Peak(s):  Challenger Point  -  14,081 feet
Kit Carson Peak  -  14,165 feet
Date Posted:  08/22/2019
Date Climbed:   08/19/2019
Author:  tipiman
 False Avenues...BEWARE   

It was a steep, slow and tough climb up some pretty loose talas to get to the top of Challenger Point. I had left my camp site just below Bellow Willow Lake before daybreak at 5am and it was almost 10 when I got to the summit. I did not hang out too long before I headed down to slope to the start of the Kit Carson Ave. This part of my hike was so cool! Plenty of room between you and the drop off and carefree as far as exposer goes. When you get to the end of the Ave, double check your route print out and READ #13!! It says. “STOP! Before you leave the Ave, look around and become familiar with the area so you know how to rerun to the Ave on your descent.”

This is a VERY important part of the climb…problem being that if you miss this on the way down and pass the entrance to the Ave, there are two other terrain features that can be mistaken for the Ave. After bagging the peak, I found this out the hard way with two other climbers that I did not know. We went down onto some pretty steep stuff trying to figure out how to get on one of these false Avenues before we doubled back in search for the right one. It took a huge chunk of time from me and I was not back to my camp until 7pm! I am so glad the weather permitted me to remain pretty stress free during this masochistic outing…these are my 21st and 22nd 14ers and they really kicked my butt. Here is a movie that I made…

Comments or Questions
MUni Rider

Been there!
08/23/2019 11:06
Yep! This seems to be a somewhat common error.

Over a decade ago, I too went much further down having missed the turn. I caught up with another climber down below who was still going down. When I noticed a lower snow field getting bigger that we didn't recognize we realized the error of our ways. Now headed up, we periodically scanned and eventually spotted people far, far, above and left on the true trail. Oops. We worked together to route find and continue back up, adding a ton of time to our day.

Glad you made it up and out.


Me too
08/23/2019 15:14
I did the same thing as well. Fog rolled in thick while I was on the summit, I missed the Avenue, descended wayyy too low, then spent a lot of time trying to make the "False Avenues" go. After a while I decided to just go back to the summit and try again. On my way back up there was a guy on the (correct) Avenue with a bright orange climbing helmet that I was able to spot through the fog. If not for his fluorescent helmet I might still be floundering around in the Spanish Creek drainage

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