Peak(s):  Kit Carson Peak  -  14,165 feet
Date Posted:  05/29/2020
Date Climbed:   05/28/2020
Author:  CaptCO
Additional Members:   blazintoes
 6 Months Later  

It was a cold New Years' day 2020, nobody expected a worldwide pandemic to crush the world as we know it. A young inexperienced, over-confident, and quite frankly eager hiker was headed up to Anteros summit with a new friend. The wind chill was -15 to -20 degrees above 12,000' and his gear was cheaper than a Black Friday blowout sale. On the final switchback, his new friend tells him about the possible wind slab avalanche danger, completely oblivious to him. Turning a mile away from a summit is never easy, but it might've been the smartest decision this young hiker has ever made. Little did he know the advice he would take from this first-person willing to teach him, would open his eyes to so much more.

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Fast forward 148 days, I had been texting Amy annoyingly all kinds of questions. Whether it was avalanche concern, route decisions, or gear she was all ears! We finally put together a quick plan to climb on May 28th. I summited Little Bear the day before and was feeling optimistic it would be a good next day on KC. I arrived at the Willow Lake TH after grabbing some Chilis-To-Go in Alamosa, soaked my sore feet in the creek for all of 5 minutes and voila, fresh feet for tomorrow! Tent was setup by 7PM and I was out like a light by 8:30PM.20150_93

4:20AM alarm went off and i did my best to get out of my tent, it warmed up overnight so I woke up sweating and cold in 50 degree weather. To a great surprise BlazinToes was up and at em already. I was late as always for our 5am departure, and by 5:22 we were on the trail and signed in. It was a quick but talkative hike up to the lake, where we were greeted by pika and several furry friends.

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After dodging several snowfields, boulder hopping for fun, and what seemed like more than a mile, we finally arrived at the headwall. We discussed our gameplan and agreed that a direct class 5 approach looked best for us. Amy scoped it out, and off we went!

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After reaching the start of the North Ridge, I was humbled when Amy insisted that I lead the entire route. I have done ridges like this a few times, but having someone as experienced as her, I wanted to make sure every placement was correct with no pebble fall. Everthing went fairly smoothly, i'll let most of the pictures do the talking. We climbed like there was no tomorrow...20150_8420150_6220150_6120150_6320150_91

Helmets aren't so bad I suppose (Thanks for bringing your spare!)

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Nearing the top of the summit, we avoided a direct snowfield and kept on the ridge crest until it veered right and held on as tight as we could! Before we knew it, we arrived at the summit of Kit Carson Peak. I honestly thought this took more energy than climbing the hourglass the day prior, but it could be from exhaustion.

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Hiking with BlazinToes is great, we joke like we're teenagers but climb like our life depends on it, no pun intended. Time flew by and the summit this spring was one of the most beautiful i've been on. Of course Amy brought Sebastian along! He always leads the way ;)

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The traverse towards Outwards Bound Couloir took some route-finding for sure. I haven't been on KC before, or to Willow Lake for that matter. Amy was confident in the way over of course, but I now always double-check the route no matter who I'm hiking with (it could be Killian Jornet). After reviewing the topos, GPS, and satellite we were on our way down. Thanks for sharing your PB&J with me Amy

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We arrived at the entrance of the OB Couloir after downclimbing and following the ribs a little way down. There were a few cairns that could help but I highly recommend you do research on this quick traverse if you haven't been up before. I've heard of many bad accidents happening on KC, luckily Amy knew the way without thinking twice.

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After taking off the pons, packing the axes, and freshening up our clothing. We headed down in between some snacks and filtering "i mean drinking" some fresh snow runoff.

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It was one of those days when everything falls into place. No worries about checking GPS tracks/route finding, worrying about time, speed, or any of that. I can only hope to have more days like these in the mountains.

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My Phone died a little early but i'll link GPX tracks. Estimated 15mi< 5,650'

https://www.alltrails.com/explore/recording/kit-carson-mountain-via-willow-lake-trail-a0833c8?u=i




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions
mtngoatwithstyle
Great place!
05/30/2020 07:21
Happy you both had such a great outing!. I love that area!.


CaptCO

Thanks it's beautiful!
05/30/2020 09:14
Sorry for the crappy grammar/writing. I really just wanted to get this TR up before I head back out, next one will be much better and i'll take a few days to write it up.


blazintoes

where.is.sebastian
06/01/2020 08:34
Thank you for pioneering my Instagram!
Great job


Altitude High

Nice rock
06/10/2020 19:00
Looks solid and stable. Like you can depend on it.



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