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Many thanks to the tech climbers on Kit C, 9-05-2010

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Many thanks to the tech climbers on Kit C, 9-05-2010

Postby Palmyra J » Thu Sep 09, 2010 6:44 pm

To any that may know the tech climbing couple that descended South, off of the Kit Carson summit, the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 5th....(we were significantly below the cutoff to return West to Challenger).

A big THANK YOU for giving us the last of your water and pointing us in the correct direction back up to catch the turn back onto Kit Carson highway. We ran into another gentleman that had also missed the turn West off the summit, and we all made it down to Willow Lake by sundown. Without your help, it may have resulted in a very poor outcome. With your help, things were decidedly better!

Mountaineering generates generous, selfless behavior. Thank you for answering that call to fellows in need.

In your debt,
Palmyra J and friends :D

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Re: Many thanks to the tech climbers on Kit C, 9-05-2010

Postby ThuChad » Fri Sep 10, 2010 5:23 am

I saw several people make this mistake a month ago so you're not alone. I think it's the simplicity of the route on the way up that makes you think it will be easy to find coming back down. The people I saw looked wiped out after making it back to the avenue. If I didn't see them make the mistake first I might have done it myself.
I'm just pretending to be a poseur.

“I stand here on the summit of the mountain. I lift my head and I spread my arms. This, my body and spirit, this is the end of the quest. I wished to know the meaning of all things. I am the meaning. I wished to find a warrant for being. I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction. Neither am I the means to any end others may wish to accomplish. I am not a tool for their use. I am not a servant of their needs. I am not a sacrifice on their altars.” |Ayn Rand - Anthem

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Re: Many thanks to the tech climbers on Kit C, 9-05-2010

Postby highpilgrim » Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:30 am

Lots of people make that mistake. There are rock bands on the mountain there and two large ones appear almost identical. It's way easy to miss the turn and to aim at the second (lower) rock band. If you do, you drop several hundred feet below the actual band that is the Avenue and it sucks to reclimb it to get back.

Look around and completely familiarize yourself with the area where you leave the Avenue when you start the upclimb so that you can recognize it on the return. Use your digital camera and take a pic that you can refer to when in doubt. It will come in handy.
Call on God, but row away from the rocks.
Hunter S Thompson

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Re: Many thanks to the tech climbers on Kit C, 9-05-2010

Postby mattpayne11 » Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:42 am

My partner made that same mistake when we did KC also. I was over on Columbia Point and had a better view of the actual route so it was not a problem, but I think this is a pretty common mistake!

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Re: Many thanks to the tech climbers on Kit C, 9-05-2010

Postby glodder » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:01 am

Interesting. I climbed KC/C on Aug. 3rd, and, on the ascent, when I turned left off the Avenue and started making my way up the final gully to the summit, I happened to turn around to see if it was easy to find the link back onto the Avenue when descending. It didn't look easy, so I built my own identifiable rock cairn about 10 feet above the point where you need to turn right. It helped me immensely on the way back down, but apparently it didn't help you guys. Glad you made it down OK!

Todd
"It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves." - Sir Edmund Hillary

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Re: Many thanks to the tech climbers on Kit C, 9-05-2010

Postby MountainHiker » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:34 am

When we did Kit Carson last time we came down a different – more direct gulley than the one we went up. Although Kit Carson Ave is obvious if you look at it from the right spot, it is easy to overshoot. Fortunately we realized what we did after dropping only about a 100 feet below the Avenue. Then it was like du-uh, there it is!
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Re: Many thanks to the tech climbers on Kit C, 9-05-2010

Postby pocketmaces » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:43 am

I’m planning a KC/C trip next week; I’ll be going up the north ridge of KC and down the standard route of Challenger. What’s the best way to make sure I don’t miss the right turn to the avenue?

Re: Many thanks to the tech climbers on Kit C, 9-05-2010

Postby traderaaron » Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:08 am

It's higher than you think and ascends so don't just go into descent mode coming off the summit, don't just look down but look to your right. Our group just started going down and missed it as well, when we started thinking we needed to go lower was exactly where we should have looked to our right and ascended the avenue.

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Re: Many thanks to the tech climbers on Kit C, 9-05-2010

Postby MountainHiker » Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:12 am

pocketmaces wrote:I’m planning a KC/C trip next week; I’ll be going up the north ridge of KC and down the standard route of Challenger. What’s the best way to make sure I don’t miss the right turn to the avenue?

I’d say study Bill’s route description, especially the pictures of the Avenue. Keep track of your elevation as you are descending and keep looking to the right. When I got suspicious, a check of the GPS showed we were low. We then looked over to the right and could see the Avenue above us. And it was like “how did we miss that?”
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Re: Many thanks to the tech climbers on Kit C, 9-05-2010

Postby pocketmaces » Fri Sep 10, 2010 12:06 pm

Thanks MH, will do. Sounds like at approximately 13960.

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Re: Many thanks to the tech climbers on Kit C, 9-05-2010

Postby MountainHiker » Fri Sep 10, 2010 12:39 pm

Not how I read it. Around 13,700'

http://www.14ers.com/routemain.php?route=kitc2&peak=Kit+Carson+Peak+and+Challenger+Point
From here you can see the next part of the hike - a longer section of the Avenue that descends east - Photo #7. This side of the ledge is much longer than the one coming up from the Challenger side. Hike down the ledge and pass through a wide notch - Photo #8. Photo #9 looks back on the upper half of the Avenue. Past the notch, Columbia Point (~13,980’) is in view to the east - Photo #10. Your next goal is to locate the entry point into a broad gully that leads left to toward the summit. The exit is before a rock rib which is before the saddle between Kit Carson and Columbia. Do not descend all the way to the lowest point in the saddle. Photo #11, Photo #12, Photo #13 and Photo #14 show the area in which to turn left to gain the gully. Near 13,700’, turn left (north) into the wide, shallow gully
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Re: Many thanks to the tech climbers on Kit C, 9-05-2010

Postby Palmyra J » Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:29 pm

So glad to see many acknowledgments as to the testy nature of this (and maybe most descents). I am a novice, but try to think of myself as smart. I now know better, and will be more humble in the face of all things wonderfully high altitude.

Thank you all for your input. Photo's backwards at each major turn (or at least a memory map), elevation measures even better, and looking up, looking down. Building one's own carin to mark a pivotal turn... All very good advice. Hauling up more water than you think is necessary.

And I have to admit to more than a bit of a summit "whew," when we reached the peak of KC, when in reality only half of the trip was completed. Someone clocked winds at 75mph on Challenger that afternoon. We picked up a solo hiker long past that return to KC highway, that had made the same mistake. He made it back with us to Willow Lake, and now we have several more friends than with which we started.

I am reading "Deep Survival," by Laurence Gonzales, who brilliantly analyzes all of my novice thinking that day, and why some do not fare so well and others do. Here is to more study!

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