These mountains offer routes of various levels of difficulty. The most popular ascent is via Willow Creek Trail - Willow Lake (go around to the north - easier) - up the north gulley of Challenger - Summit of Challenger - Saddle between - follow the ramp around the peak and ascend from the south side.
This route begins on the Crestone side at 8,500 feet +/- and ascends steeply on well-groomed trails. (about 5,700 feet of vertical change from trail head to Challenger Point summit). I am not sure of the exact round trip mileage, but it can be done in a day, no camping, in about 14 hours + / -
The climb from the east base of Challenger is steep, but more or less a walk-up.
From Challenger to Kit Carson there is a ramp big enough to drive an 18-wheeler in the summer (without snow). Follow this ramp to a point which seems too far ? down and down, and then, before it ends, turn left (east) and head up to the summit. Some hand holds may be necessary.
As you enter the trees on the Willow trail, note the small memorial to Emil, a small stick cross on the left. Emil, apparently, made a wrong turn coming down from Kit Carson / Challenger and fell from the cliffs visible in the photo above. You can see the cliffs just to the left (south) of the gulley on the back of Challenger.
********************** From the Saguache County Board of County Commissioners: On Friday, April 20, 2007 it was agreed that the County, Forest Service, Park Service, NAT, spiritual centers and Manitou Institute will collaborate to post signage to discourage hikers from trespassing through private property to access Forest Service land East of the Baca.
Thus as of 4/20/2007, posted Forest Service trailheads make for the only legal access.
Even representatives of the CO Mountain Club are going to help get the trespass access points removed from climber websites they have connections with. **********************