Photo
Mt. Lindsey
snow North Couloir
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Difficulty:
 Class 2 
Snow Steepness: Moderate  
Ski/Board: Advanced, D5 / R2 / II  
Risk Factors:Exposure: Moderate
Rockfall Potential: Moderate  
Route-Finding: Considerable  
Commitment: Considerable  
 
Trailhead:Huerfano/Lily Lake
Start:10,700 feet
Summit:14,042 feet
Total Gain:3,900 feet with a high-traverse to the couloir
4,400 feet if climbing the entire couloir
RT Length:8.75 miles
Author:BillMiddlebrook
Updated:3/2019
Weather:NOAA Forecast
Conditions:241 reports
Cell Signal:19 reports
Sheriff:Huerfano: 719-738-1600
 Costilla: 719-672-3302
Forest:San Isabel
Wilderness:Sangre De Cristo
Quad. Maps:Log In to View
Camping:On Google Maps
Eats:On Google Maps
Downloads:Log In to Download
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Trailhead


  • Drive to the town of Gardner, northwest of Walsenburg on Colorado 69.
  • From Gardner, head west for about 1/2 mile on CO 69 and turn west on the road to Mosca Pass.
  • Just after the start of this road, a Forest Service sign states "Upper Huerfano - 21.5" and "Lily Lake Trhd - 22.5".
  • After 7.0 miles the road turns to dirt.
  • Continue 4.8 miles to a junction and stay left on Forest Road 580.
  • Drive 3.4 miles and enter private property where a "Forest Access" sign reads "Upper Huerfano - 5.3 mi."
  • Continue 0.5 mile and stay left at the entrance to the Singing River ranch. The road becomes narrow, but still 2WD.
  • Continue 0.9 mile and pass the entrance to the Aspen River ranch.
  • Drive 3.2 miles to reach the the west side of large, landslide area where the road was re-routed in 2016. If you have 2WD and/or low-clearance, park here and walk the last 2 miles to the trailhead.
  • Now on a narrow and rugged road, continue 2 miles to reach the end of the road, at the Lily Lake TH. There are many dispersed camping spots along the way, including some at the parking area.

Route

Taken from far to the north, 1 and 2 show Mt Lindsey's north face. First, follow the Mt. Lindsey - North Face Route to the 13,150-foot saddle between Iron Nipple and Mt. Lindsey - 3. The north couloir is not visible from here. To reach it, you must drop east ( 4) into the basin between 13er "Huerfano Peak" and Mt. Lindsey. Here are two options to reach the couloir:

1) From the saddle, hike slightly left (north) before dropping right into the drainage ( 5) which runs east from the saddle between Iron Nipple and Mt. Lindsey. Follow the drainage for 3/4 of a mile to reach the base of the north couloir, near 12,300' ( 10).

2) For a higher traverse to the couloir, continue another 50+ yards southeast on the standard route, drop left (east) off the ridge ( 4) and zigzag down the slope to reach easier terrain near 12,800' ( 6). Continue east, at an elevation of 12,800' ( 7), for 1/2 mile to intersect the north couloir ( 9). This option saves you 500' of elevation loss but the traverse involves crossing several shallow gullies.

8 looks back on both options. Enter the couloir and begin climbing ( 11, 12). 13 and 14 show the middle of the couloir. Near 13,800' ( 15), the couloir becomes steeper and you reach the final pitch ( 16). Pick your line and climb to the top of the couloir and summit ( 17). For the descent, the standard (#1) route is probably the best option.

Skiing?

With good snow coverage, the north couloir can provide nearly 1,900' of skiing. Remember, you'll have to ascend back to the 13,150-foot saddle on your way out.

Notes

IMPORTANT: This route enters the Sangre De Cristo Wilderness area. Wilderness areas have special regulations and restrictions for party size, dispersed camping, campfires, etc. Also, dog owners should read the wilderness information carefully because some wilderness areas prohibit dogs to be off-leash and/or limit how close dogs can be to lakes and streams. If you have questions about the wilderness area, please contact a U.S. Forest Service office for the National Forest(s) listed above.
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16 #17
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