Access" sign reads "Upper Huerfano - 5.3 mi."
- 2016 NOTE: DUE TO A LANDSLIDE HIGHER ON THE ROAD, VEHICLES MUST PARK IN THIS AREA, NEAR A "LOCAL TRAFFIC ONLY" SIGN. A PLAN IS IN THE WORKS TO RE-OPEN THE ROAD BUT HAS YET TO BE IMPLEMENTED. THIS ADDS 7 MILES OF WALKING (EACH WAY) TO REACH THE ACTUAL TRAILHEAD. TAKE A BIKE!
- Continue 0.5 mile and stay left at the entrance to the Singing River ranch. The road becomes rough, narrow, but still 2WD.
- Continue 0.9 mile and pass the entrance to the Aspen River ranch. The road becomes more difficult.
- Drive 3.4 miles to enter the San Isabel National Forest.
- Drive 0.8 mile and pass a small sign for the Huerfano and Zapata trails.
- Drive 1 more mile to the end of the road at the Lily Lake TH.

Route

First, follow Mt. Lindsey Route #1 to the 13,150-foot saddle between Iron Nipple and Mt. Lindsey. From the saddle, the northwest ridge is in full view and may look intimidating to some. More than 1/2 way up the ridge a crux wall makes this route more difficult than the standard, north face route - Photo #1 and Photo #2. Finding a Class 3 line around the crux is possible but many climbers simply take a direct, Class 4 line up the brief pitch.

Hike southeast along the ridge on a small trail and near 13,200', where the trail turns east toward the north face, stay right and continue up the northwest ridge - Photo #3. As you climb higher, the terrain becomes more rugged and requires some Class 3 scrambling, especially on the ridge crest - Photo #4. As you scramble toward the crux wall (Photo #5), it's clear that the route is becoming more serious. Scramble across a steep area below the ridge crest, down to a notch and up to the base of the crux wall. Photo #6 and Photo #7 were taken in this area and show some of the rugged terrain features.

Photo #8 is a head-on view of the crux wall, showing several options. One way to keep the difficulty at (exposed) Class 3 is to bypass the wall on the left side. If you choose this option, regain the ridge right after the crux wall to avoid loose terrain. If you're comfortable with brief Class 4 climbing, the best option may be just left of the large, vertical crack in the center of the wall - Photo #9. Carefully pick your line and regain the ridge on easier terrain - Photo #10.

Above the crux, continue up the ridge - Photo #11 and Photo #12. As you ascend, the standard route is directly below, so be careful not to tumble rocks off the ridge - Photo #13. Continue to the 14,000-foot false summit on the northwest end of the summit ridge - Photo #14. Hike southeast for nearly 0.2 to reach the summit - Photo #15. Taken from back at the 13,150-foot saddle, Photo #16 is another look at the ridge.

Notes

The route is much more stable than the standard, gully route.

Topo map  Not Displayed, click here to change your settings


Route Photos  Print Options

Photo #1 Photo #2 Photo #3 Photo #4 Photo #5 Photo #6 Photo #7 Photo #8 Photo #9 Photo #10 Photo #11 Photo #12 Photo #13 Photo #14 Photo #15 Photo #16

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. 14ers.com and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 14ers.com and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the 14ers.com Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.
© 2016 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.