Got stormed off last year when attempted solo from parking lot in August. This time, went with a friend, 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 of Challenger and Kit Carson. Hated all the ups and downs.
Meetup.com trip. We backpacked in from below Willow Creek Trailhead and camped at Willow Lake on Jul 23. The mosquitoes were voracious. We left camp the next morning a little after 5AM, climbed up the talus slope to Challenger Point, arrived there around 8AM. Our leader did not want to bring his dogs up Kit Carson, so he headed down to camp. We continued on to the saddle, then followed Kit Carson Avenue to the gully that took us to the top. We hung out for a little while (it was windy, and there was much cloud cover, so there wasn't much to see) then returned to camp the way we came. One of the hikers had trouble with leg cramps, so it took him a lot longer to get back to camp. We spent one more night at Willow Lake, then hiked back down and returned to Denver on July 25. This was my first time in the Sangres.
Hiked with my sons. Great weather. Found the gully up Challenger more than going across to Kit Carson.
Combined with Challenger Peak, this 14mi roundtrip climb is scenic but rocky with a section of undesirable scree. Beautiful Willow lake provided a nice stop before our 4hr ascent to the summits. I wonder if you can fly a seaplane into Willow lake to shorten the trip?
I'd say the avenue is more like a boulevard... fortunately we had no traffic on it. Summited KC with EricD 1 hour after leaving Challenger Pt. Found a fun class 3 way to avoid some of the scree/loose rock, but it was definitely mostly class 2.
Climbed the north ridge of Kit and then crossed the avenue to Challenger. The north ridge of Kit Carson is generally classified as Class 4. I would submit that the ridge itself is easy class 4 and the approach to the ridge is more difficult - not class 5 by any means but not for beginners. If you enjoy exposure, careful route finding, and solitude (most people use the standard route from Challenger) then the north ridge of Kit is for you.
7/29/07- climbed to kit's airy summit as part of a 3-peak summer day.
1/7/06- incredible winter day with mike! spanish creek drainage to the 2000' class 4+ wall just west of the prow, and finishing from kit carson avenue to the summit! somehow we didn't think to nab challenger point along the way....
With Jon, Malia, Kay, over Challenger Pt. Some steep snow on avenue, but there were good prints in it. The snow softened later in the day and became sketchier.
Approximate date of climb. Climbed from Crestone TH with overnight at 12k feet.
Climbed with Jamie, stared in Spanish Creek and climbed up to the saddle between Kit and Challenger via a class 3/4 or even low 5 near the top headwall to the KC Ave. Should have gone the extra 301' to climb Challenger but we were do distracted by our efforts (and wind!) so far that we just wanted to get Kit.
Climbed Challenger and Kit Carson from Willow Lake - both are great mountains, but I've got my eye on KC's North Ridge...
Day hike to climb Kit Carson and Challenger from Crestone TH.
08/12/2011: North Ridge solo. Traversed to Columbia.
09/07/2013: Climbed the Prow route with Ryan from Spanish Creek. After reaching the summit of the Prow, did direct finish from the Avenue to the summit of KC.
Climbed Challenger then took the Kit Carson Highway to the Class 3 route to the summit. This was #55 of #58 Colorado 14ers. Nice weather. Long day from the Willow Creek Trailhead. 14 plus miles with 6000+ vertical.
Via the Bear's Playground route from S Colony Lake, got a little weather on the return.
Fun climb with Sarah Simon.
Did this with Kiefer a few years ago. Views from here were amazing.
Climbed with the SummitPost Gathering gang. Nice day except for the lightning storm near the TH.
Enjoyed this outing with Cheryl on a lovely summer day. Thought the route was lovely - if a little loose and scrappy at times. What's not to like about a day in the Sangres?
Summited twice I believe. Great mountain guarded by cliffs on all sides with good, knobby rock. Great scenery and pristine. One of my favs.