NW Ridge

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 37.58380°N / 105.4443°W
Additional Information Route Type: Scramble
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Class 3 - 4
Sign the Climber's Log


Follow the Huerfano trail approach as described on the main page. The north face and NW Ridge routes are identical until gaining the Lindsey/Iron Nipple saddle. At this point both routes head south up the improbable looking northern slopes of Mt. Lindsey. The standard route follows a well defined trail that almost immediately starts traversing talus well below the ridge line on the east side. The NW ridge route, however, leaves the trail and stays right on, or only slighly below the ridge crest from the saddle all the way to the summit.

Route Description

To many, the NW ridge is a FAR superior alternative to the standard North Face route on Lindsey. What you are opting for on this route is exposure on solid rock over time spent in a loose, chossy, rotten, bowling alley of a gully. In my oppinion, the potential to fall from the ridge is far, FAR less than the potential to get clocked in the head by falling rocks on the standard route. That said, here's the beta:

From the saddle, gain the actual NW ridge crest whenever convenient. Some parties leave the trail for the ridgeline immediately, and some follow the trail for a few hundred yards before veering off to the right and up any of a number of 3rd class gullies to gain the ridge. Any of these alternatives are fine. I would personally recommend gaining the ridge as soon as possible.

The opening section of the ridge is a mellow 2+ romp across several rocky humps towards the obvious route crux: a 50+ foot, near vertical headwall. From below, it might be easy to mistake the headwall as impassable, or, at the very least, 5.10 ish. Be not afraid: there are many 4th class lines over this wall, and a 3rd class route is probably hiding in there as well. The features are huge, the lines are distinct, and the rock is concrete-solid. It looks FAR worse than it is. Continue with confidence.

Suprisingly, the most difficult section of the route, when done entirelly along the ridge crest, actually comes before the headwall all together. Two short, but sharp rock towers break up the ridgeline just before the base of the headwall. They're very tough to see coming from below, and once you're on top of them, you realize there's really no way to go but straight over the top of them. (to technically keep the route class 3, one would most likely have to decend below the ridgeline on the west about 100 yards prior to these towers and traverse around them.) If you go straight over them, you will encounter an airy 4th class downclimb into the notch between the last tower and the headwall. This little section almost feels like a mini version of the Capitol Peak Knife Edge in places.

Once past the towers, the headwall looms above you. There seems to be no real concensus at this point. Many parties will traverse east on the solid class 3 country on the wall's base, and pick up a gully system that angles from the lower left side of the wall back up to the ridgeline. This is PROBABLY the class 3 line. However, several other lines through the wall are possible. Our party took a straight-shot approach, keeping in a shallow gully-and-ledge system that kept on the western edge of the wall. A fall in this area would definately ruin your weekend, but the holds are all huge and the rock is as solid as you could ever ask for. The comments all around after topping out the wall were along the lines of "well, that wasn't so bad, now was it?"

Once past the headwall, the difficulties are over, save for a rather funny false summit that smacks you in the face just when you think you've finally conquered the ridge. Continue on to the summit, and be sure to share with the others you'll meet how solid and exciting your route was compared to the choss pile they've just suffered through.

Essential Gear

Standard mountain pack. A helmet is always a good idea on 3rd and 4th class routes, and this is no exception.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.



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