| Lovely Lindsey
Lindsey is one of the more scenic of all the 14ers. Though a long ride (over 22 miles) in from CO69, it is a beautifully forested area, full of aspen and healthy pine. The road to beautiful Singing River Ranch is excellent and it does not surpass rough 2WD beyond to the TH. Though 4WD vehicles would be better, 2WD vehicles with at least 8 inches of ground clearance can make it, with care, in summer conditions.
This may be the one of the easiest hiking starts among the 14ers. The first mile or so to the Huerfano River crossing is basically flat terrain. Enjoy the serene beauty of this area. I am already thinking of returning for what should be great fall color.
The river crossing was passable without wet feet by either rock hopping at the river bend about 100 feet to the left of the trail, or by a series of logs and rocks via the small island. We added a few large rocks to complete the chain. Continue along the river on the opposing bank and follow the trail as it starts to veer away from the river. At about 10,800' you will see a boulder field above on the left. Pay attention to the trail here, as there are a number of rabbit trails that can lead you off course. Beyond this you will ascend ~700' climbers trail along a cascading stream (your last water source). This reminded me of the west slopes approach to Missouri. At 12,000' there is a great scenic overlook of Blanca/Ellingwood that could serve as a nice high camp. after transiting the wide basin in front of you, another 1,000' of steady elevation gain will put you on the ridge to Lindsey. I'll focus my narrative on the last 1,000' of elevation gain via, mostly, the standard route.
From the saddle at just over 13K, the final approach appears daunting--and would be especially so for a novice. I would not recommend this hike for a first ascent. With a bit of Class 3 work behind you, it is entirely doable and safe.
Follow the trail from the saddle up to the readily apparent gully on the north face. The center of this is a nasty, scree filled mess. Immediately to the right of this gully, however, one will find mostly solid rock for a straightforward ascent through the notch at the top of the gully. From the notch, the standard trail proceeds straight ahead across another scree filled gully, then up an intermittent steep trail on poor underfoot conditions. To the right, however, is a very good Class 3 scramble ascent to the summit ridge. That was an easy choice for us. This does not exceed Class 3 at any point. Be prepared for a false summit (as seen from the basin and the saddle). From the false summit there is another 1/4 mile and 100' of elevation gain to go to the sizable actual summit of Lindsey. Views are breathtaking in all directions and afford exceptional views of Little Bear, Blanca and Ellingwood.
We chose the standard descent route over a Class 3 down climb. On descent we found enough good rock to mitigate risk in the top section, then by staying left of the main gully on descent to the upper saddle.
My GPS measured a pedestrian 1.9 miles per hour moving average over a total of 9 miles roundtrip. Most folks of average or better hiking speed should be able to do this in 7 hours or so TH to TH. Be sure to bring a rock helmet and a camera on this one.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):