Peak(s):  Mt. Lindsey  -  14,055 feet
Navajo Peak A  -  13,409 feet
Date Posted:  06/18/2007
Modified:  07/03/2007
Date Climbed:   06/16/2007
Author:  maverick_manley
 Lindsey NW Ridge   

Mountains: Mt. Lindsey (14,047')
Route: Started at Huerfano / Lily Lake TH and climbed the NW Ridge route to summit.
Elevation Gain - 3500'
Roundtrip Mileage - 8.25 miles
Roundtrip Time - 10 hours (approx)

Brian (Lordhelmut) and I drove out to the Lily Lake TH on Friday afternoon with ambitious plans for the weekend. The intention was to warm up on the Class 3/4 NW ridge on Lindsey, my first venture into the Sangres, and then drive out to South Colony lakes for the Peak-Needle traverse. The dirt road to the TH was pretty straight forward and any 4X4 should have no problem at all. There were a ton of sweet campsites along the road. We set up camp at the TH with plans for an early start. We weren't expecting anything out of the ordinary.

We set out at 5AM the next morning and got to the basin after a few minutes walk on level trail. There were some spectacular views of the Iron nipple but it wasn't light enough for photography. We got to the creek crossing in about 10 minutes and it was a burgeoning mess. We found a pathetic excuse for a log bridge that wasn't serving any useful purpose. Brian tested it and we decided it was futile to cross over it. The water ran too fast and deep. We found a dude there who'd lost his boot trying to cross (how??). After scouting the area for a few minutes we decided to take our boots off and wade across the knee deep water. It was %&^#&' freezing. After crossing and using our shirts to dry our feet we resumed the hike through the forest. The crossing cost us a bunch of time. A group of three others found a small elevated platform a few dozen yards downstream from where they could launch themselves over to the other side.

We got to the boulder field described in the route pages at about 6AM.

There was a bunch of bushwhacking to be done too and it was evident we weren't following any route description in particular.

We hiked up the field and left the trees. We then descended to the level of the creek and found a nice easy snow gully to get up to the basin. The snow probably obscures the summer trail.

Here's looking back down at the gully, our route marked in red and the route taken by the three others who'd passed us at the creek crossing (marked in blue)... here's a tip... take our route.

We got up to the basin and got our first good look at Lindsey...

Snow banks cover the summer trail at several spots... there wasn't too much post holing earlier in the morning though. We got to the ridge at the other end of the basin and started up it. The trail on the ridge was pretty dry. Here's looking down at it.

Here's some Blanca / Ellingwood beta... go get 'em

We got up to the saddle between the Iron Nipple and Lindsey and the stately NW ridge loomed up in front of us.

We started up the mostly 2+ ridge with some class 3 scrambling and moved on quickly

We got close to the crux and the terrain started becoming a little more class 3-ish.

We got up to the crux and were face to face with this fun wall...

Here's looking down at the route from halfway up the crux. There's a little ice on it.

Once past the crux there's the false summit...

And then the real summit...

Here's looking at the Blanca group again...

We spent a while on the summit with the other group of climbers we'd met earlier at the creek. On the descent the other group chose to glissade down a short distance and then re-climb the saddle past the crux.

While we decided to go back down the ridge...

Here's a tip though... do what the other climbers did if possible. They saved themselves a lot of time and got ahead of us. It was pretty easy to get off route on the descent down the ridge and I found myself down-climbing several extremely hairy cliff bands.

Here's looking down at a couple climbers and dog on the Northface route which is now snow filled and should be a pretty fun snow climb. The snow is icy at spots and crampons could be necessary at the steeper sections close to the top of the couloir.

Clouds started building as we got off the ridge... here's a closer look at Blanca... must come back for this one soon.

There was rain, hail and thunder when we got below treeline. Blanca has some pretty strong relations with Thor and those clouds built pretty damn fast, reminding me of doumall and killingcokes' unplanned night out in a snow cave on this very mountain. We were totally soaked when we got to the car. Dry socks, boots and clothes were not a luxury we were granted for the Needle ascent the next day.

Comments or Questions
Great TR!
11/30/2010 17:28
I'm planning on doing Lindsey on sunday and I have a great idea of what to expect!

Thanks Brian / native_mtnguy
11/30/2010 17:28
Pogo stick would've been sweet...

Mtns of Freedom
Thanks a ton!
11/30/2010 17:28
Great job photo-documenting the route. I know that takes a lot of extra time and slows the pace, but this is extremely helpful to me as I'm planning to do Lindsay July 7th. I attempted this peak late last Oct but didn't get an early enough start, was trudging through waiste deep snow without proper gear, and just couldn't make the summit and be off before dark. Your photos are a tremendous help buddy!

You mentioned doing Little Bear, Blanca & Ellingwood and how the storms build over there. I did those last year July 4th weekend and was really shocked by how the storm builds over the ridge between Blanca and Little Bear, then actually backs in towards the west before moving out to the east. Be aware of that and get the peaks done early. We were off the summits by 10:30/11:00 am and that was just BARELY enough time. Drive as much as you possibly can on that 4WD road going up to the basin between those peaks too. On the way back you'll be thankful!

Well put
02/05/2011 00:22
Burgeoning Mess is a dead on description for that creek. Maybe next time we'll come prepared with a pogo stick. Nice TR, you do a solid job showing the terrain and route status. That was definately a perfect warm-up for the Needle.

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