| Mt. Lindsey (NW Ridge) and UN 13828 (
Date: September 2, 2007
Team: USAKeller and comin2getcha
Route: Northwest Ridge ascent and descent for Mt. Lindsey, traverse to South Slopes up "Huerfano Peak" (UN 13,828')
Total mileage: ~10.1 miles from Upper Huerfano/Lily Lake TH
Total elevation gain: ~4,020ft. from the TH
Lance and I left Boulder Saturday afternoon and arrived at the Huerfano TH at 9:00pm. We quickly converted the bed of the truck into an RV and went to sleep. We decided to sleep in- the alarm went off at 6:00am and we were on trail at 6:45am. Being Labor Day weekend, several other parties were out. This would be my second time climbing the NW Ridge on Lindsey; the first time last summer was my first class 4 climb, so I was excited to see what I thought of it now that I've gained more experience.
We crossed the meadow, weaved through the trees, and climbed up the steep approach to the upper part of the basin, in what took us 2 hours to reach the Iron Nipple–Mt. Lindsey saddle (~13,200ft.). We followed the standard trail for a few hundred yards to a faint turn-off and headed up east to the ridge (N37deg 35m15.9s W105deg 27m2.8s). This trail is not cairned so we picked a line that would take us to the bottom of the black chimney.
This photo shows the turn-off and main route in red, staying to the left of the ridge. The route in yellow is what we ended up taking- not
recommended because you will have to do a slightly tricky downclimb to get back over to the bottom of the chimney. And, the blue arrow
shows the entry/exit point for the class 2 scree gully (some forum members were interested in this):
The crux of this route is near the chimney. To keep it a class 3+ scramble, it's best to stay to the left of the chimney; we wanted some excitement so we climbed up the chimney – class 4+.
A closer look at the class 4 crux of this route (taken from ~13,550ft.)- the blue line is the route we took;
the red line is the easier class 3/3+ scrambling; and, the yellow line is an easier (and recommended) way
to get to the crux wall. The summit cannot be seen from here:
After the crux wall, the climb turns back into a class 2 walk over the ridge to the summit, as seen in the photo below.
The final hike to the summit (taken from above the crux wall); the elevation gain is only about 50 feet from here:
We reached the summit in 3hrs 45min (at 10:30am) and other parties started to join us shortly after. Some clouds started to gently roll in, but nothing threatening.
We started back down the NW Ridge with intentions of hitting UN 13,828 ("Huerfano Peak"), but with the clouds coming in, we would reassess the situation when we returned back to the Iron Nipple–Lindsey saddle. When we got there (at 12:00pm), we decided to make a run for Huerfano Peak, bypassing Iron Nipple. To do this, we dropped way below the right side of Iron Nipple, and crossed over a rock rib.
Taken from the saddle, this photo shows our route to bypass Iron Nipple:
Once past the rock rib, you will see a few cliff bands that you will have to skirt around before re-gaining the ridge (South Slopes Route) to UN 13,828. The photo below shows the un-cairned route back up to the ridge.
A shot of the route after the second (and final) drop-down point- this is the section that skirts around the cliff bands:
Taken from 13,500ft., this picture looks back at the route we took from the saddle:
From the Iron Nipple-Lindsey saddle, it took us 1 hour to summit UN 13,828 (at 1:00pm).
California Peak (13,849ft.) from the summit of Huerfano Peak:
We spent a quick 15 minutes on the summit; when we heard thunder coming our way, we knew it was time to get down. A long hail/thunder/lightning storm accompanied us as we made our way back towards Iron Nipple and wouldn't let up until near treeline down in the basin. After a muddy hike back down the steep approach, we made it back to the car in 3 hours (at 4:15pm) from the summit of UN 13,828. It was definitely a long day for us, but re-visiting the NW Ridge on Lindsey only reconfirms how excited I get when it comes to scrambling!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):