| Living it up on Lindsey!!
Mt Lindsey (14042)
June 29, 2008
Route: North Face Ascent, North Couloir Descent
Round Trip: 9.8 miles, 9.5 hours
Elevation Gain: 3800 ft.
Hikers: KirkT, New England Kid (Anne), Media Dude(Gabe), KGMO(Kristin), Covfrrider(Brian), Chicago Transplant(Mike), Burt & Dave
After hiking the Needle, I drove up the Huerfano Trailhead to meet the rest of the gang on their way up from Culebra. I had talked to Brian earlier in the week and he told me that several of the Culebra group were planning on hiking Lindsey Sunday. I adjusted my plans to join them. I arrived around 4:30 and set up camp in my Escape. They arrived in a large convoy around 6:30. After talking for a bit they drove about 500 ft down the road and set up camp. While visiting with a few hikers who were camped by my truck we spotted a huge Black Bear about 75 yards from us in the woods!! He was a big guy. This was the first time I have ever seen a bear in the wild. I was very glad he was keeping his distance as well. After he disappeared into the woods, I went to their camp to tell them about the bear. We had a great visit, drank a few brewskies and discussed the plan for Sunday. KGMO and Chicago Transplant were going to hike a few of the 13er's in the area while the rest of us were going to try and tackle Lindsey. The two guys who were camping by my truck had completed Lindsey earlier that day in about 8 hours. So we decided on a 5:30 start time to thwart any weather issues.
After getting up on the second snooze I finally got dressed and was ready to get going. The rest of the gang arrived about 5:50. We all started off down the trail at 6:00am. The creek is running pretty high most of the way. We had several class 4 and 5 river crossings to contend with, I think we counted 10 different crossings. Kristin and Mike parted from us at the Lily Lake junction to go hit their 13er's. The snow was somewhat deep in the wooded area because of the lack of sunshine. It was however easy to cross and navigate because of the freeze/thaw cycles and past foot traffic. We did however loose the trail about....uumm 5 or more times?? With the combination of heavy woods and snow the trail at times just seemed to disappear. Then all of sudden we would catch it again. One excursion up the boulder field cost us at least 20 minutes time. Anne kept saying go up that way... so obviously we had to do what she said you know.. 8) We eventually made it up to tree line and the trail at that point became much easier to spot and follow.
The Basin was beautiful in the early morning sunlight. The wildflowers are beginning to go into full bloom and the snow is beginning to melt pretty darn fast. Blanca and Ellingwood were hidden in a fog of clouds all morning. You could clearly see the Blanca massive but up high the peaks were totally obscured by clouds. Made from some very impressive photos. After a quick break we continued up the steep saddle towards Iron Nipple. We all arrived up to the saddle in pretty good shape. We talked with Chris and Eric (the two hikers who were camped by my truck) and we discussed which route we were going to take. We decided that we were going to hike down to the talus field below Lindsey and climb the North Couloir. After a quick break we all continued up to the saddle and towards Lindsey. I don't know when or how it came up but I had proposed to go up the standard route (which is still snow filled) to save on elevation loss and hiking distance. Everyone seemed to want to go down to the North Couloir. When we reached the upper saddle however everyone seemed to change their mind and decided that we should take the North Face route.. It was snow filled, shorter and a direct route to the summit. We could then glissade down the North Couloir if we wanted to. The plan was decided. We started to head straight up to the Face of Lindsey.
We all reached the North gulley with excitment to start a nice snow climb. The gulley was about 80% covered in snow so it was going to be a nice climb. We traded poles for axes and started up the gulley. I led the way with Dave, Burt, Gabe, Anne and Brian following. The snow was somewhat soft in the sunlight but nice and firm in the shaded areas. We made it to the top of the gulley in pretty quick form. After reaching the top, Dave and Burt scurried ahead. You still have about 20-30 minutes of climbing from this point to reach the summit. I know there is a class 2 trail past this point, but for some reason we never really found it all the way. We instead all just climbed directly up towards the summit on solid class 3 talus. Dave and Burt arrived on the summit first with Gabe and myself closely behind at 10:55. Anne and Brain arrived very quickly therafter.
The weather on top was beautiful. Some of the best I have experienced in ahwile. There was little or no wind, partly cloudy and pretty darn clear. By now Blanca & Ellingwood had decided to come out and say hi. It was a beautiful sight seeing those peaks from this vantage point. The Crestones to the North however were still covered in a very thick cloud bank. We had a great time on the summit enjoying the views, eating, taking pictures, and standing on our heads and hands (which Anne is very good at by the way). We ended up staying on the summit for about 1 hour before getting ready to head down. We decided to glissade down the North Couloir. Armed with our ice axes we were like soldiers ready to go to battle. Me leading the way down, one by one we glissaded over 1000ft down the couloir. This was the most fun part of the day. It was a great glissade with the perfect formula of steepness, distance and runout. After we all reached the bottom we started the long trek across the boulder field towards the saddle of Iron Nipple. This was definitely the most unpleasant part of the day. Seemed like it took forever to cross that freaking boulder field back to the saddle. We became a little strung out during this section as others were not quite as quick on the boulders.
We eventually made it back to the saddle and continued back down into the basin. It was at this time that the Crestones finally decided to come out and say hi! They looked beautiful to the north gleaming in the afternoon sunlight. We eventually got back together as a group and continued back down the creek bed towards treeline. We decided to walk on the snow instead of use the trail above the creek. The snow was soft but very supportive of our weight. In other words.... we did not posthole! (hence the no snowshoes required) We made pretty quick time back down the creek. We spotted an old mine on the way down, so of course we had to go exploring. Myself, Anne, Gabe, & Burt decided to go as far as we could into the mine. It only went back about 50 feet, but it was cool nonetheless. We eventually made it back past the class 4 & 5 river crossings to the trailhead around 3:30 where Kristen and Mike were waiting. After packing up our camp we decided to go to this cool little restaurant in Westcliffe that Kristin and Mike had been talking about for two days. We were off to Westcliffe.....the clouds were very dark in that direction and it was obvious that it was raining there. When we arrived, the restaurant they talked so much about was closed! Not even open on Sundays. No Milkshakes for us! We decided on the little Mexican restaurant in the center of town and had a great dinner to the sound of thunder and hail outside.
All in all it was a great outing with some old and new friends. Thanks for a great day and l am looking forward to more in the future.
First views of Blanca Saturday afternoon.
Early morning view towards the Blanca and Lindsey Massive.
One of our Class 4 or 5 stream crossings!! 8)
As you can tell, there was alot of snow to deal with, maybe even requiring snowshoes.
One of our uuummm planned?? trail excursions!
Making our way up the frozen, snow covered creek.
Break and realxing time.
First glimpse of Lindsey's summit cone.
Making our way up to the saddle.
Closeup of Lindsey's North Face Gulley.
Looking up the North Face Gulley.
Gabe, Anne and Brian making their way up the Gulley.
Gabe showing off near the summit.
Gabe, Me, Dave, Brian, Anne and Burt on Summit.
14er.com party on the summit!
Blanca and Ellingwood.
Brian and Company doing the 1000 ft. North Couloir Glissade.
Lindsey's North Face Gulley.
Crestones to the South.
Picture perfect day.
coming down the creek bed.
Our little mine excursion.
Gabe maunerving the log crossing as Anne waits her turn.
Dave said screw the crossing... I'm taking the shortcut!!
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