| It Doesn't Get Much Better Than This
From West Willow Creek
15.25 miles, 6500' of gain
The weekend forecast did not look favorable. People were already posting about what to do this weekend during the monsoonal apocalypse. We decided to have a go at KC and Challenger Point anyway, and see if we could get it done.
At 4PM, as we were driving S from Poncha Springs, we drove through torrential rains. The windshield wipers could not keep up with the downpour, and we were forced to slow down to 30 MPH. At this point, we started to wonder if we had embarked on an ill-fated endeavor.
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I wanted to provide some route beta on Kit Carson's class 3 alternate approach to the summit. We first heard about this possibility from Bergsteigen and HarknessHouligans.
It's really easy to find the entrance. It's on Kit Carson Avenue just before the normal ascent gully (which is before the rock rib and before the true saddle with Columbia Point) The entrance is easily seen because there is a bunch of small rockfall at the base, and when you turn climbers left into the mountain, it's obviously class 3.
Start of class 3 from KC avenue, looking up:
Another look at the entrance area:
Almost immediately, you see a small prow ahead. We chose to go to the right, because left looked a little steeper and I am not sure where it ends up. It looks like it "goes" but it may be more class 4.
After the prow, there was a small "nipple", which we weaved to the left of.
It fluctuated between class 2 and class 3 climbing. Here's a look back.
This gives you an idea of the slope angle, at the steepest point. I don't think this is exaggerated.
A "crux move" of moderate 3rd class difficulty near some grass.
Looking up from that point, we were only about 20' below the trail, which we met up with, and walked to the summit.
We liked this route because it's solid, moderate combo of class 2/ class 3, a nice way to attain the KC summit, and it leads you very close to the summit. It was probably the most enjoyable climbing we did all day. On the way down, we took the standard route. We almost took a left and ended up on the wrong side of the rock rib (obvious social trail and cairns), but it was a fine route none-the-less.