Peak(s):  Crestone Peak  -  14,294 feet
Mt. Lindsey  -  14,042 feet
Date Posted:  06/14/2013
Date Climbed:   06/12/2013
Author:  rambis_21
 Lightly Travelled Gems  

Crestone Peak, 6-12-13

Climbers: rambis_21, zephyr_pelicante

Start Time: 7:25 am
Summit Time: 12:20 pm (4:55 hr:min to summit)
End Time: 5:10 pm

Drove to South Colony Lakes Trailhead Tuesday afternoon from Golden. Traffic was very slow through CO Springs so it took an hour and a half longer to get to the trailhead. The Black Forest fire had just started around 2 pm I think and we were going through Monument at 3:20 pm so the fire had just began to grow.

Black Forest fire about 3:20 pm, 6-11-13

Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone who has been affected including for those who are fighting the fire.

Due to our late arrival, we didn't make it up to the camp sites by South Colony Lake until after 10 pm and it was dark. It was a beautiful evening though. Many camp sites are free of snow now, but lots of spotty snow banks in the trees still near the treeline and mud make campsites iffy.

Needle and a Sliver of the Moon

Our camping spot (afterhike pic)

The snow field up Broken Hand Pass was solid enough to avoid post holing. Ice axe is a must. Crampons worked great but microspikes will work just as well. The beginning of the Red Gulley was dry but soon we were hiking up the snow field. We could hear the water flowing beneath the snow in some spots which was sketch. It was hard to tell how deep the snow was and if it would hold us above the mini river under the snow in the gulley. The snow field was easy to climb with ice axe and crampons/microspikes. Colby actually just used his ice axe to climb 2/3 of the gulley with no spikes because the snow was soft enough. We crossed to the right side of the gulley to climb some class 4 sections of solid rock that was dry to avoid the icy sections and thinner snow sections. The top "crux" section had solid steep snow. We made it up safely.

After enjoying the amazing views on the summit, we began the descent. We took it slow following basically the same route we took up. Soon we hopped on the snow field to take it all the way down because it made it easier. Due to the steepness of the gulley, we back stepped down instead of glissade to be safe. At the end of the Red Gulley, we crossed a river of water dumping off the ledges compared to the morning ascent. The hike back across Broken Hand went fine. It was slow because we were pretty exhausted. Descending Broken Hand pass once we reached the top again went ok. We were very wet already so choose to mainly step down the snow to avoid getting even more soaked from the snow. It was relatively firm across the boulders.

Overall, awesome hike! This was my first steeper snow climb. Glad we had great weather.

Below Broken Hand Pass,

Top of snow field going up Broken Hand Pass

Beginning of Red Gulley

Hopping onto snow field to ascend

Save the Nalgene!

Almost there! Colby with Cornace between East Crestone and Main Peak

North View from the summit of Crestone Peak (Kit Carson Avenue seen here)

We decided to hike down to camp at a nice spot near the 4wd trailhead to be close to the car in the morning so we could get out quick to head to Mt. Lindsey.

Avoidable snow up South Colony Lakes trail

Enjoying some crispy brats before bed!

Mt. Lindsey, 6-13-13

Start Time: 8:10 am
Summit Time: 12:10 pm
End Time: 3:15 pm
Total Time: 7:05

Beautiful morning in the mountains. It was an hour and a half drive to Huerfano trailhead. It says rough 2wd road, but beware, it is a long 6 miles of rough road which takes a while to get to the trailhead. The forest up to the trailhead was full of vibrantly, dark green aspen trees that were full and thick. They looked amazing. Does anyone know if they are a different kind of Aspen tree that has darker green leaves?

Beware, 0.8 miles into the hike the river is running full right now. We decided on a barefoot crossing in the morning which actually felt pretty good. Later in the afternoon, we found a spot just above the main trail crossing to jump the river bout 6-8 ft across with success thankfully .

This trail was fun and had amazing views. Once you get above treeline to the huge bowl/valley, the views were astonishing! There were minor snowfields in the trees that were avoidable, but more annoying than anything. We took the harder class 3/4 route along the ridge to the summit of Mt. Lindsey to avoid the sketchy, loose scree class 2 gulley. It was quite enjoyable. We took our time because many of the rocks looked sketch, so we didn't trust anything, but everything was pretty solid on the ascent up and down. On the descent, we did not go for the Iron Nipple 13,500 ft just across the saddle because the clouds were building fast. Maybe another day.

Let's Go!!!

Crossing the high water

Just above treeline

Lindsey finally in our sights

Snow was scarce and completely avoidable

Ready to ascend the ridge on Lindsey

Marmot friend with no tail, Watch video at the end!

The crux, we stayed just left of the main big crack which was the easiest route up for us. It was solid rock and had great holds. Decent exposure

We bought this $20 purifier/filter that was as simple as sucking the water in our nalgenes through the filters to drink. This was a perfect purchase. Cheap, convenient, light, and works solid. With all the snow runoff, we were able to get plenty of water on the way up and down. It's very nice to actually have an excess of water for once. Feeling fully hydrated on a 14er is different but quite nice .

Top of crux

30th summit for me, 40th for Colby!

Here's a buddy we made halfway up the ridge on Mt. Lindsey. We felt bad that this guy had no tail. We figured he's been through adversity which led to his fearlessness to sniff out my GoPro in my hand. He even followed us up about 100 feet until we ascended the crux section.

Nostrovia, until next time!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Life Straw
06/14/2013 18:27
Is the filter we used. Good pics Craig, marmot video is a must watch.


red gully snow
06/14/2013 21:40
Thanks for the report on the Red Couloir for Crestone. I've been wondering about this route, and haven't seen anyone post on it since Otina did a snow climb several months ago. Did you have to stay more to the sides of the couloir (where rock meets snow) to get better footing? or did you just go right up the gut and trust the snow? I'm wondering how this route will be two weeks from now... mostly dry, I'm guessing. Great job, guys!


Good to go
06/14/2013 22:54
We stayed to the left side on the way up as far as we could which wasn't far on dry rock no harder than class 3. Then we hopped on the snow and ascended the snow in the gulley another 150 ft or more before going to the right side to climb along the rocks. We were able to climb a lot on the rocks because we didn't trust parts of the snow and ice on the rocks. The water running under the snow was creepy too.

I personally think with how warm it is the snow will be very melted in two weeks. Then you may be able to avoid it altogether.

Here's a video I put together of the trip.


Nice TR!
06/15/2013 03:14
Thanks very much for your TR! Both of these routes are interesting now - Crestone with snow for a buddy of mine and Linsdey without to do it with my 13 year old son.



Good work!
06/15/2013 04:01
Two climbs that I am definitely looking forward to. Cool pictures, cool climbs

That marmot video was insane, I've never even been within 50 feet of one of them! Keep up the good work man!

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