Peak:  Challenger Point (14er)
 Route:  North Slope
 Range:  Sangre de Cristo
 Posted By:  c13mueller
 Date of Info:  10/24/2021
 Date Posted:  10/25/2021

Pretty rough conditions: There was very light snow by the trailhead when we started, but it melted during the day. There was more snow as you approached the lake, but an occasional drift was the only annoying part. There was no need for traction or floatation, but gaiters might have helped. I just slogged through in barefoot shoes knowing I had dry socks, gaiters, and boots in my pack. I put those on at the lake. Wrapping around the lake was also mostly dry. Snow got bad once you entered the shade of the north face. It is actually still mostly dry. There is insufficient snow to climb the couloir routes (Kit Carson too). However, the rocks were extremely icy and large sections of the standard route were buried in drifts. It is too powdery for crampons and too steep for snowshoes/skis. We descended the standard route without issue, but mostly ascended on neighboring rocks. While avoiding a large, steep drift section, we forced ourselves to continue full climber's right to access the western-most aspect of the summit ridge. It worked, but required pretty icy class 3+ scrambling. We managed in microspikes, but you need mountaineering boots with real crampons to really be safe. Also, for the easiest route, you'll want higher than class 2 mixed climbing experience, so you have flexibility to go off course. Obviously, you'll need extremely good route finding skills. Many cairns are buried and route finding only gets worse when you start choosing your own adventure. Remember days are getting shorter: we started and ended in the dark.

Comments or Questions
3+ scrambling
10/25/2021 20:52
Nice job on that! I gained the ridge there last February and it looked super sketch witb snow and ice. I turned not even sure if it went.

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