Peak(s):  Mt. Lindsey  -  14,042 feet
"Huerfano Pk"  -  13,828 feet
Date Posted:  09/05/2007
Modified:  09/12/2018
Date Climbed:   09/02/2007
Author:  USAKeller
Additional Members:   comin2getcha
 Mt. Lindsey (NW Ridge) & UN 13828 ("Huerfano") - Huerfano/Lily Lake TH  

A Sangre Centennial Twofer

Date: September 2, 2007
Team: USAKeller and comin2getcha
Route: Northwest Ridge ascent and descent for Mt. Lindsey, traverse to South Slopes up "Huerfano Peak" (UN 13,828')
Total mileage: ~10.1 miles from Upper Huerfano/Lily Lake TH
Total elevation gain: ~4,020ft. from the TH

Lance and I left Boulder Saturday afternoon and arrived at the Huerfano TH at 9:00pm. We quickly converted the bed of the truck into an RV and went to sleep. We decided to sleep in- the alarm went off at 6:00am and we were on trail at 6:45am. Being Labor Day weekend, several other parties were out. This would be my second time climbing the NW Ridge on Lindsey; the first time last summer was my first class 4 climb, so I was excited to see what I thought of it now that I've gained more experience.

We crossed the meadow, weaved through the trees, and climbed up the steep approach to the upper part of the basin, in what took us 2 hours to reach the Iron Nipple-Mt. Lindsey saddle (~13,200ft.). We followed the standard trail for a few hundred yards to a faint turn-off and headed up east to the ridge (N37deg 35m15.9s W105deg 27m2.8s). This trail is not cairned so we picked a line that would take us to the bottom of the black chimney.

This photo shows the turn-off and main route in red, staying to the left of the ridge. The route in yellow is what we ended up taking - not recommended because you will have to do a slightly tricky down climb to get back over to the bottom of the chimney. And, the blue arrow shows the entry/exit point for the class 2 scree gully (some forum members were interested in this):

The crux of this route is near the chimney. To keep it a class 3+ scramble, it's best to stay to the left of the chimney; we wanted some excitement so we climbed up the chimney - class 4+.

A closer look at the class 4 crux of this route (taken from ~13,550ft.)- the blue line is the route we took;
the red line is the easier class 3/3+ scrambling; and, the yellow line is an easier (and recommended) way
to get to the crux wall. The summit cannot be seen from here:


After the crux wall, the climb turns back into a class 2 walk over the ridge to the summit, as seen in the photo below.

The final hike to the summit (taken from above the crux wall); the elevation gain is only about 50 feet from here:

We reached the summit in 3hrs 45min (at 10:30am) and other parties started to join us shortly after. Some clouds started to gently roll in, but nothing threatening.

We started back down the NW Ridge with intentions of hitting UN 13,828 ("Huerfano Peak"), but with the clouds coming in, we would reassess the situation when we returned back to the Iron Nipple-Lindsey saddle. When we got there (at 12:00pm), we decided to make a run for Huerfano Peak, bypassing Iron Nipple. To do this, we dropped way below the right side of Iron Nipple, and crossed over a rock rib.

Taken from the saddle, this photo shows our route to bypass Iron Nipple:

Once past the rock rib, you will see a few cliff bands that you will have to skirt around before re-gaining the ridge (South Slopes Route) to UN 13,828. The photo below shows the un-cairned route back up to the ridge.

A shot of the route after the second (and final) drop-down point- this is the section that skirts around the cliff bands:

Taken from 13,500ft., this picture looks back at the route we took from the saddle:

From the Iron Nipple-Lindsey saddle, it took us 1 hour to summit UN 13,828 (at 1:00pm).

California Peak (13,849ft.) from the summit of Huerfano Peak:

We spent a quick 15 minutes on the summit; when we heard thunder coming our way, we knew it was time to get down. A long hail/thunder/lightning storm accompanied us as we made our way back towards Iron Nipple and wouldn't let up until near treeline down in the basin. After a muddy hike back down the steep approach, we made it back to the car in 3 hours (at 4:15pm) from the summit of UN 13,828. It was definitely a long day for us, but re-visiting the NW Ridge on Lindsey only reconfirms how excited I get when it comes to scrambling!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

 Comments or Questions

09/06/2007 05:56
Looks like a really fun scramble! Thanks for the TR: Excellent job as usual! Also, thanks for the TR on Capitol...your photo of the traverse just under the ridge definitely helped Ben and I have a bit more fun


Alot of fun!
09/06/2007 15:02
USAKeller - another fun climb and a great trip report. I really enjoyed the scrambling. Of course if we had started when I wanted to we would have missed the hail!


Morning Person
09/07/2007 04:08
Hey, I need that hour to go through my OCD checks - 4 times! Oh yeah, and 15 minutes to choke down that PowerBar.

Great report
09/07/2007 20:27
Great report!!! Looks like a blast. We will have to get togetter for a climb soon. Take care!


09/17/2007 21:36
Hey - we were up on California Peak that day! I was going to say that we might be in your picture of it, but I think we were further down than that at 1pm. The hail caught us, too, though. Yikes! Looks like you had a great time in spite of the Sangre weather.


I love reading
09/18/2007 11:30
your trip reports. Sounds like you guys had a lot of fun!


Nice Report!
11/30/2010 17:28
Nice, descriptive report USAKeller Have to go back some day for the Nipple & Huerfano. I thought Lindsey's N/W ridge was a blast!


11/30/2010 17:28
I can just hear her... "Just ten more minutes, just ten more minutes."


11/30/2010 17:28
Lance- WHATEVER- Mr. "I Need To Sleep In"! You know I always pick the start time and we haven't had any weather problems up until Capitol when I did not pick the time . From now on: alarm goes off at 4am, on trail by 4:30am at the latest.

Bill- I laughed when I read that! Some of us don't need an hour to get ready in the mornings so we can use the 10 extra minutes sleeping (like myself!) .

Mots010, KirkT, and Mark- We missed you this weekend! But I'm glad you all got in some good peaks.

Thank you everyone for your comments!


11/30/2010 17:28
USAKeller - Both Bill and I know the truth about who says they need to sleep in or at least have a few more minutes. You can try to deflect the responsibility but it just won't work.


Looks like...
02/05/2011 00:22
you guys were dodging some weather?? You truly missed an epic climb on the Bells... however it looks like yall had a great climb yourselves. Congrats!


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