| Lindsay NW Ridge/Iron Nipple/UN13828/UN13577/UN13660/Kalifornistan Peak - 6/3-4/06
TalusMonkey and SarahT departed Boulder at 1430 on Friday to try get a jump on Colorado Springs traffic. With only minor delays, we arrived at the Upper Huerfano TH at about 1930. Roozers42 (Jennifer) and husband Scott joined us at the TH at approximately 2015. Although they had inadvertently failed to pack their tent poles, Jennifer and Scott rigged a beautiful 'fly only' shelter using an overhead tree and stake out lines. I mean, this improvised shelter was a thing of beauty!
At 0620 on Saturday morning we headed up the trail toward Lindsay. At approximately 12,000 feet SarahT left us and headed south to summit UN 13,081. The crew prior to separation at 12,000, with Blanca and Ellingwood in background:
TalusMonkey, Jennifer and Scott continued to the Iron Nipple/Lindsay saddle and began our ascent of Lindsay's NW Ridge. The weather was clear, hot and virtually windless. The ridge was in very good shape and Jennifer practiced her class 3 skills. During our ascent, we took this photo of Blanca and Ellingwood to the west - with a photogenic marmot eager to be in the foreground.
TalusMonkey, Jennifer and Scott on Lindsay's ridge, with Blanca and Ellingwood behind:
After summiting Lindsay and resting for a few minutes, we began our descent of Lindsay. TalusMonkey made a high speed descent of the NW ridge to regroup with SarahT on a small knob below Iron Nipple. Sarah had successfully summited and descended UN 13,081 and beat us to the rendezvous point. While Jennifer and Scott descended via Lindsay's north couloirs route, SarahT and TalusMonkey made a quick run up to Iron Nipple.
Just as Jennifer and Scott rejoined us, we were all shaken up by a sudden, deafening, thunderous noise. From out of the west, a single military fighter jet (possibly an F16) flew BETWEEN Iron Nipple and Lindsay at approximately 13,500-13,700'. Right over the saddle, the jet banked completely sideways and then dove down into the valley between Lindsay and UN 13,828. The jet dropped all the way down to timber and disappeared toward the east. It was a very surprising and interesting experience for us all - with the jet engine noise reverberating through the peaks for some time. We wondered if the Air Force authorized this '14er fly by...' The jet engine noise was incredible and I feel certain that this would induce avalanches during the winter... Must have been Maverick and Goose...
After recovering from the fighter fly by only a few hundred feet away from us, we all headed up to UN 13,828 (sometimes called Ute peak or Huerfano peak). We made the summit and descended back to camp at the Upper Huerfano TH. After relaxing and socializing for a short while, Jennifer and Scott packed up and headed back to Boulder. We hope to hike again together soon!
SarahT and TalusMonkey turned in early to prepare for Sunday's task...
SarahT and TalusMonkey got on trail about 0530 Sunday morning and headed up the Lily Lake trail to Lily Lake. After a short break at Lily Lake, we climbed 1,300 feet up good talus to summit UN 13,577. Then we traversed the half-mile ridge (choosing a couple of class 3 options) to summit UN 13,660. SarahT and Talus on UN 13,660, with Blanca, Ellingwood and Little Bear Peak in background:
Returning to the 13,660/13,577 saddle, we traversed below 13,577 and then below UN 13,420 to reach the saddle between 13,420 and California Peak. We summited California at 1125. After a short break, we began our high speed descent. Traversing California's north ridge, we found a reasonable slope and descended 2,000 feet to timberline. After bushwacking another 1,000 feet along a small drainage, we popped out on the trail about a half mile south of the Upper Huerfano TH. We booked back to the truck, broke camp and headed back to Boulder.
A great weekend with fantastic weather and good hiking friends!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):