Peak(s):  Mt. Lindsey  -  14,042 feet
Date Posted: 
Date Climbed:   07/27/2005
Author:  A-Town

 Mt. Lindsey Ascent, July 27-28  

Left Denver at 5 a.m. on July 27, hoping to get to the Mt. Lindsey trailhead by 8:30. Arrived more like 9-9:30 (I know, a little later than what is best for climbing, but the weather held out throughout the day). Carried a copy of Bills route information with me for my friend visiting from Michigan and I to follow. The directions, as usual, were great, except for a point that led us to not make it that day--there are TWO signs along the trail that point to the trail for Lily Lake. I dont fault Bill at all since the second sign was probably added within the last 3 years, and his directions date from 2002. The first sign is nailed to a tree roughly 3/4 to 1 mile after the trailhead, right near the creekbed. This is where one must cross the creek over some fallen/placed logs (stay to the right and you will find them) and re-find the trail as it weaves through the trees and hillside. Since this critical point is not at all obvious when one is climbing, we continued straight along the path and came to the second sign about 0.5-1 mile later, where the sign is in a meadow. The Lily Lake trail heads up the hillside to the right, while an unmarked trail continues straight. This trail eventually just fades away in the basin, and if you come to this point, TURN AROUND AS YOUVE COME TOO FAR. We ended up hiking all through the basin that day, trying to find the trail up to Lindsey. Eventually we found the trail to Lily Lake and not knowing it, hiked up there. From there I could see the false summit of Lindsey and knew we had missed a critical junction. We hiked the Lily trail back, talked with some fly fishermen who clued us in a bit more, and eventually found the proper trail. The trail is very faint through the trees after that creek crossing, and not well-cairned, so we tried to add a few more (even added a giant log arrow--maybe its still there!).

We decided to camp near the trailhead and try again on the 28th. We started hiking at 5:15 a.m., just as it was starting to get light out. After we made our way through the trail in the trees, and eventually crossed the creek again, the directions were great, and the trail was mostly solid. After hitting the ridgeline next to the Iron Nipple, we left a few items, including my trusty hiking stick, which Ive taken with me on all my climbs, since we knew it would be technical from this point on. It certainly didnt disappoint, but again, following Bills directions and photos, route finding was fairly easy. The only minor problem was trying to ascend next to a small snow field in the first gully that was very slippery, but once we made it to the false summit, the rest was great. Mind you, looking from the ridgeline and all the way through the gullys, my Michigan friend was completely freaking out, and nearly bailed on me several times. This technical section is not easy at all, but with some patience and deep breaths, it is doable. On the way down the technical section we met some folks from Arkansas who kept bugging us about the stuff we left behind at the ridge--some Coors Lights that they said we left out in the sun, and how could we have warm beer like that. Truth is, everything was covered up, but when we made it back there we found everything scattered and some of the lunch items missing, AND my hiking stick missing! Either it was these people, or a marmot! I have had marmots try to run away with my hiking stick before--I think they like the sweat on the stick, or just chewing on them since they dont get too much of that when they live above timberline. Its a mystery that Ill never solve.

In the end, despite the disappointment of the stolen stick, we were happy we finally made it up to that *bitch* of a climb Mt. Lindsey (a flatlander friend of mine likes to say hes going to make the mountain his bitch when we climb). Total time was about 4.25 hours up and 3.75 hours down.


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