Kit Carson Peak  
Condition Updates  
Route: Via Challenger Point
Posted On: 2021-09-18, By: Sapper36
Info: Did C/KC via Willow Lake. The scree, deteriorated trail on the upper reaches of Challenger is not fun, but not horrible. The route up KC from the avenue is fairly obvious, but doesn't take advance nav skills either. We went up climbers right gully and came down the earlier gully marked with large cairn. The latter had less loose debris, rocks. 
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Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2021-09-13, By: pboldt94
Info: Did Kit Karson and Challenger via South Colony Lake (East Ridge). Low winds, sunny and hot! Prepare for a lot of ridgeline. Enjoyed this non-standard approach. Route finding was not too bad. Lots of cairns and varying routes. Much easier on the return hike. For those interested in distances/elevation for both summits, I ended with 15.5 miles and 6,600 feet of elevation gain, similar to that of the standard route. Parked at the upper trailhead at south colony. Tough seeing mountain rescue come in for Crestone tragedy as I was getting back into my car. Feel free to reach out with questions about the route. 
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Route: Via Challenger Point
Posted On: 2021-08-29, By: durkan
Info: Beautiful conditions out! Surprised those peaks were still holding some snow (it should be stated it is all avoidable, full summer conditions). Great trail switchbacks up to Challenger to about 12.2~12.4k feet, so to me made it feel less miserable than advertised. But that misery catches you quick 600ft below the notch in the ridge. After Challenger, the Avenue was quick travel. Took the dotted route up to Kit Carson after because why mess with loosy goosy rock? 
Route: Via Challenger Point
Posted On: 2021-08-09, By: tsand
Info: Good weather, not super smoky. We went from the TH around 3:45am and finished around 4:15pm and that was hiking pretty quickly. Like many others have said, Challenger is a doozy. The trail is still a mess and not fun to descend. Once through the notch, there isn't a really a trail, just rock-hopping to the summit and over to the Avenue. 
Route: Willow Creek Approach
Posted On: 2021-07-31, By: geneseejen
Info: Note - there are water resupply points (small streams) starting around 10.3K, well before Crossing Willow Cr at around 10.9K. 
Route: Spanish Creek
Posted On: 2021-07-25, By: dlintz
Info: We descended the Spanish Creek approach on 7/24/21 after summiting Kit Carson via Columbia Peak. Strong thunderstorms created flash flooding shortly after we crossed the higher of the three log bridges. We watched as rising waters swept the second log bridge away. We were forced to ascend 500 feet up a muddy slope to the south and escape down the next drainage. Long story short, all of the log crossings in the lower portion of the Spanish Creek approach are gone and will need to be replaced. 
Route: North Ridge
Posted On: 2021-07-10, By: Bradenkerrco
Info: Summited Kit Carson first via north ridge. Ridge is dry, there are a few snowfields to cross when hiking below the cliff bands but can be avoided with the new trail. We didn't have to cross any snow. Hiked down Challenger Point route, the Avenue is dry, no gear needed. Lots of mosquitos right now. 
Route: Via Challenger Point
Posted On: 2021-07-10, By: JROSKA
Info: Small patches of snow remain on parts of the Avenue but it is all avoidable. Summer conditions. 
Route: North Ridge
Posted On: 2021-07-13, By: zmokrycki
Info: started from the TH at 03:45. MOSQUITOES GALORE. definitely bring your bug spray, long pants, long sleeves, a jacket, and whatever else will keep you covered. hike was fairly straightforward to the lakes. Followed the trail to the junction and started following just the GPX we had. with 2 very experienced route finders, we were strained to find signs of a trail. followed the pictures as best we could until the OB couloir. started heading for the ridge, found our way into some ^class 4 stuff, maybe class 5 at times but just kept working our way towards the ridge. rock was mostly solid, and the more advanced moves felt stable. It really seemed like forever to get onto the ridge, but once we were there (13,500?) it was obvious what the actual route was. from where we climbed, the difficulty went down on the ridge. north ridge was free of snow. the avenue had minimal snow on it, and nothing we had to cross. we finally descended challenger via a long couloir that we slid a few hundred feet down. I would absolutely not attempt this without an ice tool. 
Route: Via Challenger Point
Posted On: 2021-06-29, By: Camden7
Info: Successful but snowy ascents of Adams and Challenger, then an icy and snow choked crossing of the avenue, and a safe but verglas coated climb of Columbia Point's North Ridge. Due to weather concerns we didn't summit KC, but have lots of beta. 1) challenger is in good summer condition, aside from one major snow crossing. We encountered a few inches of fresh snow up top, but that should melt very quickly. 2) KC avenue is icy and dangerous, we had no traction devices, but I would consider an ice axe mandatory, although it should become a lot better in the next week or two. 3) KC summit wall/gully is snow free and mostly dry, but had a pretty good streak of verglas in the very center. All in all, it is doable now, but will be great in a week or two. 
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Route: Via Challenger Point
Posted On: 2021-06-09, By: tjfoelix
Info: Route up to Willow Lake is almost completely dry. Some avoidable snow up Challenger slopes. The actual trail is covered in spots and if you end up right or left of it the terrain can get sketchy so follow it best you can. Kit Carson still unsafe as avenue is full of snow and ice. I would not attempt this until it is dry in July. Not worth the risk but that is my opinion. My buddy and I got Challenger no problem and did not summit Kit Carson. Had we had crampons and axes (just had microspikes) we might have but we both agree this route should be dry. Even if we had crossed getting back would be more dangerous and one slip would be fatal. Definitely made the right decision (for us) to turn around and climb another day. Another Update: Opposite side of avenue also loaded with snow. Seen from crestone peak. I added photo. 
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Route: Outward Bound Couloir
Posted On: 2021-06-05, By: RWSchaffer
Info: The trail is dry to the stream crossing below the headwall. From there to the lake, the trail is majority dry, but occasional patches of snow require postholing and the trail is sometimes wet and muddy from snowmelt. From the lake to the base of the O.B. Couloir is again mostly dry with only occasional patches of snow to deal with. Spikes may be useful in places, floatation is unnecessary. Crampons and ice axe are mandatory for the O.B. Couloir climb. The O.B. Couloir is nicely filled with snow (photo 1). The slopes beyond it also have decent coverage, both to the rib (photo 2) and beyond the rib to the ridge (photo 3). There was even some snow on the ridge where I reached it (photo 4), though the final stretch below the summit was dry (photo 5). The snow was generally supportive, with one or two kicks resulting in a firm foothold. Icy areas sometimes required a bit more effort, but it was rare that snow was not supportive. Snow in the O.B. Couloir was deep; I could count on planting my ice axe handle to its head for self-belay. Not so on the western slopes where most areas have a foot or less. The base of the O.B. Couloir and below receive early sunhit. With a marginal overnight freeze, this snow was already softening by 7:30 AM. By the time I was off the snow (1:00 PM for the western slopes and 2:00 PM for eastern slopes), surface snow was very wet. Still, it was possible to glissade the base of the O.B. Couloir and the snow field below, thanks to firm underlying snow and a steep slope angle. The final two photos show Challenger Point from below and above. 
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Route: Via Challenger Point
Posted On: 2020-10-13, By: timewarp01
Info: Two short snow fields on the upper half of the Challenger wall below the ridge. Very hard packed so no postholing but pretty slippery on the way down. Traction would help but probably not worth it since they're so small. 
Route: Via Challenger Point
Posted On: 2020-10-06, By: kristin_palumbo
Info: Mirroring previous reports. Handful of snow patches going up Challenger. Spikes not required, but were helpful. We did not use them while going up but did put them on while descending and it made it a bit easier. We wished we used them on the way up. Honestly, the snow patches are a nice reprieve from the loose dirt/rocks/scree going up Challenger. Snow on Avenue is 100% avoidable. Beautiful day! No wind on the summit at all! 
Route: Via Challenger Point
Posted On: 2020-10-04, By: Sawneagle
Info: Kit Carson via Challenger Route is bare up to about 13,000 feet. At this point, there is intermittent snow. I went up 2-3 sections of somewhat post-holed snow without microspikes (I had them in my pack) to Challenger Point. Challenger Point to Kit Carson - ALL snow is avoidable and pretty minimum to include the Avenue. All in all - I did not use my microspikes, however some people may like them on the descent for a little extra stability. 
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Route: Via Challenger Point
Posted On: 2020-10-03, By: GraceU2DSummit
Info: Great conditions. Still snow on the north face of Challenger that is avoidable but on “the route”. The Avenue has a patch of snow that is also avoidable but gets you near the edge (not a big deal unless you're concerned about the exposure. 
Route: Via Challenger Point
Posted On: 2020-10-02, By: Piotr
Info: Kit Carson Avenue appears to be free of snow, here is the picture from Crestone Peak on 10/01 
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Route: Via Challenger Point
Posted On: 2020-09-26, By: mountainmaestro
Info: Avenue still has snow but you can largely avoid it if you want to. I still recommend spikes but many would say it is overkill. 
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Route: Via Challenger Point
Posted On: 2020-09-20, By: terrysrunning
Info: Going up around 8am, didn't use traction. Didn't even need it going to Kit Carson, Columbia, and Kitty Kat. Coming back in the pm, the thousand feet coming down off Challenger to the basin were awful. Traction required, and still uncomfortable at times. Definitely goes though. A 75 year old guy did it the same morning I did, although he didn't continue on, so went down earlier and it might have been better. See my report under Challenger for pics 
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Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2020-09-16, By: k_fergie
Info: East Ridge to KC is 99% snow free, no spikes needed. KC Avenue is loaded up heavy with snow, spikes may not be absolutely required, but it'd be gutsy to go without them if you're trying to get both KC and Challenger, I certainly was glad to have them with. The first photos shows the 'start' of the avenue being actively wind loaded with snow. My tracks were nearly completely gone after 30-40 mins.....at this rate its probably 5+ feet deep. The second photo shows the upper face, basically snow free 
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