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 Peak(s):  Mt. Lindsey  -  14,042 feet
"Huerfano Pk"  -  13,828 feet
Iron Nipple  -  13,500 feet
California Pk  -  13,849 feet
 Post Date:  07/02/2007
 Date Climbed:   06/30/2007
 Posted By:  Chicago Transplant

 Sange Bender   

Saturday June 30, 2007

Mt Lindsey 14,042'
"Northwest Lindsey" 14,020'
"Huerfano Peak" 13,828
Iron Nipple 13,500

NW Ridge (Lindsey)/South Slopes (Huerfano)

9 1/2 Miles RT
appx 4,450' vertical
via Lily Lake Trailhead

After the long drive in on Friday night I just slept in the back of the truck at the trailhead. Left the trailhead at about 6am and quickly was enjoying the view of Blanca in the morning light from the meadow:

Image

The trail then tucked back into the trees and along the Huerfano River where several cross streams flooded over the trail. The trickiest crossing would be the Huerfano itself, just after the split to Lily Lake. There are some logs that work just to the right of the trail, but they don't quite go all the way across and I had to jump the last part. After this the trail steepened and became quite a work out. After about an hour of climbing it started to relent and I took a nice break near treeline at 12,000' with great views of the surrounding area

Image

The trail descended slightly into a large basin where the view of the remaining route started to emerge. There were a few small patches of snow, but overall the route has melted out. The trail steepened a bit more as it reaches the Iron Nipple-Lindsey saddle, but there is a good climbers trail to follow of loose dirt. This is a view from the descent with better light:

Image

It was time for another short break before heading up the ridge. The lower part is really straight forward and class 2. The route started to steepen and 1 or 2 class 3 moves dotted the solid talus climb. Soon I was nearing the crux, where I stayed as close to the ridge crest as possible. This was fun, and there was a nice exposed knife edge to cross before getting to the base of the head wall.

Image

I took a line up a slot in the rocks to the right side of the headwall, there was a 4th class move to enter it, and anoter at the top to exit, but the middle had enough broken blocks to keep the climbing 3rd class. I was able to downclimb all but the top and bottom moves facing out. View of the headwall, sorry for the glare it was early:

Image

The rest of the route is really just class 2 talus, and soon I was cresting over the summit of "Northwest Lindsey" with the view of the true summit in sight:

Image

The summit had great views in every direction, and seeing as it was only 8.30, I had the whole thing to myself. To my surprise the register had 2 names from that morning that said they summited at 7am, not sure where they were when I was ascending. I was at the saddle with Iron Nipple at 7.30, so I am not sure how we crossed. I am thinking they maybe were on the standard route below me while I was on the ridge. Blanca Massif from summit:

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I descended my ascent route, and soon was on my way to "Huerfano Peak". On the ascent I bypassed the Iron Nipple and headed across the talus and grass slopes to "Huerfano's" summit. This is an overview of that route from the saddle with Lindsey:

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I met a couple up there who were working on the 13ers, it seems this year I see more people on Centennials than 14ers! I guess that is the benefit of starting at 6am! On the way back down I headed over to the Iron Nipple which has a fun catwalk out to its summit:

Image

The descent went smoothly up until the creek crossing where I slipped on a rock and almost went in the drink! I took off my socks and zipped the legs of my pants to let them dry. I then spent a while at the trailhead drying my stuff in the sun. The boots were shot though, too soaked through to be able to climb in tomorrow. I guess California was going to have to be climbed in sneakers!

Sunday July 1, 2007

California Peak 13,849'

North Ridge

8 1/4 Miles RT
appx 4,100' vertical
via Zapata Trail

Saturday night I camped in my truck again, this time at a pullout campsite just above the Zapata/Huerfano trailhead. Again I woke up for a 6am start and headed down to the trailhead. The climb starts stiffly up steep slopes before popping out into a beautiful meadow, complete with a cow elk having her breakfast (not visible in photo):

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Here the trail fizzles out to nothing and you have to follow cairned stakes in the the ground like this one:

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The climb then goes back into the trees and the trail gets more defined. The slopes steepen again on the way to the appx 11,860' highpoint. Here you leave the trail and head up the gentle grassy ridge to your left:

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There are several false summits along the way, but the slopes are gentle and the flowers beautiful. The route crosses over PT 13,250 and PT 13,476 (both unranked) before the true summit comes into view. This final section becomes a talus slope and a little steeper. The east face of California is also much more rugged, and almost remided me of Horseshoe.

Image

The views from here are even better than Lindsey or Huerfano. The Blanca group looks spectacular, even steeper than from the valley floor because you can see the northeast face more in profile. The view of the Great Sand Dunes to the north, and the unobstructed view straight down almost 6000' to the San Luis Valley floor are make this perch one to remember

Blanca Massif:

Image

Sand Dunes/Crestones:

Image

The descent went smoothly and I was back at the car at 11am. I guess I could have gone on to PT 13577, but with the 5+ plus drive home (including a stop for pizza at Amica's) I am glad to have left early. It was nice to get home before 5pm for once, that definitely doesn't happen during the busy work week!



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
lordhelmut


http://www.14ers.com/images/trips/lind/43_20070702     2011-02-04 17:22:13
This is a sweet pic.


doumall


Nice TR     2007-07-02 23:19:02
Thanks Jamie, thinking of these soon.


shanahan96

great!     2010-11-30 10:28:37
just what we need, another jamie on the site. is it okay if we call you something else....how's mike?

jamie


Chicago Transplant


Oh no!     2010-11-30 10:28:37
I've got to stop hanging out with all these Jamies

Thanks for the comments guys, it was a fun outing.

Thanks Brian, Maverick_Manley's TR is one of the reasons I headed up here seeing as I knew the ridge was in good shape.


lordhelmut


rivers???     2007-07-03 10:38:33
was the creek crossing manageable? it was impassable w/o wading when we went and the trail near the beginning of the trail was covered in a shallow stream. Anyways, was curious, it gave everyone the day we went issues.


Chicago Transplant


Shallower     2010-11-30 10:28:37
Brian- The crossing were a little lower this past weekend. The one early on the trail could be managed with stone hopping. The main river had like a beaver dam that could be used but the logs didn't go the full width, I hopped off and cleared the water, but going back across I slipped and dunked my feet in the river. I ended up hiking California in my sneakers because my boots were still wet.


shanahan96

you and your logs     2010-11-30 10:28:37
mike,

you certainly have a nice streak going when it comes to falling off of logs over river crossings! lindsey, snowmass.....now that i think about it, wasn't it you who fell off the bridge on the way to la plata last february?

jamie


Chicago Transplant


Dunk Ponds     2010-11-30 10:28:37
Yeah, logs seem to be a problem, I do much better with the rock crossings! PS- Snowmass wasn't my fault, Erick pushed me


shanahan96

yeah     2007-07-05 23:13:27
erick pushed you. i believe that.....

jamie



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