Monday, July 20, 2009

Solo fun on Mount Lindsey

Friday after work I drove down to the Lily Lake trailhead with thought of climbing Mount Lindsey first thing Saturday morning. It took me 5 hours to drive from work which is located at the Longmont exit on I-25 to the trailhead, much farther than I was expecting. The main reason that it takes so long is the fact that this trailhead is way back there in the hills. It takes over an hour of dirt and 4x4 roads to reach the trailhead from Gardner Colorado. I arrived about 8pm on Friday and was asleep in the back of my 4runner by 9:30 or so.

Saturday morning about 4am a large group of 5-8 people started talking and making lots of noise at the trailhead waking me up. I laid there looking at the roof of the 4runner willing myself to move. I finally got out of my sleeping bag at around 4:45am to get ready and hit the trail about 5:10am after chugging an energy drink since I did not have any coffee and quickly eating a Clif Bar.

The first 2 miles can be confusing according to trip reports that I have read so I studied the hell out of the map in Roach's book and at the trailhead the night before. It was a good thing that I did because as you get into the thick trees the trail disappears then comes back only to disappear again. Basically after crossing the river (kept to my left to this point) I just angled to my about 50 degrees or so to my left (this is assuming 90 degrees is straight ahead)which is southeast and kept the stream to my right. I ended up picking up the trail again. After a short steep uphill I broke treeline and the rest of the route was laid out in front of me. I move pretty quickly in comparsion to most people so I was expecting to catch or at least be able to see the large group that started in front of me once I hit treeline but they were not in eye sight at this point which I thought was weird, were they that quick?

I pushed up the hill to gain the ridge between the Iron Nipple and Lindsey, what a site! This is a beautiful location. I just followed the standard trail up to the small notch at the top of the 1st gully. From here I got tired of dealing with the loose rock so I turned right and did some class 3/low 4 climbing to gain the ridge and followed the Northwest Ridge the rest of the way to the summit. By the point that I gained the ridge I was past crux wall on this route was able to easily follow the ridge to the summit never going above a class 2/3 climb.

I hit the summit 2 hours and 45 mins after leaving my car this morning. I only spent 15 mins on the top eating, drinking, and snapping pictures. I followed the standard route that I ditched on the way up heading down. This was a loose mess and was happy that I did ditch it going up, by doing that it made for a much more enjoyable climb. I saw the 1st people of the day heading up when I was coming down, I never did see that large group that left before me I have no idea what happened to them. I guess I was the 1st one on top today. On the way down I booked it and came across about 15-20 people total still heading up. Once I got below treeline back into the heavy trees where the trail was disappearing on the way up, I ended up using my GPS watch to follow my tracks back down to pick up the trail again. The trees in this valley are thick enough that I did lose signal a few times on my GPS watch. This valley is easy to get turned around in if you are not careful. It took me 2 hours to get back to my car for a round trip time of 5 hours on the dot car to car. 38 14er mountains down and 20 to go, getting there slowly but surely.

Here is a slide show of the photos that I took: