| coglomorate of crestones
Me and Mark Koob at it again!
Day 1, hike a long time.
Kat Carson 13980
Kit Carson 14165
Challenger Point 14081
"Obstruction Peak" 13799
Humboldt Peak 14064
We left the great flat plain of Greeley Colorado at 2:00am and headed for South Colony lakes. Mark taught me this great car game that parodies base ball: every time person 1 or 2 have an audible fart, you earn a base. If the fart is stinky enough, and the other person must roll down their window, you gain another base. Now if 1 were on second base, and person 2 farted, person 2 has stolen second base and may continue around the bases unless person 1 steals the base back. Once you get to home, point earned.
I got schooled. 2 to 14, beer and cheese did a number on Marks system.
Either way, this got us to the top of the 4wd road of the South Colony lake trail head in good spirits. We embarked at 7:45 am. Quickly we gained the saddle on Humboldt and began walking the ridge west to Kit Carson. Our first summit was Kat Carson. Cool Peak!
From Kat, we were not quite sure how to get to Kit, Gerry roach makes it seem like you just go west.... over the cliffs..... hmmm. It took a little time to puzzle out a route that descended a gully to the south off the summit.
Once to the saddle of Kit and Kat, we picked a gully to the east of the standard route and did a little bonus scrambling. We were soon on top of Kat and greeted by some friendly folks who took our picture (Thanks for loaning us your Kit Carson sign!)
We darted down the standard route of Kit Carson an visited Challenger Point for a little while.....
Then took off for Humboldt. Re-acceding Kat Carson was a bit of a route finding challenge, but we found that the southern gullies held a viable route right around a class 3 scramble. Eventually we found a carined route that brought us up between the summit of Kat and the false summit of Kat, how we missed it on the way to Kit Carson is beyond me.
We didn't summit Kat on the way towards Humboldt, however we made it a point to visit the high bicentennial 13er between Kat arson and the Bears Playground. It was a quick scamper up some class 2 boulders to a fun little high point with great 360 degree views of the area!
From here we went for Humboldt. Gaining Humboldt was probably the most risky weather I have ever allowed myself to be in above tree line. Although their was no thunder, the clouds were clearly of a menacing nature. We got a little distracted going up Humboldt and went to the north side of the peak..... way off route. This introduced us to some nice class 3 scrambling. Just think, an off route scramble on a walk up "easy" peak!
On top of Humboldt, we met Kansas! Hello fellow flat lander! We commented on the weather, then realized that neither Mark or I had a watch. We figured it was 2 or 3. Kansas looked at us.... it was 5:30. Time to take a pic and get the hell out of Dodge.
Fortunately the weather held, just a little corn flake snow on the way down. We went back to the car, gathered our camping gear, walked a mile up the road and settled in at 9pm for a nap.
The Crestone Traverse!
So we ate breakfast and stumbled up broken hand pass... I swear Kansas was stalking us....
On top of the pass, we met a bunch of folks waiting for the sunrise. We decided to just keep movin' for the summit of Crestone.
Ascending the Red gully up Crestone was not eventful, just a little painful. Mark and I had dramatically slowed down from yesterdays pace, thank god for cliff and poweraide shots.
Once on top of Crestone, we enjoyed some of the best views in the Sangre de Cristos! Then we froze our a$$es off.
As we left the summit, we met Kansas again, and continued down to the begging of the traverse. Along the way, we met some goats, epic.
I was quite surprised how straight forward the traverse from the peaks side was. We followed a fairly well carined route until the lower difficulties of the Needles lower southwest face. At this point, we met a solo hiker who had down climbed the crux of the route and was making his way to the Peak. From here, we followed Gerry Roaches description and the solo climbers account of his route down to gain the bottom of the crux.
Wow! The crux is cool! I'm not convinced that it is 4th class, maybe more 5.0-5.2, but with great holds and lots of air!
I felt that this traverse was easier than the Little Bear Blanca traverse because it was shorter and required less technical climbing. The crux of the Crestone traverse is perhaps a tough harder than any one move on the LB/B traverse, but the Crestone traverse is only one move, as opposed to multiple difficult moves on the LB/B traverse.
On top, we felt golden!
The decent from the Needle didn't quite go as planned. We had a little trouble route finding from just the description in Gerry Roaches book, but with a little time, we were back at Broken hand pass in good spirits. On the way past the lakes, we passed Kansas.... I swear, he was everywhere.... Quickly, we broke camp and headed for the car, taking note of the impending weather. No sooner had we loaded the car than it started hailing. Good timing!
We headed for the pub in Westcliff, noticing a large storm cell to the north. Once in the pub, the electricity cut out, and we decided to leave on the account of not having any cash. As we left city limits, the storm advanced. Mark and I noticed a rotating wall cloud and stopped to take some photos.
Here are some more photos
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):