Peak(s):  Mt. Lindsey  -  14,042 feet
Date Posted:  06/11/2009
Modified:  05/07/2014
Date Climbed:   06/07/2009
Author:  USAKeller
Additional Members:   KeithK, killingcokes, lodgling
 Mt. Lindsey Summit Ski (North Couloir)- Lily Lake/Huerfano TH   

Mt. Lindsey North Couloir Spring Ski

Date: Sunday, June 7, 2009
Skiers: USAKeller, killingcokes (Fritz), and lodgling (Rob); Climber: KeithK
Route: North Face standard ascent and North Couloir ski descent from Huerfano/Lily Lake TH
Stats: 8 miles; 4,200' climbed; ~2,900' skied; 12 hrs RT

After a great climb and ski of Mt. Evans two days prior, I was itching for some more spring snow climbing and northern-facing skiing. When killingcokes PMed me a few days ago to ski Lindsey, I was quite interested. I invited KeithK to join for a long-overdue climb. I met KeithK in Denver Saturday evening and we headed down to the trailhead, where we met lodgling and killingcokes that night. We set a wake-up time for 4:00am; the winds were absolutely howling all night long and remained that way when we all woke up. Because they were forecasted to be high that day, we weren't in a huge hurry to start - we were on trail in hiking boots at 5:45am. Our first obstacle was the major river crossing. We shuffled and threw rocks in to make a path but it wasn't working. Keith and Rob sucked it up and walked across while Fritz and I froze our feet numb walking across. Intermittent snow started around 10,600' on the trail, but there were enough footprints to find the way. At the small boulder field, we found the first steeper bullet-proof snow to climb up.

Fritz and I find no easy way to cross the stream but to go barefoot:

The boys climb up on hard-pack near the boulder field:

The obligatory Blanca and Ellingwood shot:

We left the boulder field, headed straight for the drainage that leads into the upper basin climbers' right of the standard route, and hiked directly up it to shave a little mileage off. The winds had died down to only about half of what they were overnight. We continued on until we met the standard route near 12,300' and followed that to the Lindsey - Iron Nipple saddle. At the saddle, Fritz, Rob, and I switched hiking boots for plastics while Keith contemplated climbing that couloir as his second snow climb. I reassured him that if at any time he wanted to turn back, we would. From here, we could also see a beautiful pre-existing staircase for us to boot up.

KeithK hikes the drainage into the upper basin:

What an inviting snow climb!

We traversed across to the base of the couloir - Rob lead, I followed with Keith behind and Fritz bringing up the rear if any sort of arrest would be needed. Rob called down that the snow was "money" - indeed it was as perfect as you could get for crampon and axe purchase. It was beautiful!

Traversing below the Northwest Ridge to the base of the couloir:

lodgling and I start the booter:

KeithK and killingcokes enjoy their bite:

We estimated the couloir average to be around 40 degrees with the steepest portion (near the rock outcropping above the middle section) just exceeding it. We topped out near 13,600' (Keith rocked it), and the next task was to make an ascending traverse across the top of a steep no-fall gully. We found that however small they were, the north-eastern aspects were a place we didn't want to hang out too long on, and we crossed it each one by one.

lodgling and I traverse above the gully (top photo); Keith and Fritz on the same section (bottom photo):

Keith and I rest just past the gully traverse, getting ready for some mixed scrambling:

More or less, we followed the standard route on steep snow and rock until we hit the summit ridge near 14,000'. Almost immediately after hitting it, the extremely gusty winds made a return visit knocking a few of us to our knees. Not long after lodgling, I reached the summit at 12:50pm; Keith and Fritz arrived a few minutes later. Only a short time spent on the summit, we were ready to ski. Keith glissaded our ski route with a solo climber we met along the way. We skied off the summit at 1:15pm.

Rob and I navigate Mt Lindsey's summit ridge:

killingcokes and KeithK on the summit:

lodgling rips down the North Couloir:

killingcokes hits it next:

My turn to rip the North Couloir (Little Bear group behind, top photo):

We skied about 1600' vert. off the summit for 15 minutes to somewhere around 12,450' (although another 200' is likely ski-able on that line). Leaving the summit at 1:15pm, we were fairly certain we'd have some rockin' corn to ride, but the high winds kept things cooler and it wasn't the harvest we had hoped to reap; the snow was just slightly crusty on top of a nice base but still a great ski. The skiers waited for Keith and John (the solo climber) for 10 minutes before we all made a tiring traverse 700' west back towards the Lindsey - Iron Nipple saddle. "Huerfano" currently has a nice line off it's south side.

Looking forward to the ascending traverse back to the Lindsey - Iron Nipple saddle:

After a short break on the windy saddle, our group started back down with the skiers milking any possible opportunity to carve more turns. Skis were on and off from about 13,000'-12,300' before we linked patches to get into the continuous drainage. Finally hitting some corn, we skied a total of ~1,300' to just below treeline (near 11,500') where we switched back to hiking shoes and waited a short while for Keith. We bushwhacked and post-holed off-trail near the stream until we found the trail near the boulder field. Keith and I made it back to the truck at 5:45pm, 30 minutes after our partners. It was definitely a long day, but well worth it. Keith had a major accomplishment that day - a huge congratulations! Great day with new partners - I can't wait for more!

California Peak beta:

Fritz, Rob, and I make it work to the drainage:

A look back up at most of the ski route:

KeithK's trip report:

killingcokes' trip report:

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Nice style ...
02/05/2011 00:22
Love that red toenail polish! That ”lodgling and I start the booter” photo is excellent. Way to get ‘er done late in the season. And, congrats to KeithK! Thanks for posting ... happy trails!


Excellent Climb!!
06/11/2009 22:45
Keith said he went out to do something a little adventurous, Awesome!! Great to see you guys had a great day. Congrats to all!



My feet....
06/11/2009 22:59
are cold just looking at that first picture. Looks like it was fun.


06/11/2009 23:38
It was truly a pleasure to climb with you Caroline; a memorable, huge day with great partners all the way around. I‘M CRAVING MORE!!! 8)
Some more pics here...


nice polish
06/12/2009 00:04
on the trip and the toes. Lodgling throwin some nice tele action


Red is classy!
06/12/2009 03:27
I would have fallen off my chair if the matching red pumps were hanging on your pack!


Ready for More
06/12/2009 04:02
Keith - You are rockin‘ dude! I will pm you with the details of my next trip to Colorado. Hopefully we can make something happen this summer. Pyramid and Maroon in late July maybe?


Red toes...
06/12/2009 12:57
What would crossing a stream be for a girl without a fresh pedicure?! It‘s a must-have. I couldn‘t feel my feet after crossing it because it was so cold.

Presto: I also thought Keith did a really great job with that photo!

Keith: We were long-overdue for a climb and I‘m glad the first one was a memorable one for you! Again, you did a great job!

bckcntryskr: That was the first time I‘ve been out with a tele skier and it was really fun to watch!

Bill: The pumps were in the pack and were put on at the top for some summit shots!


A few questions...
06/12/2009 20:04
I just read your reports... Thanks for this....

My son and I are thinking of doing Lindsey next week (Tuesday.... Leave Monday afternoon).

Do you need crampons?

We did Little Bear, Ellingwood and Blanca last year... would like to start with Lindsey this year.

Any suggestions... ??

A few quick questions:

1. How long did it take you to drive to TH?
2. How long was the hike?
3. Other than the ridge was it fairly clear? (we will not ski.. .just hike..)


06/12/2009 20:28
Thanks for the steps you left on the north face, my party was able to follow them to the summit on 6/9... just like we were walking up stairs. The snow was perfect for cramponing for us also. Nice report and good job!


06/13/2009 02:58
I would not have gone near that climb without crampons and axe, and helmet for that matter. It is fairly steep snow all the way from the saddle to the summit, and a slip would be hairy up there. This is not a summer climb and won‘t be for a while. Compare our pictures to Bill‘s in the route description, and you can see there‘s quite a bit of snow.
I‘m not sure exactly, but I‘d guess around 3 and half hours from Parker to the TH; that road goes on forever once you leave the pavement. The hike is about 8 miles.

Thanks everyone for your comments, they are appreciated!


To touch on Keith‘s answers...
06/13/2009 04:27
The climb to the summit took us about 7 hours total (including probably 2 hours of stops), and 5 hours down (including just over an hour of stop time). There is lots of snow up there and like Keith said, it won‘t be clear for awhile. Not taking an axe and crampons wouldn‘t be a smart idea.

Templeton: Glad you found the awesome conditions that we did!!


Thanks guys...
06/14/2009 04:35
Very helpful...


It was so Fun
11/30/2010 17:28
Keith, Rob and Caroline it was a blast meeting you guys. Let's do some more trips.

Damn that was some cold water.

It‘s interesting the differences in the TRs. Seems each person takes away something unique, kinda cool.

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