Mt. Lindsey - Northwest Ridge
Climbing mountains is dangerous! Please read the Mountaineering Safety Page and make sure you have a map+compass and can use them effectively. A GPS or cell phone can be very helpful with navigation but you should still be able to use a map+compass in case your device stops working.
(WINTER) HOLD ON! If you don't have much high-elevation, winter climbing experience, be careful in your planning and take a partner. Even the "easy" 14ers (Quandary, Sherman, Grays & Torreys) can be deadly in winter.
Difficulty: Class 3 
Exposure:More serious exposure that could result in serious injury or death if you fell. Moving past the area will require some scrambling or short technical moves.
Trailhead:Huerfano/Lily Lake
Start:10,700 feet
Summit:14,042 feet
Total Gain:3,500 feet
RT Length:8.25 miles
USGS Quad.:Blanca Peak
County Sheriff:Huerfano: 719-738-1600
 Costilla: 719-672-3302
National Forest:San Isabel
Last Updated:11/2014


- 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 rough, narrow, but still 2WD.
- Continue 0.9 mile and pass the entrance to the Aspen River ranch. The road becomes more difficult.
- Drive 3.4 miles to enter the San Isabel National Forest.
- Drive 0.8 mile and pass a small sign for the Huerfano and Zapata trails.
- Drive 1 more mile to the end of the road at the Lily Lake TH.


First, follow Mt. Lindsey Route #1 to the 13,150-foot saddle between Iron Nipple and Mt. Lindsey. From the saddle, the northwest ridge is in full view and may look intimidating to some. More than 1/2 way up the ridge a crux wall makes this route more difficult than the standard, north face route - Photo #1 and Photo #2. Finding a Class 3 line around the crux is possible but many climbers simply take a direct, Class 4 line up the brief pitch.

Hike southeast along the ridge on a small trail and near 13,200', where the trail turns east toward the north face, stay right and continue up the northwest ridge - Photo #3. As you climb higher, the terrain becomes more rugged and requires some Class 3 scrambling, especially on the ridge crest - Photo #4. As you scramble toward the crux wall (Photo #5), it's clear that the route is becoming more serious. Scramble across a steep area below the ridge crest, down to a notch and up to the base of the crux wall. Photo #6 and Photo #7 were taken in this area and show some of the rugged terrain features.

Photo #8 is a head-on view of the crux wall, showing several options. One way to keep the difficulty at (exposed) Class 3 is to bypass the wall on the left side. If you choose this option, regain the ridge right after the crux wall to avoid loose terrain. If you're comfortable with brief Class 4 climbing, the best option may be just left of the large, vertical crack in the center of the wall - Photo #9. Carefully pick your line and regain the ridge on easier terrain - Photo #10.

Above the crux, continue up the ridge - Photo #11 and Photo #12. As you ascend, the standard route is directly below, so be careful not to tumble rocks off the ridge - Photo #13. Continue to the 14,000-foot false summit on the northwest end of the summit ridge - Photo #14. Hike southeast for nearly 0.2 to reach the summit - Photo #15. Taken from back at the 13,150-foot saddle, Photo #16 is another look at the ridge.


The route is much more stable than the standard, gully route.

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Photo #1 Photo #2 Photo #3 Photo #4 Photo #5 Photo #6 Photo #7 Photo #8 Photo #9 Photo #10 Photo #11 Photo #12 Photo #13 Photo #14 Photo #15 Photo #16

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