Peak(s):  Crestone Peak  -  14,294 feet
Ellingwood Point  -  14,042 feet
Mt. Lindsey  -  14,042 feet
Date Posted:  06/20/2009
Date Climbed:   06/14/2009
Author:  Nelson
 3 more peaks in the Sangres.  

Continued from my Little Bear report:

With LB under our belts the only peak we had left around Lake Como was Ellingqwood point. We knocked this off on Sunday the 14th . In these conditions it was basically a crampon cruise and , having started at 4am we summitted before 7 and took only a couple of photos as the sun was not yet up. Image Image Image

We headed for camp and repacked and went back to the car. Image

We then headed for Gardner and the Huerfano Trailhead. As was mentioned in previous reports the water on the Huerfano is high and we were prepared to wade it but found a combination of logs and rocks about 50 ft. up stream which were good enough to get across without getting wet. As we worked our way up onto the saddles between the Iron Nipple and Lindsey the wind became intense. Image The north couloir was out of the wind Image but as we traversed onto the summit ridge we bore the full brunt of the wind. Image The traverse is steep and had hard snow making crampons a must. Image When we were on the summit we estimated it to be a sustained 50 mph. Coming back we staid on the lee side of the ridge and it was not too bad. Image We passed two Polish guys on the way down. Image When we got to where we had stashed the ski poles we found a marmot working out on my handles. He pretty much chewed them off. Image The walk back was not bad until we got to the woods at about 11,400 where we could not avoid the snow and postholing. As we got back to the river Tyson could not resist the temptation to jump in and cool off. Image He lasted about 1 second in the cold water before he was out!

The Huerfano valley is absolutely packed with wildlife including deer Image , Elk and Big Horn sheep. Image This made spectacular scenery even more spectacular and was the perfect finish for a great day.

At this point Tyson and I split up. He had to go back to work and I wanted to go to South Colony lakes to do Crestone Peak. Unlike the last time the drive to the upper trailhead was very doable and there were several vehicles parked there. The walk to the Lower Lakes was easy. You can follow the summer trail about 90% of the time and there was almost no postholing. I got to the lower lake about noon on the 16th and set up camp. Image I wanted to get a look at the route to Broken Hand Pass so I took a little walk to check it out. Up to 12,000 ft it is pretty dry and then it is covered by a fair amount of snow. Image Early in the morning it is pretty hard and I actually put on crampons but it gets very soft very fast (major postholing on the way back). I was fortunate enough to get very close to a family of big horn sheep and get some pictures. Image I started for the summit at 3:30 am on the 17th and the trip up was very straightforward. Image There is a lot of snow in the south couloir and at that time of day it was very firm. When I got to the saddle between the two summits I began some fairly exposed mixed climbing (rock and snow). I slowed down accordingly and was on the summit at 8 am. Having taken some pictures I headed down in very good conditions and was at the bottom of the couloir in about an hour. Then the fun began. By 9:30 things were very soft and I was postholing almost every step back to the pass. I was hoping it would be better on the north facing side down to my camp but it seemed like it was even softer. My boots were very wet but I had a great day and got up on a great Peak.

That finishes my prep for Denali. In 4 weeks I had summitted 12 14ers and had failed on 3 others. I spent 12 nights out camping and schlepped the big pack up to high camps at Lake Como, South Colony Lakes and Chicago Basin. The weather at the start had been very bad but it got much better in the Sangres over time. I'm in as good a shape as I can be in and am fairly well acclimatized. I leave tomorrow and feel confident that if I get the weather I will do ok.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Great pics !
06/21/2009 04:15
That is a great shot of the snow-filled gulley leading to Lindsey‘s summit ! Best of luck to you on Denali.


06/21/2009 20:35
Good luck on Denali. Great reports.


06/21/2009 22:14
I agree with Mtngirl, I tried to get a good shot of that gulley but failed to show how steep it was.


06/23/2009 01:50
I‘m hitting the Crestone group next week. I‘m wondering if crampons are a necessity for the area this time of year, or do boots do alright without ‘em?

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