(WINTER) HOLD ON! If you don't have much high-elevation, winter climbing experience, be careful in your planning and take a partner. Even the "easy" 14ers (Quandary, Sherman, Grays & Torreys) can be deadly in winter.
- Drive to the town of Gardner, northwest of Walsenburg on Colorado 69.
- From Gardner, head west for about 1/2 mile on CO 69 and turn west on the road to Mosca Pass. There should be brown Forest Service signs on CO 69 indicating the turn.
- Just after the start of this road, a Forest Service sign states "Upper Huerfano - 21.5" and "Lily Lake Trhd - 22.5".
- After 7.0 miles the road turns to dirt.
- Continue 4.8 miles to a junction and stay left on Forest Road 580.
- Drive 3.4 miles and enter private property where a "Forest Access" sign reads "Upper Huerfano - 5.3 mi."
- Continue 0.5 mile and stay left at the entrance to the Singing River ranch. The road becomes rough, narrow, but still 2WD.
- Continue 0.9 mile and pass the entrance to the Aspen River ranch. The road becomes more difficult.
- Drive 3.4 miles to enter the San Isabel National Forest.
- Drive 0.8 mile and pass a small sign for the Huerfano and Zapata trails.
- Drive 1 more mile to the end of the road at the Lily Lake TH.
Taken from far to the north, Photo #1 and Photo #2 show Mt Lindsey's north face. First, follow Mt. Lindsey Route #1 to the 13,150-foot saddle between Iron Nipple and Mt. Lindsey - Photo #3. The north couloir is not visible from here. To reach it, you must drop east (Photo #4) into the basin between 13er "Huerfano Peak" and Mt. Lindsey. Here are two options to reach the couloir:
1) From the saddle, hike slightly left (north) before dropping right into the drainage (Photo #5) which runs east from the saddle between Iron Nipple and Mt. Lindsey. Follow the drainage for 3/4 of a mile to reach the base of the north couloir, near 12,300' (Photo #10).
2) For a higher traverse to the couloir, continue another 50+ yards southeast on the standard route, drop left (east) off the ridge (Photo #4) and zigzag down the slope to reach easier terrain near 12,800' (Photo #6). Continue east, at an elevation of 12,800' (Photo #7), for 1/2 mile to intersect the north couloir (Photo #9). This option saves you 500' of elevation loss but the traverse involves crossing several shallow gullies.
Photo #8 looks back on both options. Enter the couloir and begin climbing (Photo #11, Photo #12). Photo #13 and Photo #14 show the middle of the couloir. Near 13,800' (Photo #15), the couloir becomes steeper and you reach the final pitch (Photo #16). Pick your line and climb to the top of the couloir and summit (Photo #17). For the descent, the standard (#1) route is probably the best option.
With good snow coverage, the north couloir can provide nearly 1,900' of skiing. Remember, you'll have to ascend back to the 13,150-foot saddle on your way out.