One cool route
On the final day of my 13 day 2012 trip to Colorado I reached the summits of Challenger and Kit Carson all by myself from Willow Lake (I had hiked up to the lake the previous afternoon). These were peaks #15 and #16 on this trip. Had some breathtaking views all around this very special place.
For what it's worth, my GPS read 16.5 miles RT for this dayhike, a worthy outing considering the more than 6,000 feet vertical gain! Good and tired at the end of the day. I thought the upper Willow Lake Basin to be one of the most beautiful in all of Colorado. Loved it.
Great overnight trip. Willow lake was beautiful. The summit ridge of challenger was a bit more exposed than my previous summits but was a great experience.
Having never gone up the standard route before, we took the North Ridge up and wondered how the hell to get down. We wound up descending a 5th class face to reach challenger.
Took a newbie on this very long hike. We did Challenger and Kit Carson in one day from the Willow Lake trailhead. It took 14 hours round trip. The weather was perfect but we ended up finishing in the dark under head lamps. Loose talus and scree above the lake. Luckily we got below that before the sun set. Great epic.
Early start from above Willow Lake, beautiful weather and morning. Awesome day.
Approached from Upper South Colony Lake. Sick climb!
We set out early and were turned back by intense lightning and hail at 10 AM. The climb up to Willow Lake was magnificent and it was a great trip despite the storm.
The pair from Willow Crk. Harder day than I expected, but got it done. Chased off the mountain by bad weather after quickly getting KC.
Altitude sickness got the best of one in our party, so I turned around with her while the other two continued. Beautiful area, bummer that we didn't summit.
Challenger and Kit Carson
Backpacked into Willow Lake Friday night and climbed up the slopes to Challenger.
Big day hike for Challenger and Kit Carson.
The first day above Willow Lake I tried for one of the couloirs northeast of Carson's summit. A cornice near the terminal ridge halted me just dozens of feet from the top. I camped in the valley that night and was up a little after sunrise to do the standard Challenger-Kit route, and just in time to evade some storms.
ended in sun
Late June 2010 - Ascended the north ridge (unbelievably awesome route - much better than I expected), traversed to Challenger, then descended the Kirk Couloir.
Fun knob climbing!