Climbed via the Willow Lake Approach from Crestone. A wonderful introduction to both the Sangre de Cristos and the Rocky Mountains. The long, steep scramble up Challenger Point's North slopes was exhausting but the view was well worth it. The traverse over to Kit Carson was equally exciting and the solitude quite unexpected.
First 14er and first glissade coming down standard route of Challenger Point. Started out from Willow Lake at 4:30AM on a picture perfect day. Not too much snow left on the Avenue to KC according to my friends who went over while I relaxed on Challenger. The view of the Valley really makes you feel up there. Cannot wait to get back to Colorado to do my next 14er!
Got in hail/rain/snow, but still had a great time. Willow lake is a beautiful place, great for backpacking.
Poor snow in the morning but got better as the day progressed.
Was with 5 others in my group and ran into Tim Mahon and Christy on the climb! A sweet day!
Started from the car at about 3:30am and did the whole trip in a single day. I would say one of the longest I have ever done. I almost wish I had planned to camp at the lake after I saw that waterfall. Absolutely amazing! I also think I may have exited the avenue a little early on Kit Carson, but it worked out. I made it back to the trailhead around 5:00pm.
8/29/04 - Climbed Kit Carson Mountain and Challenger Point in a day via the standard route from Willow Lake. Epic 19 hours with a sloooow partner.
1/17/10 - Winter climb of Kit Carson Mountain. Spanish Creek approach, climb of south face. Beautiful area!!!
1/8/11 - Winter ascent of Challenger Point. Backpacked to Willow Lake and climbed north face. Standard route was buried under steep, avy prone snow slopes so we climbed a more difficult but much safer line up a rib further east. Descended the northwest ridge (which we had largely explored the previous day after packing in). Challenger is quite the challenge in winter, seemed tougher than Kit Carson.
12/8/12 - Up Challenger's SW Ridge, traverse to Kit Carson, down Kit Carson's South Couloir. Awesome loop!!!
2/2/13 - Up Kit Carson's South Couloir and South Face to top of Kit Carson, traverse Kit Carson Avenue to Challenger, traverse back across Avenue and descend Kit Carson's South Couloir. Peaks were caked in amazing hoar frost. Incredible day in the hills.
1st 14er back in CO 5 days from New Orleans,#16.Beautiful approach...Loved the meadow. Willow Lake is worth the hike in. I actually camped at the lake. Morning of summit was cloudy and very misty. At the notch on the ridge the wind was blowing about 70mph. It was basically pouring rain on the ridge. Great hike up steep scree and soaking wet & cold, but wouldnt have been anywhere else!
2nd attempt, good weather this day. A beautiful area. Animals everywhere. Std route. Couloirs are all ice...no glissades here! Might have to go back and try the N ridge someday.
Couldnt find a partner for north ridge, so settled for standard route. Love Willow Lake.
All accounts of this route were proven true, it's amazing. I must admit that the high exposure (plus some rockfall early on) made me a little anxious, but the ridge is pretty darn solid, and all in all it was really fun. Traversed across the "avenue" and descended via the Northwest Ridge/Northwest Slopes of Challenger Point. What a great area!
Climbed with Sarp and Paul, starting from trailhead at 9.30 am. Reached Challenger Point at 16.30 and turned around due to exhaustion...Paul and Sarp went on to climb Kit Carson...Paul returned at 1.10 am after getting lost in the dark around Willow Lake.
Descended Kit-Kat (Columbia Pt. Coulior East into upper Willow Basin. What is this East facing coulior called? CMC? (I loaned out my Dawson book...This steepish descent would have been better with crampons, or skis.
A great weekend. Spent a full weekend at Willow Lake with no rain!! North Ridge is one of my favorite routes thus far.
Went up challenger point in a fast run up from willow lake. The avenue look sketchy without an axe so I went back down doing the 1800' glissade in the snow gully. Sweet....
I made it up to the lake and beyond a bit (about 12,000') but decided to back off as I was solo and there's lots of snow up there right now. Snow was wasit deep in places around the lake. I climbed a smaller peak with southern exposure instead.
This was my second climb of both Kit Carson and Challenger. We approached from Willow Creek trailhead
This was my first climb of Challenger. I approached from Willow Creek Trailhead. I did not get Kit Carson this trip but I did hike down to the saddle to reconnoiter the route for next time.
This was my first climb of Kit Carson. I approached from South Colony Lakes and got point 13799 and Kat Carson 13890 (now called Columbia). I did not get Challenger on this trip.
Third attempt on this mountain - finally made it. Weather looked threatening but held off until we were way off the mountain. What a great route on a great mountain - we climbed up the west couloir which was very solid and enjoyable climbing. Didn't get to enjoy the summit very long as the clouds were circling around us!
did this with challenger and humbolt from s. colony lakes. amazing rock and amazing views.