Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mt. Lindsey (8/2/09)

Route Name: North Face (standard route)
Start Elevation: 10,691 ft.
Summit Elevation: 14,042 ft.
Elevation Gain: 3351
Round-trip Mileage: 8.42 mi (according to my GPS, 8.25mi. according to the books)

Hike Summary

What an exciting hike (and drive) it is on Mt. Lindsey. This is one of the more secluded 14ers in that it is quite a distance to anything civilized. The drive from Gardner (Which is itself a very small town) is 22 miles. We ended up grabbing 2/3 lb. burgers at Gunny's Grill in Gardner (fantastic food and service) at about 7:30pm (after hiking Crestone Peak in the morning/afternoon) and drove into the Lindsey trailhead (Lily Lake). It was a beautiful drive and as we got farther in there it progressively got darker. We'd heard the road got a little rougher as we drove along, but having driven the South Colony road earlier in the day this road was a delight to the very end. It was o-dark-hundred when we reached the Lily Lake trailhead and we ran into a pair of hunter-types coming up the trail in the dark. They said they'd seen a mother bear and cub down in the big meadow just down the trail. Given the dark and bear-like conditions we decided (three of us) to sleep in our Dodge Durango.

After a not-so-comfy night we hit the trail around 6am. What a pleasant hike. The meadow was awesome, the views of the Blanca group were awesome. The trail-finding was not so great. As you hike through the forest sections you will often find split trails, if you're lucky, they end up coming together again 100 feet down the road. One key we found (and have heard elsewhere) is not to ascend too early. There is a boulder field you want to hike past and you end up ascending in a drainage with a small stream running through it. If you see the mine at 11500 you're on the right path. The basin above the initial 800 feet of hiking was spectacular. If you could find a good water source up there this would be a great place to camp a few days.

The weather was perfect for this hike, almost too perfect given the amount of sun we were taking on. We only ran into 4 or 5 groups on the trail and so we were often hiking only with the joys of the wilderness.

We decided to hike the north face (Standard) route. While we've done hikes like the Crestones, Little Bear, and Pyramid, we still avoid exposure when we can. Hiking the initial gully was not all that bad. We mostly stayed on the rocks to the right which made for some easy scrambling. There was snow left at this time in the year.

At the top of the notch we did some creative route-finding. We apparently did not read the route description photos as well as we should have. We were also at this point with another gentleman (who had two amazing dogs with him) who had been up here 5 years ago. He didn't quite know the correct route either. He went straight up (vertically) from the notch which is a very steep climb. We ended up following him. This route, while very steep (Google Earth's elevation profile puts the worst at a 71% angle) and somewhat exposed did gain the summit ridge, leaving a very easy climb to the end. In the pictures I have below I show what we did wrong in terms of following the standard route.

Once you gain the summit ridge, there is the large false summit, "Northwest Lindsey", but an easy hike from there.

From the summit of Mt. Lindsey


On my 14er hikes I use a Nokia N800 Internet Tablet with bluetooth GPS to create a GPX track. There is an amazing program called Maemo Mapper that facilitates this. I have put the track files from this hike into a KML file for download:

My Track


My photos from the wonderful Mt. Lindsey climb:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Crestone Peak (8/1/09)

Route Name: South Face/Red Gully
Start Elevation: 11,680 ft.
Broken Hand Pass Elevation: 12,955 ft.
Low Point: 12,243 ft.
Summit Elevation: 14,294 ft.
Total Elevation Gain: 3,326 ft.
Round-trip Mileage: 6.3 mi (according to my GPS)


In 2008, David, Denny (Dad) and I made an attempt on Crestone Peak and ended up turning around. We found the snow in the upper gully, which was quite expansive, to be a little out of our desired range of hiking.

Skip forward to 2009. We're two weeks later in the summer, in a light snow winter, and the red gully is getting near empty of snow. Of course this meant driving that accursed road up to South Colony Lakes again. Last year we had a Jeep Wrangler and did pretty well on the road. This year we drove a Dodge Durango. We *thought* that thing had ground clearance, well not on the South Colony Road. We probably scraped 7 or 8 big rocks on the way up. Thankfully at least we were able to get up this road one more time before they closed the upper half down.

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