Peak(s):  Humboldt Peak  -  14,064 feet
Kit Carson Peak  -  14,165 feet
"Kitty Kat Carson"  -  13,980 feet
Columbia Point  -  13,980 feet
Date Posted:  07/19/2015
Date Climbed:   07/18/2015
Author:  Powder_Moose
 Kit Carson via East Ridge, Humboldt Pitstop  

On Friday night, Liz and I made a beeline from work towards the Crestones, reaching the 4WD South Colony Lakes Trailhead at 8:30p following an all-time performance by the Little RAV4 That Could. We turned around quickly, and logged three miles up to Lower South Colony lakes, with a special night time variation of my favorite game, "Will Liz Fall In?" (no) during the stream crossing at 11000' along the access road. We were back up at 5a and on the trail at 5:30a.

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Crestone Peak and Needle make an impressive backdrop throughout the entire traverse. We opted to take the Humboldt approach trail as far as the saddle at 13000' before bearing left onto the ridge separating us from the Bears Playground saddle.
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In general, we felt this was a good move given the scree gully approach alternative. The ridge, while tedious at times never exceeded class 2 and the views of Needle, Peak and beyond were outstanding.

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Liz connects the Humboldt Saddle with Bear's Playground

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Once off the ridge, the next .4 miles across the flat, grassy Bear's Playground saddle seemed to go by almost instantly, and before I knew it we were back to talus-hopping while skirting the lower flank of Obstruction Peak. Once past the obstruction, one stout class 2 climb to Kitty Kat Carson and on to Columbia Point. Now for the business! This was also a good point to stop and assess the weather - so far so good!

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Kitty Kat Carson!


The gully descent off of Columbia is definitely the technical crux of the route. The climbing is not bad at a solid class 3, but I was glad to be the only party in there at the time - we kicked a few rocks loose as did the other parties we saw on the route. A trend to the right and out of the gully sooner rather than later had me feeling better. From the Columbia-Kit Carson saddle the rest of the climb is a 2+ scramble that seems viable via a few different routes.
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Scramble to Kit Carson summit


We summitted around 10a with the weather still looking good. I had been wigging out about weather most of the morning, as this route ultimately kept us above 13000' for 7 relatively tedious miles. With things looking good and the hardest out of the way, I felt better and enjoyed an excellent summit and the first and only views we caught of the sand dunes that day.
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The route back was a simple retrace of our intitial route. We had some fun keeping to the absolute crest of the Bear's Playground-Humboldt Saddle ridge.

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With things still holding up, we shot up Humboldt from the saddle before our long descent back down to the car and Westcliffe for some pizza.

RT Distance: 16.4mi
RT Climbing: 6900'
Strava:https://www.strava.com/activities/349030656

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RT Distance: 16.4mi
RT Climbing: 6900'
Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/349030656



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10


 Comments or Questions
Aardvark

Interesting Route
07/23/2015 11:05
And nice pics, thanks.


Broken Knee

Nice
07/29/2015 08:41
Your 4th photo is excellent!


trinkner

Thanks
08/31/2015 12:06
Thanks for the photos. I’m hoping to do this route to KC and Challenger over the Labor Day weekend.



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