FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Postby Ackbar » Sat Jun 30, 2007 9:39 pm

Can anyone give me an average timetable for KC/Challenger, from the Willow Creek TH? I know "average" can mean alot of things but, give it your best shot.
"with gravity times velocity times speed, by the time it hits you, it hurts pretty bad"
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Postby jeffro » Sat Jun 30, 2007 10:11 pm

About 6 years ago, my wife and I did Challenger only from the Willow Creek TH in 11 hours round trip. We opted out of going on to KC because KC Avenue still had snow on it in late June (according to a report from two climbers who had just been up there) and we hadn't brought axes or crampons.

At the time, we were 40 years old and enjoying a pretty good fitness level, as we're both former bicycle racers. I considered us to be reasonably fast hikers and moderately experienced alpinists.

Hope this helps.

By the way, I think KC is a reclusive challenge. Underrated technically from the east and while overrated technically from the west, a real physical challenge if done as a day trip. With that in mind, Willow Lake is a beautiful place and offers some very nice campsites.

Climb what you love and love what you climb!!
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Daniel Trugman
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Postby Daniel Trugman » Sun Jul 01, 2007 10:27 am

The time length of this route is often underestimated as well. I think 11 hours is a little on the slow side, but its how long it took me. If your fast, it could be about 8 hours, and up to about 13 if the conditions are tough.
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GW Duncan
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Postby GW Duncan » Sun Jul 01, 2007 10:53 am

I would count on 11-12 hours as indicated above from the TH at 8,900 ft. I break it down thusly:

3 hrs- TH to Willow Lake (this part seems longer than than what the mileage suggested)
2.5 hrs - Willow Lake to Challenger
1 hr - Over to KC
.75 hr - Back to Challenger
2 hr - Down to Willow Lake
2.5 hr - Down to TH

11.75 Total

I don't come down much faster than I go up on rocky terrain and really not a heck of a lot faster even on normal trail unless I am trying to beat the weather or have a compelling reason to speed it up. At 50 and often hiking solo I don't need to sprain or bust anything - so adjust accordingly.

In my opinion going up Challenger 's loose slopes were worse than going up KC. KC is suppossed to be a Class III but almost nobody thinks it really is by the standard route.

As you have probably heard before - watch out for KC Avenue on your way back down - very easy to miss for some reason. I knew that going in and still missed it and had to hike back up 200 yards.
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Postby CAYCE » Sun Jul 01, 2007 2:18 pm

A great rte on Kit Carson is the North Ridge. Its not nearly as tediuos as Challenger and probably alittle quicker for me anyway.
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Postby Ackbar » Mon Jul 02, 2007 8:38 pm

I was asked to bump this thread so...BUMP...

Great feedback. Where can I find info on the north ridge rte, Cayce? Any trip reports?

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