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Ascent of Challenger Point on 2020-09-06

Climber: Bo Saunders

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Sunday, September 6, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Challenger Point
    Location:USA-Colorado
    Elevation:14081 ft / 4291 m

Ascent Trip Report

A long tough climb. This was redemption for my attempt in 2018 where the weather didn't cooperate. Got a speeding ticket on the way down because I detoured for McDonald's. I knew it was a mistake, but I was starving and not much was open. Unintentionally, I started at almost the exact same time as my first attempt. Made better time up to the lake than I did last time, and thankfully, there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Willow lake is beautiful - really would like to go back up there and camp. There were tons of campers. The North Slope is a grind. From the top of the lake to the notch in the ridge, it was pretty much 1 mile exactly and 2,000 feet of vertical gain. There are lots of paths and cairns, so you can pretty much choose your own adventure. There was a small amount of snow in one of the gullies near the top of the ridge and all paths stay to the right of that - no need to cross the snow. Got to the ridge and it was actually a bit more of a trek along the ridge than I expected to get to the summit. Didn't really hang out on the Challenger summit, I just kept moving. I stayed on the ridge down to the saddle, which was much easier than picking my way across the rocks. My legs were really feeling it by this point, as I'd already climbed well over 5,000 feet. But the hike between the two summits (Kit Carson Avenue) is short and easy. I ran into Heather, Patrick, and Brandon who Woody and I had hiked down Snowmass with just a couple of weeks ago. So random. They had already been up Kit Carson and were passing me on their way to Challenger. They had ascended the North Ridge route on Kit Carson, which looks pretty challenging - Class 4. I chatted with them for maybe 10 minutes so take that into account for my times below. Anyway, the hike up Kit Carson standard route is fun. There's a class 4 gully with more solid rock that you could challenge yourself with - I didn't take that route tho. But the standard route in the class 3 gully was fun. I think the route description takes you right up the middle of the gully but I found the rock and dirt loose there so I climbed up along the left-hand side of the gully for large portions. Some tougher moves, but way more solid. It doesn't take super long to get up the gully and then the summit is right there. Met a girl who was on her first 14er. There was another guy who was out of water, so hopefully he made it back to the lake ok. The hike down wasn't all that bad even tho my legs were suffering pretty bad. I felt like I made decent time and even ran parts of it down despite what my legs had already been through. Ran into Heather, Patrick and Brandon in the parking lot. They gave me a fat tire. A bat landed on Patrick's head. We talked about maybe doing Antero and they had a goal of bagging the Crestones traverse in two weeks, but as of the time of writing, there is a winter storm descending upon Colorado that might dump as much as 4 feet in the Sangres. In fact, it might snow enough that the season is cut short. Anyway, I went to grab food with them at Crestone Brewery. Was hoping to try the yak burger they were talking up but they ran out so I got stuck with a chicken sandwich. Drive home sucked and I didn't get home until almost 11pm, after having left at 4am.
Start: 8:09am
Willow Lake: 10:05am
Turn around point from last time (above lake): 10:22am
Notch in ridge: 11:42am
Summit Challenger: 11:58am
Summit Kit Carson: 12:52pm
Depart Kit Carson summit: 1:07pm
Notch in ridge: 2:08pm
Turn around point from last time (above lake): 3:08pm
Finish: 5:20pm
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:6250 ft / 1905 m
    Total Elevation Loss:6250 ft / 1904 m
    Round-Trip Distance:14.5 mi / 23.3 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Perfect blue bird day, only a few wisps of clouds all afternoon
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:6250 ft / 1905 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 5231 ft / 1594 m; Extra: 1019 ft / 310m
    Loss on way in:1019 ft / 310 m
    Distance:7.3 mi / 11.7 km
    Route:North Slope
    Start Trailhead:Willow Creek Trailhead  8850 ft / 2697 m
    Time:3 Hours 49 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:5231 ft / 1594 m
    Distance:7.3 mi / 11.7 km
    Route:North Slope
    End Trailhead:Willow Creek Trailhead  8850 ft / 2697 m
    Time:5 Hours 22 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: Challenger-Kit Carson

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
1Challenger Point2020-09-066250 ft / 1905 m
2Kit Carson Mountain2020-09-06 
Total Trip Gain: 6250 ft / 1905 m    Total Trip Loss: 6250 ft / 1905 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Bo Saunders
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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