Boy did my boots hate me. Up Kit Carson, and down challenger. A painful 16 miles. With Adam
Started from the campsite at Willow Lake around 9:00 am. Made the mistake of misreading the trail rating from 14er.com. I only noticed the class 1 rating for the Willow Lake approach (rookie mistake), so I assumed it was a walk up and went without a helmet and spent hardly any time studying the route. Took me an additional 1.5 - 2 hours than expected for both Challenger Point (summited at noon), and Kit Carson topped at 1:00 pm. Made it back to camp around 3:45 pm. Fortunately, the skies were clear the whole way.
Went over it after the north ridge on Kit Carson. Was not a fun down climb on the standard route
Quick jaunt over from the top of the Prow ~ 20 min side trip on the way up Kit Carson.
Not enough time or energy to try for Kit Carson.
Climbed with a slick layer of snow on the way to Kit Carson
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. #2 and #3 08-13-2020 as we climbed Kit Carson for the 1st time. Rocky Mountain Forest Initiative is doing trail work between upper Willow Lake and the notch en route to Challenger. Still, between about 12,400' and the notch the scree is barely tolerable. With my climbing partner, Yadahzoemtn. Kit Carson became 14er #56.
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!