Mt. Lindsey High Basin Overnight
On Labor Day weekend I made an overnight backpacking trip to Mt. Lindsey. I was thoroughly pleased with the area, and this wonderful peak just might rank in my top five favorites of fourteeners to visit. I had initially planned to do a simple mile or two into the lower valley and camp near the Huerfano River. But even though I had arrived at the trailhead at 4 p.m. and after a long day at work, I had a sustained burst of energy and I kept hoofing it upward. In my mind I was only concerned about finding a level spot to camp, and a reasonable proximity to a stream. After the trail to the mountain left the valley bottom, I could still hear streams in the distance. I reasoned also that as the trail climbed higher, there would be nice campsites in the hanging valleys above.
After circling the first talus field, the trail did just this. On a fairly steep grade, I wound into a small ravine and I could hear the rush of water drawing near. Once in sight of this stream, the trail began to approach a hanging valley immediately above a second large talus field. At this spot the stream appeared as an underground river that just popped right out from underneath the talus field. I was just below treeline, the weather was warm, and it was an hour before dark. I crossed my fingers and moved on.
The trail quickly wound above the right side of the talus field and came out above treeline. I entered a hilly glacial area in the highest basin, immediately below the final approach to Lindsey's northwest ridge. At the point where the trail turned to cross the basin to the northwest ridge there were ample sheltered hollows throughout the moraines, filled with dense, soft tundra. I simply rolled out my sleeping bag with no tent.
I was camped so high that I had to backtrack 1/2 mile to where the stream came out below the talus in order to get water. My backpacker's trick of bringing a plastic gallon jug paid off, because I just grabbed a gallon of water and simply took the whole thing back to camp. I returned to make dinner at my campsite right in the final minutes of twilight, after which a full moon rose to light the sky.
Thanks goes to the owner of the Mt. Lindsey page for his warning to stay away from the couloir route. There is no need to get onto the loose and dangerous material in the couloir itself, but this route traps people, I think, because it is a "visually obvious" path. I have posted a separate route description for route alternatives on the mountain's page.
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