Summary: Is there a better way to spend your 23rd birthday than getting into the Colorado high country with your wife and best friend? We really enjoyed Lindsey. Not too long, the ridge was a lot of fun, few people, and the scenery spectacular. Also, who knew when we started that Tyler and I would be summitting twice!?
Conditions: Cloudy! But other than that it was a perfect day. No snow anywhere along the route. The road in seemed to take forever! It was at least an hour from when we hit the dirt, but it was in good shape and we saw several Subarus at the TH.
Report: What a great chance to get out into the Sangres-I love this range! With Tyler and I coming off the Bells just 5 days ago, we were ready for something a little bit more mellow. Being my birthday, Katie wanted to tag along as well which made for a great group. Like I said, the 4wd drive road getting up to the TH was annoying. It's in great condition, it's just that you can only take sustained bumps for so long before it becomes a real pain in the ass. Finally after approx an hour of the bumping (I guess you could go faster if you were more aggressive) we made it to the TH at 1:00am for a few hours of sleep. Quick note here: If you've never tried to sleep in the trunk of a suburban, DON'T, lol.
A 6:00 start time put us in shape for a great day. The beautiful and gentle start through the valley eventually gave way to the tough tree studded climb up the river basin. However, the views once you get up above tree line were well worth it.
My banana bread birthday cake at the TH!
Typically gorgeous Colorado...
Heads up here: this is all that's left of the Lily Lake sign. Stay straight at this junction.
Trail got tougher at this point
Loved this basin. One of the better spots I've been on 14er climbs.
First views of Lindsey.
Katie was really not feelin it at this point, and she was quite content to enjoy the basin anyways, so she stayed behind as Ty and I ascended to the saddle. We were pleasantly surprised at how quickly we reached the ridge.
Wanting to make this a more interesting climb (not to mention avoiding that horrible scree), we were set on doing the Northwest ridge route. I'm glad we did. The first sections along the route are easy Class 3 and offer a few interesting moves. All the while you get a great view of the Class 4 crux section ahead of you.
First full view of Lindsey fomr the saddle
Looking back at some of the initial sections along the ridge.
Some mildly difficult moves
Tough to get a good pic of the crux with all those clouds.
My secret revealed: yes, I AM spiderman!
Finally we made it to the crux wall. Coming off the Bells just a few days ago, this felt like cake to us and we really enjoyed the lack of extreme exposure and solid rock relatively speaking. In terms of the easiest route, it looked like anything that veered off to the left or right would be best. However, realistically most of the routes weren't too bad: something between tough Class 3 and easy Class 4 I'd say. Plenty of holds, not too bad exposure, and pretty solid rock made this a fun face for us.
Lower section of the Crux Wall
Tyler decided to head up the center crack. This appeared to be the most challenging option.
Here it is.
I went off to the left of center a bit.
Ty at the final-and most challenging-move on the center crack.
After the crux wall the fun is over. From here it's a short and easy jaunt over to the summit. When we finally made the top, it was completely socked in with clouds. We were a little disappointed, but little did we know we'd be back to at the top again in just over an hour...
First summit of the day. Look at that view...
Thanks to the guys we met up there for letting us borrow the bags. Gotta love the free schwag.
Ready to descend, we started making our way back down the main route. Those gulleys suck bad and we glad we didn't try to ascend all that horribly lose scree. In this sense, Lindsey offers a perfect example of why a more difficult route on solid rock is sometime preferable to an 'easier' route over loose terrain.
Anyways, maybe 2/3 of the way back to the saddle we looked down and who did we find? Katie! After sitting for an hour in the basin she felt much better and got bored (not to mention she was getting attacked by mosquitoes), so she decided to hike up as far as she pleased. This turned out to be perfect as we rendezvoused near the crux wall. So, there we were turning around heading off for our second summit attempt, lol. We actually enjoyed this as it gave Ty and I to try new routes up the wall. Fun stuff!
Haha, surprise surprise. We knew immediatley we were goin back up.
Picking their lines
Good perspective of the climbing challenges and options
She handled it like a champ.
The second time at the summit the clouds had broken quite a bit, and we got the views we were looking for. This made it well worth it and I was also super proud of Katie for finishing it up.
Now for the 'real' summit shot
Little Bear and Blanca just barely revealing their secrets.
Now back down the standard route ("I feel like we've been here before...") and we made it to the saddle in no time. From there it was an easy and relaxed descent to the TH. Just a little bit of rain, but nothing too severe.
The main gulley is crazy loose.
Looking over to Blance and Ellingwood. Blaca is an awesome looking peak from this angle
The Iron nipple. We were originally going to head over there before we met back up with Katie. Oh well, there's always another day.
In conclusion, this was a nice hike. Beautiful scenery, good distance, few people, and a really fun crux wall. If you have decent experience with Class 3 scrambling, my opinion would be that you can do the ridge. It could be considered a good intro to Class 4 that is short and has less exposure than other faces. Just take your time and find a route that you are comfortable with.