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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-03-08||Route: Kirk Couloir
Info: The trail is now broken (thanks to us) and easy to follow to Willow Lake. There are nice kick-steps to follow up the couloir. From the winter closure the road is mixed dirt and light wet snow pack. Once at the main TH snow shoes are very helpful to 9,800. After that there is a .5 mile section of bare trail before you start the climb to Willow Lake. We used everything, microspikes, crampons, ice axe. The snow was nasty, wet, lose, slushy. If it does not snow this week I would guess most of the snow would be gone.
|2015-02-01||Route: North Couloir to Kirk Couloir
Info: Booted up the North Couloir/ a rock rib next to it. Then climbed the ridge to the summit and skied the Kirk. Ski conditions were all time. Sections were up to 18 inches deep! We camped below Willow Lake so we could get a super early start on the face. Great time with out with Gueza, Krullin_14ers, Julian Smith and Steve Bremner.
|2014-10-07||Route: North Slope
Info: Trail to falls clear and dry. Challenger NW face 70% snow/ice coverage. 2"-10" depth. Some mud at end of warm day. Some ice sections could have been easier with spikes. Kit Carson ave slightly more dangerous, as the first length is full snow/ice bound.
|2014-09-03||Route: North Slope
Info: Summer conditions
|2014-08-30||Route: North Slope
Info: Great condition. No bugs to speak of anywhere. No snow on route. A bit loose higher up, helmet recommended.
|2014-08-23||Route: North Slope
Info: There is snow up high, ranging from a dusting at 13,500 feet, to a couple inches close to the summit. The peak was shrouded in clouds the entire day (Saturday) and it was quite cold up there, so anyone headed to Challenger or Kit Carson on Sunday should definitely expect icy conditions up high.
|2014-07-26||Route: North Slope
Info: The flying insects are still there but manageable with insect repellent. The route from above the lake to the saddle below (before) Challenger Point is loose dirt and loose small rocks. I agree with the previous condition report, that this made the route treacherous. Many found going off trail into the surrounding larger and more interlocked rocks safer but much more time consuming. No snow was encountered on the route.
|2014-06-24||Route: North Slope
Info: This route was still quite snowy and we never made it to Kit Carson. Too much snow and ice without tools. As stated the earlier report, big time MOSQUITO alert. We arrived at the trailhead and were swarmed. We drove back down to the market just off the dirt road and were SO glad we did. Mosquitos off and on from the TH all the way to 13k feet. The lake wasn‘t too bad though. Approach hike was in good condition. Once past the lake, the main north face to Challenger was VERY steep and quite snow covered still. We took the far right line up through the boulder field to the ridge. Summit time 4.5 hours. Another group took the main "trail" (no trail) straight up to the left of the "rock rib", and it took them over 7 hours to summit. Apparently lots of loose rock and snow. The ridge line was in good condition but very dangerous. 2000‘ drop to the west. Go slow. From a distance, the Avenue was still completely snow covered with reports of the opposite even worse. We planned on summiting both, but after the intensely steep Challenger and snow on Kit, we changed plans.
|2014-06-17||Route: North Slope
Info: Climbed the North Slope yesterday from Willow Creek. Snow avoidable for most of the route but becomes unavoidable at points past 13k. No crampons needed on the way up but axe was helpful. We put on crampons for the descent but it may be doable without them. Definitely spicy though. PM for pics or more info.
|2014-05-15||Route: North Slope
Info: The trailhead was dry and in great condition. By the time I got just below the Willowlake headwall I was breaking through 3 feet of snow. I lost the trail before reaching the lake and with no snowshoes had to turn back. It looks like the area needs another three weeks of thaw before attempting the peak again.
|2014-02-23||Route: Kit Carson South Couloir
Info: Summitted Challenger and KC with Mickeys Grenade and robco. Trench up Spanish Creek (thanks to SarahT, IMan and Dominic). Note: there are two paths: the northern path requires dropping down a steep hill through the deadfall zone, the southern path follows the summer trail more closely and is recommended. Snow was stable in South Couloir and KC Avenue. Some sections of bulletproof snow to make things spicy. The scariest section is dropping down a 20‘ section of sugar and small rock steps above a death gully - not for the faint of heart. You need to be prepared to spend hours in a no-fall zone; no chance for self arrest. Trip Report to follow later this week.
|2013-08-31||Route: North Slope
Info: Words cannot describe how crappy Challenger‘s North Slope scree slog is to descend. Aside from those 2,000 feet, both Challenger and Kit Carson Peak are solid, fun climbs.
|2013-05-26||Route: Kirk Couloir
Info: Kirk Couloir still skiing great and should have coverage for a while. The summit gets quite a bit of sun relative to the chute, but I assume it‘ll ski from the summit for a bit. I know the road construction to the TH provides some challenges for the next few months.
|2013-02-02||Route: North Slope
Info: Trail was bootpacked to the stream crossing at 11,000 feet, which proved not to be the icy mess that I was worried it might be (photo 1). Fresh trench led from there to Willow Lake and then headed up toward Mount Adams‘s west ridge. I left the trench at this point and crossed the slopes above Willow Lake. These had so little snow that they were not the avalanche hazard that they might normally be (photo 2). I climbed the standard route, which consisted of fresh soft slab of varying thickness on older, supportive hard slab. In light of the day‘s events elsewhere and the resulting "Special Advisory Statement" from the CAIC, avalanche danger may have been higher than I thought. But it made for some pretty decent snow climbing by winter standards (photo 3). The ridge to the summit was clear enough that a person could stay mostly on rock (photo 4). Snowshoes, ice axe, and crampons all mandatory.
|2012-09-30||Route: North Slope
Info: The snow is slowly accumulating. On the slopes of Challenger Point, the melted snow is creating an icy base with new snow accumulating on top. The snow above 13,000 feet is deep enough to cover boots (a few inches) in some spots and begin to cover gaiters (over six inches) in other spots. The second photo shows the snow on the slopes of Challenger Point at 13,000+ feet. Snow is on the ground but is not an issue below 11,800 (although, the melted snow is making the trail a muddy, slippery mess).
|2012-09-30||Route: North Slope
Info: As of the 28th, snow on the western face is mostly melted off, though the northeast slope typically holds quite a bit more (picture 1). On the 29th, there was more snow. As of the 30th it looks thin but icy.
|2012-09-22||Route: North Slope
Info: Some lingering snow on northern aspects of Challenger and Kit Carson. No need for gaiters, though. Otherwise, summer conditions prevail. The descent down the gully on the way back is outright nasty. Bring trekking poles!
|2012-09-13||Route: North Slope
Info: There was snow yesterday, but 97% it melted off of west-facing slopes today. The forecast is more sun the next three days.
|2012-09-09||Route: North Slope
Info: The scree on the descent from 13,800 to 12,000 or so rivals going down Mt. Columbia, but I think this route is worse because it‘s steeper. The trail (if you can call it that) has a lot of erosion and is in need of some CFI love. Full story with pictures & video on Kit Carson / Challenger can be found below: http://awilbur77.blogspot.com/2012/09/oh-sheep-there-are-mice-in-my-jeep.html
|2012-07-01||Route: North Slope
Info: Snow free. Started at the TH at 5:45 am, reached the summit of Challenger at 10:30 am and Kit Carson at 11:15, back to the Lake at 2 pm and back to the TH at 4:15. I would highly recommend camping at the Lake the night before as it ended up being a long day. The Class 2+ climb from the Lake to the Challenger ridge is brutal, loose rock and very steep. Easily my least favorite 14er trail. Start early and wear a helmet imho.