Peak(s):  Kit Carson Peak  -  14,165 feet
Challenger Point  -  14,081 feet
Date Posted:  07/24/2018
Date Climbed:   07/21/2018
Author:  jenvalencia
Additional Members:   angry
 Hotter Than A Jalepeno   

Rose and I climbed KC - Challenger via the North Ridge Up, continued along the avenue after KC over to Challenger, and down Challenger North Slopes. The most memorable part of our trip would be the spicy North Ridge - although I'm not sure if that would more accurately be described as the North West Face for us. Before and after our trip, I've spent countless hours reading and re-reading the route description, other trip reports (some of which I will reference in here), and reviewing maps and gpx tracks. I feel confident to say our gpx tracks reflect Topo Map #2 's Outward Bound/North Ridge

as well as the strava gpx shared by climbingcue - https://strava.com/activities/1718544313

The approach felt long!!! We backpacked in to hammock camped at Willow Lake. They aren't kidding when they say endless switchbacks lead to Willow Lake. We started the next morning a little later than intended, but still on good time, at 5:50AM, and easily reached the cairn where the trail to Challenger's North Slopes splits from our trail to North Ridge. Elevation 11,955, Coordinates 37.99114, -105.60433. From here, we aimed a little to high on the cliff bands while trying to keep the "large boulder" to our left. I mean really, there's large boulders everywhere and we picked the wrong ones, ending up crossing right through the bulk of them. I would recommend taking Jayhawk35's advice and aim for the lower boulders.

In hindsight, we would have rather kept the boulders AND the cliff band to our right until the Outward Bound Couloir came in to view. During the trek, we had an easy time spotting Kirk Couloir, but remained a bit more unsure of Outward Bound. This confusion would cause us to second guess our route to the ridge numerous times, which made things slow going as we read and re-read the route description for both Outward Bound and North Ridge, checked the gps, and continuously assessed our location on the map. Within my gps I had plotted waypoints I had plotted based off of Topo Map #2, linked above, we continued to aim for those while trying to follow the route description and photos we had seen. I digress....

After our blunder through the boulders, we began to go right and angle uphill and felt we were on route at our first class 4 pitch. We felt our route matched the beginning of the class 4 as described in Maverick6981's video


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Elevation 12,631, Coordinates 37.98300, -105.59803

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Our confidence in route finding continued to increase as we found what we could only hope to be the grassy ledges.

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Comparing this grassy ledge slope to other trip report photos such as Wentzl's, it seems we were
already too far left while beginning to gain the ridge -

Wentzl Oct 2011

Wentzl June 2018

From this point, we were getting ready to gain the ridge but as I mentioned in the caption, we were either already too far left or we took the paths up the ledges too far left, all the while we were trying to aim right. Either way, the remainder of our climb ended up being more of the North West Face.

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We felt this view in particular (Elevation 13,126 Coordinated 37.980, -105.59910) was similar to photo 6 in the route description.


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I am unsure how the elevation compares, but notice the relation to the boulders
below in this photo, as compared to photo #10 on the route description.
Elevation approx 13,539
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Her view, looking up at me.


"Eventually we found ourselves at the base of the obvious crack that slopes up towards the summit ridge", as described in rsuminsby's report

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This photo, taken from the descent of challengers north slope, shows the obvious crack.
The farthest hump, to the left of the final summit ridge seen, is where I believe the below photo was taken from.


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Here's a look back while on that section. Elevation 13,897 Coordinates 37.98078, -105.60091

Despite all the questioning, our tracks look similar to the strava tracks linked in rsuminsby's report - https://www.strava.com/activities/1718544313, and we didn't encounter much loose rock via our route.

We met up with the path that takes you around to Kit Carson Avenue (at 13,974, coordinates 37.98008, -105.60217) and continued up the final scramble to the summit as seen in photo #14 on the route description.

Summit Photos. Our ascent from Willow Lake took about 5 hours. As I mentioned, we spent a lot of time stopped to check our route, so I imagine that could be a lot less.

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We met these cool cats, Mike, Chris and Carissa.

With them we descended to the avenue, taking a small short cut down a rocky, but smooth slope to avoid the scree on the loop around to the avenue.

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Kit Carson Avenue taken on route to Challenger Point
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Rose (Angry) (no she's not angry - that's her username) coming up the avenue.

A look back at Kit Carson from the traverse to Challenger. From KC to Challenger it took us about an hour.

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Summit Photos

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And to conclude our trip, we descended via Challenger North Slopes. Our descent took us 2.5 hrs to reach the cairn where the trail splits.

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Once again, unable to stop looking back at our climb up Kit Carson.

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
6 7 8 9 10 11 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26


Comments or Questions
d_baker

rockin mohawk!
07/26/2018 10:01
Fun route too.



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