Quite a long but rewarding climb of these two! We backpacked in late and started early the next day. I would recommend doing an alpine start dayhike for these as it is pretty steep to Willow Lake with a heavy pack. Some of the best scenery I have seen in CO at Willow Lake. The gully to Challenger's n.w. ridge is looser than I thought it would be and is not fun coming down!
The fog was so heavy, the visibility was maybe 100 feet.
Hard to believe but a very relaxing climb / hike compared to the Needle the day before. Quite a few people on Kit, majority from the Challenger point side of the mtn. Great views the whole way to the summit , very slick and wet majority of the way. Same problem here as with Needle, rock cairns everywhere, hard to follow the right ones when you have 2 or 4 to choose from at one time, but we dble. checked our route quite a bit the whole way the the summit. Didn't have enough time or good weather to make it over to Challenger, but I will definately be back to this area.
Although I did not summit Kit Carson, I did reach the summit of Challenger. Had I had another 3 hours I would have summited Kit Carson. It took me 6 hours to climb Challenger from just below Willow lake.
The lower parts of the ridge were pretty wet from a thunderstorm the previous day which made things a little treacherous, but the upper parts were fantastic! Solid rock, lots of good holds, and an excellent position! Highly recommended route! Traversed over to Columbia Point, got lost in the clouds and summitted Kit Carson again, and then got my bearings right and returned to Willow Lake over Challenger Point.
Heavy Fog on the way up. Reached summit at 0930. Was slick on the way down. Nice Hike.
This was a long haul from South Colony lakes. Didn't do Challenger.
Great day to bag two in one day. Had to assist a fallen climber, all OK.
Climbed with brother (ahansen54, see below). Late start but snow was good in the couloir. It was easy to sidestep the small cornice at the top. Summitted Kit Carson and headed over to Challenger Pt. via Kit Carson Avenue. Still a few patches of snow on the avenue. Storms held off as we hiked the west ridge back down to Willow Lake. I enjoyed the ascent much more than surfing down all the scree on the main route. Pretty area, but a little crowded due to the fact it was the 4th of July weekend.
28th and 29th 14ers!
Climbed with jhansen007 via the Outward Bound Couloir (tops out at the saddle between Kat Carson and Kit Carson) and then continued up the last portion of the standard route. Descended via the West Ridge and hit Challenger Point on the way out. Great weather despite getting a late start.
Hiked in to Colony Lakes in the morning and continued on to Kit Carson. I didn't know it was going to be such a long route, but it was so fun. I decided to climb Humboldt on the way back to complete the day.
Interesting solo trip. Two summits at once and the closest that I've ever come to getting dead from a dumbass mistake. Nevertheless, an awesome hike and beautiful scenery. This is why I go to the mountains. My trip report will follow.
As I grew up in nearby Saguache, this is one of my favorite peaks to climb. I have summited three or four times, but I try not to keep count. The Kirk Couloir route is a classic--preferably climbed at sunrise wth a pair of skis on the pack.
Finally had the chance to ride up the nasty Colony Lakes road w/ my BMS group from the CMC. This was to be our "High Peak Climb" for graduating Basic Mountaineering School. We camped at the upper lake, and rather than heading to the Humboldt saddle we scambled up one of the loose couloirs leading directly to the Bears Playground. When we arrived there, it was totally fogged in (only 20 foot visablity). Well, that was a good chance to practice our map and compass skills. I was elected to take the lead and successfully put us right at the base of the eastern sub peak (then unnamed, but so was the western summit; hopefully there will be no need for future summits to be named after disasters in space exploration). After scrambling up tundra and solid rock to the 13,980 summits of the subpeak, we descended south on solid rock to traverse over a small ridge and then climb back up a few feet to the saddle. The climb to the true summit was back in the fog and the view was non-existent. the descent was uneventful and everyone was tired but satisfied.
Hiked up Spanish Creek and camped in the beautiful valley between Kit Carson and the Crestones. Solo free climbed the prow. Solid rock all the way up and great views from every direction.
I ascended the north ridge with ATTM and descended via Challenger Point with Alan Ellis. A great time with great company! It's always a pleasure to spend time with fellow SPers.
Woo Hoo!!! 1,000' of class 3+ scrambling. Thanks to my sweetie, Alan, who forged ahead and provided great beta. Thanks to Ellen for checking in on the radio to see if I had been clobbered by the all the falling rocks. And special thanks to Aaron for climbing down and meeting me 50' below the ridge and giving me much needed incentive to finish (hey...no way was I down climbing that route). This one was for you Grandpa.
Did a great class 3+ route up the north face of Challenger, then on to the foggy summit of Kit Carson. The weather looked iffy, but I'm glad I finished it. Many thanks to Andy for waiting for me on the summit and for Aaron and Ellen for giving me beta on the radio. Congrats to Jackie for doing the north face and summiting Challenger, and to Barry and Andy for doing the north ridge. What a great trip!
Kit Carson avenue was loaded with snow and made for a freakish route. We were able to kick steps and use our ice axes to get across the first section of the avenue with all the exposure loaming below. I accidently exited the avenue too soon and this resulted in at least a 4th class climb to the summit. We then decended the North Ridge route and made it back to camp just after dark.