| Lindsey - North Gully Ski
"Like one that on a lonesome road
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned round walks on,
And turns no more his head;
Because he knows a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread."
Around 10pm I heard voices, I thought there was no one else around. Where are those flashlights coming from? The light shone right in my window, I was in my car, in the sleeping bag. Who is it? After about 15 minutes, the strangers went away and I had trouble sleeping for the rest of the night. So the night passed slowly, around 4am, I woke from a fitful sleep to a strange red glow.
Wanting no more of this I quickly got dressed and headed up the road, hoping to leave the worries of the trailhead behind. As so often happens once the sun rises, so does your spirit. The nighttime truly does belong to the spirit world, the daytime to us mortals. Now back to the task at hand, the route up Lindsey is supposed to follow a gully that I never found and ended up climbing moderate snow up and out of the trees. The surrounding Huerfano valley was having its morning coffee.
Once I realized I was about 500 feet above the gully I was supposed to be climbing, I decided to just stay high on the traverse and pass through some cliff bands so as not to lose any of the elevation that I gained.
I weaved my way in and around, up and down, and through the micro.
Once I gained the saddle, I got my first glimpse of the main objective of the day, looking good.
I stopped at the saddle, put on my black diamond sabertooth crampons, and geared up for the snow climb up the northeast face. Feeling optimistic at this point.
The snow climb up the first half of the gully was great, kicking steps up moderate snow, with not another soul around. Getting high.
After the first 600 feet or so the snow conditions turned bad, all the recent new snow was covering the loose rocks underneath, a few steps in good snow would quickly turn to wallowing in new snow on loose rocks. No fun, at this point I made a beeline to the ridge, I made it with some creative dry tooling with my black diamond raven pro ice axe. The ridge was solid and fun and I made it to summit around 12pm, 8 hours after leaving the car. Here is a view back showing the ridge leading to summit.
Blanca and Lindsey in the background, you can see the Gash Ridge clearly, we've attempted that route twice but have never finished it. It looks like such a great climb, we'll get it one of these days.
I geared up with the skis on the summit, preparing to descend the north gully.
The snow in the gully was a little heavy, but really good overall and very consistent in its makeup.
I traversed left towards the bottom and prepared for the climb out of the basin back to the saddle. More steps to kick, still no one else around.
You get a good view of the climbing route from down in the basin. I could see the bootpack I put in earlier, I always enjoy looking at that.
Back to the saddle, I found the correct gully on the descent and made it back to creek. I was too tired to take off my skis, so I skied across the river.
Spring time in Colorado is beautiful.
I made it back to the car at 4pm, 12 hours after leaving the car. It was a long day, 13 miles, 4500 vertical, and not another soul seen the whole day. One final glimpse of Blanca on the hike out, if you've never been down to the Huerfano valley I would recommend as a good place to go if you like mountains, skiing, climbing, rivers, and solitude.