Peak(s):  Challenger Point  -  14,081 feet
Kit Carson Peak  -  14,165 feet
Date Posted:  09/22/2019
Date Climbed:   09/22/2019
Author:  SpringsDuke
Additional Members:   davekfz6
 #49 and #50 Challenger Point and Kit Carson Peak   

#49 and #50 Challenger Point and Kit Carson Peak

19861_01
Deciding on the plan for the weekend I saw a post on this websites forum from member davekfz6 asking to see who would climb the two peaks on Sunday. I was interested as hiking alone in the dark gets annoying and also noticed davekfz6 would become a 14er finisher once he completed the hike so I was in! Met in the town of Creston only 15 minutes or so from the trailhead and drove a Jeep up. Road seems pretty much 4wd. Early morning 415am start.


19861_02
New sign


19861_03
Hiking up to Willow Lake above treeline.


19861_04
First sight of both peaks. They appear quick and also appear close but do take time to summit both and get back from here.


19861_05
Looking down at Willow Lake


19861_06
Starting to gain elevation going up to Challenger first. This part of the hike takes the longest and is the most strenuous. It is much longer than it appears and takes over an hour to hike up.


19861_07
New trail up the steep slope appears to be going in. Only a small portion appears to be done as of now to me. More switchbacks added to more distance than the old route in my opinion.


19861_08
Looking down the steep slope


19861_09
Gaining Challengers summit ridge with both peaks in view


19861_10
Challenger Summit

19861_11


Summit plaque. Named after the space shuttle that failed a few months before my birth.


19861_12
Sand Dunes from summit.


19861_13
Summit views


19861_14
On to Kit Carson via the avenue seen in this Challenger summit photo


19861_15
Getting on the avenue. Its short and even the next benchmark the prow can already be seen in top right.



19861_17
From the prow going downward on the avenue


19861_18
Getting close to turning left to exit the avenue and climb Kit Carson Peak


19861_19
Yes it is a good idea to mark the large cairn in the center of the gully when you exit the avenue. But only because on the way down you will see cairns that go lower. Why are those cairns there I have no idea but we did see cairns below the large cairn that I placed my hiking poles on the mark our avenue exit.


19861_20
Climbing up Kit Carson Peak the best part of the hike!


19861_21
Angle left towards summit.


19861_22
Congrats davekfz6 on a six year journey only a tiny fraction of society completes it was a blast to join you!


19861_23
Summit views


19861_24

Took 45 minutes to summit Kit Carson from Challenger and 5 and a half hours to summit both peaks.

19861_25
Crestones


19861_27
Challenger and its entire ridge you have to cross twice today


19861_28
Looking down from Kit Carson summit you can see the steep slope up Challenger and the Willlow Lake waterfall.


19861_29
Going back down Kit Carson to the avenue and back to Challenger to summit that peak once again.


19861_31
Back on the avenue


19861_30
Going back up the avenue looking up a the prow


19861_32
Re summiting Challenger appears to be the best way to cross its long ridge and get back down the steep slope trail.


19861_33
Looking back at Kit Carson


19861_34
Looking back at both peaks


19861_35
Waterfall at Willow Lakes


19861_36
Willow Lake is very beautiful


19861_37
Really cool to summit with so many this year who are finishing. When I climbed Culebra in the winter I thought I was setting myself up to finish this year as well. Alas the late start to the season from heavy snow and myself attending 4 wedding celebrations this year will make 2020 the year I most likely finish. Congrats to Dave today and the rest who finished in 2019!


19861_38





Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
bmcqueen

Congrats Dave!
09/24/2019 06:05
Great job on the finish. It was fun to join you for the Wilson group last year. Brad


arianna2
Nice
09/26/2019 20:04
Looks fun. Could you tell if Willow lake has fish in it?


SpringsDuke
Could Not Tell
09/26/2019 21:38
The lake is very deep but could not see fish or anyone fishing.



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