Peak(s):  Challenger Point  -  14,086 feet
Kit Carson Peak  -  14,167 feet
Date Posted:  05/31/2005
Date Climbed:   05/28/2005
Author:  Spotswood
 Challenger Peak/Kit Carson Attempt 5/28   

This trip turned into an attempt more than a completion.

Left Willow Creek TH at 4am.
Road up to the TH was clear.
First major obstacle was getting across the 1st stream after 200ft on the trial.
Going accross on a wet log at 4am in the morning was interesting.

Hiking up trees to the headwall takes about a couple of hours fast walking.
This is a beautiful hike and the elevation is increases on a gradual basis with lots of switch backs.
Approaching the headwall you have to cross the river again. This time it was raging but a big log has been laid across and was crossed with ease.

At the top of the headwall the trail became non existent with the snow covering a large portion of the valley below Willow Lake.

Going across the snow was a complete nightmare. Falling in up to our knees and waist was not much fun. (Yes I should have brought snowshoes!!!).
By the time we got to the top of Willow Lake we were pretty shattered.

Looking up the final 2000ft of elevation up to the ridge we decided it was a no go. There was quite a bit of snow in the gulleys and we did not have the gear to be messing around up there so we turned back around.

Although we did not make it this time it is a great hike with awesome views and scenery.

I think the best way to really enjoy this hike is to spent a night at Willow Lake before making the ascent the next morning. With conditions permitting it allows a pretty comfortable attempt at both Challenger and Kit Carson.

By the way the town of Crestone has a pub called "Silver Palace Saloon" which has great food consisting of BBQ not to be missed.



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