Amazing traverse from South Colony Lakes. This peak has one of the best views of the sand dunes and Crestones in one shot.
Kicked my butt
Standard route. Icy with snow on path up last 300 feet of the notch area. Bring snowspikes for September climbs. Strange day. Summit was clear skies, with very light cirrus-ish clouds. Within 30 minutes, not a patch of blue sky was visible. Dark clouds were everywhere and graupel was falling very heavily. We were just out of the rocky scramble part of the upper route (descending) when a huge bolt of lightning struck immediately above us. We ran the rest of the route to the lake. Fastest weather and temp drop I think I have ever seen.
With my daughter and companion from Willow Lake: we got off route at one point and wound up in the 600' snow gully that leads to the notch. There we climbed next to the strewn belongings of a climber who recently perished after tumbling into the gully on descent. Be careful on this route. It is steep and loose.
Great night camped out at Willow Lake with plans to climb Kit Carson and Challenger but KK had snow covering the entire ledges leaving for some serious exposure and I had no rope so I left after getting the Challenger summit. I will be back for KK!
Left Willow Creek TH at 1:00am. At Willow Lake at 4:30. Quick nap, started walking again by 5:00am. After the lake is where the vertical takes off. It took me a long, long time to get to the summit of Challenger. Stripes of snow filled the fairly steep gullies and I hopped between scrambling on the rocks and side-stepping up the snow. Summit at 9:15...Back down to TH around 4:30pm.. Long day for this 56 year old fighting a respiratory tract infection at the time.
#1 6-18-17 W/ Yadahzoe. Used the Pencil Couloir (thank goodness it was in) to avoid the awful "northwest ridges" portion of the approach. I don't think the snow in the couloirs will be much good if the high temps continue. Big horn sheep and mountain goats by the dozens in the Willow Lake area. My 36th 14er.
Hiked Columbia Point, Kit Carson, and Challenger from South Colony Lakes.
Climbed 14,081 ft. Challenger Point and 14,165 ft. Kit Carson Peak on an overnight solo climbing trip. Hiked up the Willow Creek trail and camped just below Willow Lake on Saturday. On Sunday morning I awoke around 5:30 AM. I hiked around Willow Lake in the dark and then I climbed up the North Slope of Challenger Point. About half way up Challenger the clouds rolled in and socked me in, for the entire remainder of the climb I could not see more than 50 feet in front of me. Regardless I was motivated and made the summit of 14,081 ft. Challenger Point at 9:00 AM. From Challenger I climbed down to the a saddle between Challenger and Kit Carson Peak and took a class 3 route along Kit Carson "Avenue". The Avenue is a unique feature to Kit Carson and allows for a somewhat moderate but exposed traverse to a gully that you have to climb to make the summit. (Kit Carson has sheer cliffs on most other routes) I made the summit of 14,165 ft. Kit Carson Peak at 10:15 AM and had to backtrack back to the summit of Challenger Point, and then all the way down the tedious rocky/scree covered slope down to my camp at Willow Lake. I made it back to camp around 1:30 PM, packed up and headed back to the trail head, arriving back at my car around 4:00 PM. A total of 14.5 miles round trip with 6,250 ft. of elevation gain. 37 Fourteeners down!
Four hikers left the trailhead in the morning and I was probably the only one to summit. One guy a bit older than me was doing it barefoot and said he was going to do Challenger but when I ran into the two much faster younger guys coming down from the summit ridge they said they didn't get to the very top of the summit due to fog, but they hadn't seen barefoot guy either. I figured it might have been because barefoot guy was cutting the switchbacks but on the way down two other hikers said barefoot guy told them he had climbed Adams instead. Five hours and fifty four minutes from the trailhead to the summit, four hours and six minutes on the descent. It was windy on top; twenty to thirty mph sustained with occasional gusts of fifty mph and higher (enough to fling even my bulk against the mountain a few times). My plan was to do both mountains but I ran out of time; I had a flight to catch in Denver at midnight and Carson would have taken too long to do. Spectacular scenery at the lakes and above the lake.
Left campsite at Willow Lake at 3:20 a.m. Made it up Challenger slopes in the dark with headlamps. Brilliant sunrise-due to wildfire smoke from other states. First ones on top. Made it over to Kit Carson and then back to Challenger on the return. Big crowd on Challenger and on the slopes on the return trip.
Hiked with my sons. Great weather. Found the gully up Challenger more than going across to Kit Carson.
A warmup to the more prominent (class 3) ascent up Kit Carson. Challenger Point offers a good ridgeline trek at 14,000' altitude and say 7/8 of our total climb (7hrs from trailhead without counting stop at Willow lake). It helps to move w/ sense of urgency through the scree field!
Climbed with EricD. Summited 3 hrs from campsite @ Willow Lake (gorgeous!). 1 hr to Kit Carson. About 2 hrs to descend from KC summit. Consider saving this one for fall when you're thinking of getting back into shape for snowboarding-great quad workout on the descent. Descent was challenging because we were trying not to send rocks down to hikers below.
Climbed the north ridge of Kit and then crossed the avenue to Challenger. Descending Challenger is no fun as it is very loose and steep.
Climbed up to the right of the standard North Slope route and hit some Class 3/4 terrain, but the rock was fantastic. Got Kit Carson as well on a perfect day.
Had tried a few weeks earlier via Bear's Playground/S Colony Lakes but ran out of time due to weather. Dragged a friend and hubby along for this semi-repeat & found a great campsite at Willow Lake.
Did Kit Carson as well, with Sarah Simon.
Kit Carson over Challenger Point in one day was a very long trip. Challenger Point slope is slippery and steep and very long but Kit Carson's class 3 was a blast. Loved the mountains. Solo
Challenger (7/8/'12): Solo (too little sleep for F). Left TH @ 4.26. When finally got to ridgeline, top of mountain enveloped in fog/cloud. As fog/cloud made me quite uneasy, wanted to summit & get out of there. Followed ridge until finally got to summit @ 8.30. Left @ 8.35. On way down saw guys above who tried to catch up/pass me, but couldn't (admitted it when caught up as I was resting @ waterfall). Guys from 14ers.com. Ha ha. Ran into Faith during the descent, as she wanted to see waterfall. Back to TH/car @ 12.37. Exhausting but great day!
Kit Carson, The Prow (.8, .6R) – 7.12.’12
With Faith. Hiked in & camped night before. Thunderstorm night before made me worry, as did the difficulty on the crux pitch. All worked out in the end, though. Skies started out bluebird, & building clouds definitely worried me as climb, & time, progressed.
After crux pitch snafu (F couldn’t pull crux w/ rope pulling her to the side (where the next piece of pro’ was), I couldn’t hear or understand anything that was going on over waterfall noise & past rock bulges, …), though, made good time. Actually passed the 2 guys that started ahead of us (& seemed to take off after crux pitch- didn’t see them again until pitch above Kit Carson Ave.) @ summit. At that point, hearing thunder around us.
On descent, noticed hikers we’d seen who’d seemed to be confused on the S gully halfway up the side of the wall forming the Prow!!! Obviously not in a comfortable place, guy (& girl) had to practice moves down to get to ramp leading to descent shelf multiple times before committing- if rain would have started, they would have been fucked. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see one (or both) fall off… They finally made it down, though- LUCKY.
Packed up camp @ base & took off. Back @ car shortly before 21.00. EPIC day!!!! Glad to do it with Faith.