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Ascent of Challenger Point on 2017-08-19

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Ryan Russ and Billy; HC Laing; Henrique
Date:Saturday, August 19, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Challenger Point
    Location:USA-Colorado
    Elevation:14081 ft / 4291 m

Ascent Trip Report

This may be the last year that this approach to the peak will be a difficult class 2+ full of scree. There is a mountaineering club building a new trail up the slope and it is pretty far along. But it is not open so.....
This was our annual Denver Office 14er trip. Ryan and Billy picked the mountains and the route. I rode Henrique and them in their car and HC Laing met us there and his friend. Later. The car parked at the Willow Creek Trailhead. We backpacked up the easy trail to the very packed camping area around Willow Lake. There are several excellent waterfalls in the area and the cirque above the lake was spilling a lot of water into the east end of the lake.

That evening tame deer bothered our campsite and knocked over much of my gear. In the morning we hiked up as a team above the waterfall. The approach hike on this 14er is one of the best I have done. Beautiful views, interesting volcanic conglomerate rock, waterfalls and wildlife. The trail up Challenger from the cirque is not easy. It currently is class 2+ steep with much lose scree and goes for a long way. I did find that rock and class 3 opportunities were easier than the 2+ scree. Again, this route will be much easier once the new trail is completed.

14ers.com gives an excellent route description stay right of the snow gully and the further you are to the right against the rock fin the better. At the top of the gully you circle behind the rock to the left to stay off class 3 rock and head easily up the peak summit. You can see the clear route down to the saddle between Kit Carson and Challenger. The Kit Carson alley is visible. We climbed Kit Carson next and came back the same way. Spent the night and returned to the car the following day.

This is a hard peak because of the scree route but has great views and Kit Carson is fun
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:5361 ft / 1633 m
    Elevation Loss:441 ft / 133 m
    Distance:6.7 mi / 10.9 km
    Grade/Class:1,2,2+ some 3
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Stream Ford, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:2 nights away from roads
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
45F to 65F beautiful
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:5361 ft / 1633 m
    Extra Loss:160 ft / 48 m
    Distance:6.2 mi / 10.1 km
    Route:Willow Creek Trail to Class 2
    Trailhead:Willow Creek Trail Head Parking  8880 ft / 2706 m
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:281 ft / 85 m
    Distance:0.5 mi / 0.8 km
    Route:East Ridge to col
    Trailhead:saddle between peaks  13800 ft / 4206 m
Ascent Part of Trip: Kit Carson (1 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDate
1Challenger Point2017-08-19 a
2Kit Carson Mountain2017-08-19 b



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