Peak(s):  Challenger Point  -  14,086 feet
Date Posted:  06/05/2005
Date Climbed:   06/04/2005
Author:  WillyGoat
 Dated Kit Carson / Married Challenger 6/4/05   

Did Challenger and attempted Kit Carson on 6-4-05. My plan was to ski Kirk Couloir but wound up carrying my skis to 12,000 and never putting them on.

Camped at the Willow Creek trialhead left the trail at 3:15 am. No snow on the trial until about 11,000. Snow cover is pretty limited even up high in the Sangres. Forecast was for partly cloudy, but clouds rolled in early and never left. Above 13,000' visibility was usually about 30, with light snow on and off. If anything it got colder during the day. It was clear that the only reason to carry my skis up the couloir would be for exercise. I was not going to ski this route with firm icy spring snow and no visibility.

The route up Kirk Couloir is straight forward. Good snow most of the way up. Though it is getting thin up top and may not be fully covered much longer.

At the saddle I started to poke around to find the route up Kit Carson. Patches of snow and not being able to see made it a real puzzle. I had heard it was not technical, but I kept winding up on Class 4 climbing and not knowing where I was in relation to the summit. After about an hour I decided to pull the plug and save it for a day with better conditions. Went back to the saddle and summited Challenger which is a walk up following the ridge from the saddle.

Glissaded down the Couloir to pick up my skis. Walking out was not bad as the snow was still firm and the trial was pretty well pounded out. Back at my van at 1:30 pm for a RT time of 10 hours 15 min. Would have been quicker if I had not eaten up so much time on Kit Carson and not been carry 20 lbs. of AT ski gear that I never used.

Overall a good trip and I look forward to going back and climbing Kit Carson this summer.

Will H.
Durango, CO

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