|Peak:||Mt. Lindsey (14er)|
|Range:||Sangre de Cristo|
|Date of Info:||07/25/2020|
First off, I made it all the way to the trailhead with my Mazda CX-5. I saw mostly 4WD cars and trucks at the trailhead. There were three specific areas on Forest Road 580 which were bad and I may have bottomed out slightly but if you are careful you should be able to make it with decent clearance on your vehicle.
With regards to the hike, the first 1.5 miles were muddy and wet with a few stream crossings. This was likely exacerbated with the recent rains. Absolutely stunning views as you get to tree line and descend into the valley. The winds were 25+ mph and there were threatening storm clouds obscuring Ellingwood as I ascended over west of the Iron Nipple. I decided to take the Northwest Gully as I had heard it wasn't that loose and I was slightly worried about the gusting winds on the ridge. This was a huge mistake, not because of the route itself (which was completely free from snow), but because of careless hikers on the ridge route and rock falls.
About halfway up the gully, I hear "ROCKS" being yelled repeatedly from the ridge above. I looked up and, I kid you not, I saw a boulder (which I would estimate at 50+ pounds) and several other rocks barreling down from the ridge above into the gully towards me. Fortunately, I was able to shield myself from the smaller rocks which ended up falling far too close for comfort and the large boulder fell well below me further down the gully. Thankfully, I came out unscathed but I subsequently read several stories about hikers who have had this happen to them and were struck by rocks and suffered broken bones/concussions/other severe injuries and had to be rescued off the mountain. I understand that this was most certainly an accident and am thankful that the people on the ridge yelled "ROCKS" as this isn't always the case (based on the tragic stories I have read on social media). However, I met one individual in the gully who has hiked several class three and four 14ers and he said he had never seen anything like that before (the size of the rock that barreled down) and attributed it to careless hikers on the ridge above. If that large rock, free falling from over 500 feet above, had hit any of the people in the gully, we would not have survived.
Mt. Lindsey is an absolutely stunning mountain, with incredible views from the parking lot all the way to the summit. The final pitch to the summit after the gully is Class 2 and is remarkable as well. However, as much as I enjoyed summiting this mountain, I will likely never do it again due to the scare I had in the gully. I would certainly be remiss if I did not share my experience for others thinking about hiking Mt. Lindsey. I would also be remiss if I did not ask that anyone hiking this beautiful mountain (regardless of the route) to hike it carefully and to think about others as you do so. It may just save someone from a serious injury, rescue, or death.
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