Peak(s):  Mt. Lindsey  -  14,042 feet
Date Posted:  10/18/2009
Modified:  11/07/2009
Date Climbed:   10/17/2009
Author:  jf32
 Lindsey - Northwest Ridge  

Team - JosephG - sunny1 - jf32

This report really starts on October 7th. JosephG and I attempted Lindsey that morning in some very poor conditions. There was intermittent snow/rain, a heavy, low cloud cover that often reduced visibility to less than 50 feet or so, and a steady 35+ mph wind - all coupled with fall snow conditions. We struggled to a notch at roughly 13,600 in the snow gully on the standard route but had enough. We turned around knowing that although we could have reached the summit it was probably smarter to save it for another day when we could enjoy the mountain and the views.

The second outing came together quickly as JosephG and I both didn't want Lindsey to haunt us all winter. Sunny1 was interested as well and the date and time were set. 4am start from Denver with the hope that we'd be on the trail by 8:30. This relatively late start was fine as the weather forecast was for a blue sky day. This trip report wouldn't be complete if I failed to mention that I was still feeling the effects from a very late night prior to getting picked up. Suffice it to say I was not able to drive or operate heavy machinery when I was picked up and knew that at some point I would have to deal with an intense hangover. Oh the choices we make.

We made it to the trail head a few minutes after 8 and were off soon after. Conditions couldn't have been more different than our start a week ago when we decided to take a nap in the car to let the rain/snow ease up. Today the sun was shining and we were greeted to an impressive view of Blanca rising dramatically in the distance.

Blanca from the start of the trail

The trail up until the stream crossing is very obvious and relatively flat. After the crossing it's a different story as we found you must really pay attention to stay on route. A few more markings or cairns would probably be useful as the trail winds through the trees.

sunny1 crossing the stream

Once we popped out of the trees we got to see the snow covered high basin as well as the surrounding area - it was gorgeous. Even though we were here a week ago this view was new and it made me very excited for the views that were waiting higher up.

Looking back after crossing the high basin

Once across the high basin we had to make it up to the saddle between Lindsey and the Iron Nipple.

The path leading towards the saddle

A look over at Blanca and Ellingwood

We reached the saddle with relative ease and were able to see the objective - Lindsey!!!

Here's a shot of Lindsey from the saddle

Here's a shot from our first attempt - note this shot was taken during a 'break' in the clouds.

After assessing conditions I decided that I was going to give the ridge a try. I'm a sucker for solid ridges and this one was calling - especially after the failedeffort in the gully the previous week. I made sure JosephG and sunny1 didn't mind that I was going to leave them and once they gave me the green light I started my scramble. JosephG and sunny1 both opted to attempt the gully on the North face.

I made quick work of the ridge despite my now pounding headache. I arrived at the summit and retreated to the very annoying false summit where I believed JosephG and sunny1 would emerge. I descended the cairned standard trail a bit expecting to soon find my partners. After shouting and making contact with them I realized that I was below and east of them. They were forced by some sketchy snow conditions to abandon the standard trail and scrambled to the ridge. A little traversing and climbing on my part and we were reunited back on the ridge just below the false summit. They had quite a rough time on some fairly difficult terrain but persevered to the ridge and ultimately to the summit. From their description I was very happy to have done the ridge. I decided to wait for them on the false summit prior to making our descent plan. I collapsed on that false summit and enjoyed a few minutes of stillness and the unbelievable views.

me on the ridge as seen from the standard trail

JosephG at the start of the gully

A shot showing the saddle, the Iron Nipple, the upper basin and our approach - from the ridge

The crux on the ascent - ridge approach

A look back down the ridge from atop the crux - ridge approach

A look back down on the improvised gully approach - this is where JospehG and sunny1 gained the ridge.

The Blanca Massif - from the summit

The Crestones looming in the distance

JosephG gaining the summit

JospehG on the summit

sunny1 summit shot

We agreed that the best way down was probably the ridge and we started our descent. The ridge offers a mix of Class 2/3 with one noticeable section of Class 4. We slowly, carefully, and laboriously made our way down. It was a tough fun scramble with a few interesting moves thrown in.

JosephG and me working our way down the ridge

Some fun climbing - jf32

Just past the crux on the descent - 2 hikers (the only other group on the mountain) can be seen trying to pick their line down.

On the descent - sunny1 with the crux as the backdrop

On the descent - JospehG with the Iron Nipple as a backdrop

me and the ridge

The effort was tiring but we finally made it to the saddle and knew that the hard parts were behind us. We had a pleasant hike out and made it back to the car by 6 or so.

It turned out to be a long rewarding day on a mountain that proved to challenge us at every opportunity.

See ya Lindsey

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

10/18/2009 20:52
Looked like a beautiful trip. Nice report. Do you think a CRV could make it to the end of the road? Did you use traction devices?


Great day!
10/19/2009 00:43
John, enjoyed the report and a pleasure to hike with you! thanks for writing this up

Unclegar: A CRV can easily make it to the end of the road. I wore yak trax part of the way only because the tread on my winter boots is less than ideal. JosephG and jf 32 did not use any traction devices (assuming you mean feet and not tires!!)


Lindsey (shakes fist)!!!
10/19/2009 00:19
Way to delve into my psyche--you‘re right, I was cursing Lindsey all last week. Now I can (and do) sleep easy at night! Great TR; really like the compare & contrast pic of Lindsey from the successful summit and Lindsey totally obscured by clouds from our aborted attempt.

Couldn‘t agree more that the ridge is the way to go right now. Can‘t even glissade the gully! The solid, snow-free rock on the ridge was niii-iice.

unclegar--a 2WD you don‘t mind banging around a little could make it to the TH; it‘s no worse than Holy Cross‘s Tigiwon Road (more or less). A CRV or outback should have no problem. No traction used, although the other hikers pictured made liberal use of crampons....


10/19/2009 03:36
for the info sunny1 and JosephG. yes. I meant feet. Had no problem on Tigiwon Rd except riding the brakes all the way down.


11/23/2009 08:11
pics....seemed like a pristine day out

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