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 Peak(s):  Challenger Point  -  14,081 feet
 Post Date:  08/03/2006
 Date Climbed:   07/31/2006
 Posted By:  p_tolley

 Challenger Point - Northwest Slope   

We arrived at the Willow Creek TH at 8pm the night before we planned on climbing. I was able to drive my Buick Century the whole way, but if it had been wet it could have been interesting. We decided to just sleep in the car and were up and moving down the trail at 3:55am.

This trip can really be broken into two sections. The trip from the TH to Willow Lake and the trip from there to the summit.

The first part is all on a good trail and although it is a little over four miles it seems to go by quickly. One warning get used to switchbacks, there is a lot of them. We arrived at the lake and decided to take a break before tackling the second section. The following photo shows the lake, waterfall, and Kit Carson.
Image

After our break we left the lake and headed for the trail that goes to the top of the waterfall. We cut up before the trail Bill mentions in his route description and had to traverse across some talus, but it was easily done. After that we crossed the creek and approached the base of the Northwest Slope. I have to say that it is somewhat steeper than I had imagined. The following shows most of the Northwest Slope and Kit Carson.
Image

On the Northwest Slope the route finding can become somewhat confusing, but if you follow Bill‘s description you can make it to the top with very few problems. We reached the summit at 10:05am (but we had taken two twenty minute breaks along the way). After viewing the memorial plaque we started down and reached our car at 2:35pm. Overall it was a very enjoyable hike.

Here is one last photo of the approach to the Northwest Slope.
Image



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