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Ascent of Mount Lindsey on 2020-06-24

Climber: Ndirish35 Ndirish35

Date:Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Lindsey
    Location:USA-Colorado
    Elevation:14042 ft / 4280 m

Ascent Trip Report

Where to begin with this one. The year prior, Harmon and I drove down to the Huerfano/Lily lake TH to attempt to backpack in and have me summit the next day. We got a flat tire, a puncture immediately after getting off on the dirt road, only to realize it 10 miles later. We put the donut on and were somehow able to make it back to Walsenburg, 50 miles away. Of course nothing was open and we have to plug it ourselves with one of those air cans. After going back, we got the alert that we had low tire pressure just before the road got really rough. We also had a great place to pull off. We were very lucky and I now drive the Tahoe with OnStar and signed up for AAA due to the incident. It was very nice to have Garmon along, as he is very experienced at changing tires and it was very difficult on that road. Also in retrospect, we never would have been able to make it to the trailhead and definently would not have been able to backpack to the location and hoped, due to the roughness of the road and the steepness of the trail. Although it limited me to one mountain that summer, it was probably a blessing in disguise.

So I was determined to go back and get it, due to it being the natural progression, having some class 4. I was very nervous due to the misfortune of the year before. It was also to be my first time car camping. I made it past where we had been the previous year and where 14ers.com said to park if you have a 2WD. This ended up added over 6 miles to the hike, which was way more than I thought. I slept pretty well and got going about 4:45. I started very early because I had plans to get Huerfano and Iron Nipple also. There was already a shred of sunlight peaking through at this time, which was very fortunate because the batteries in my headlamp where dying, somehtig I figured out when I got home. Not a quarter mile into the long road walk, there is a pair of eyes staring right at me. They are probably 50 ft away. I stop, start making noises and myself large, but the animal doesn't budge. After what seems like forever I start to inch towards the eyes, and I make out another pair. At this time I realize they are probably deer, and sure enough when I get a little close I can back out a bucks rack. Sweet relief but it did not help my nerves. The hike went pretty well for the next few hours. After the river crossing, the steep section begins and the trail gets harder to follow. The route description says due not fret, stay by the river and you are good. So I am popping through the woods, on whay I now realize writing this is probably a games trail. The sun is up but I am in the woods and it is quite dark. I hear a rustling to my right. I stop and look over and I see a large, what looks like brown bear, taking off and running the other direction. It is about 25 feet from me and all I see is its furry butt heading down a dip. I never saw it again and was absolutely shocked. I had walked up so close I am convinced if it had cubs it would have run the other way and even though I had bear spray due to the reputation of the area, there is nothing I could have done. I stood their for a minute or so then proceeded to get as far away from that area as possible while still heading the correct direction. Ran into my first human of the day half an hour later, aside from on the road and asked him if he had seen the bear. He stated he had seen one in the meadow at the TH so they were out in force. The rest of the climb to the summit went great. The ridge was fun class 3/4 scrambling. I felt very secure the whole time. I asked several people if they were taking the ridge or the gully on the way down, and most people were taking the ridge. Downclimbing the headwall was freaking me out so I was looking for someone to tell me to take the gully and I finally found him. I had not properly researched it as I did not plan on taking it. I don't know how I fucked up so bad, but I ended up going down the wrong gully on the wrong side of the mountain. I saw a trail leading to a gully and just assumed that was the correct way. It was a combination of lack of planning, just being stupid, and pride(not asking to team up with the others taking the gully). I began descending the wrong gully and quickly realized something was wrong. My GPS was saying I was off, but I kept telling myself it would be fine, I cut just cut over to the correct one at some point if I was off. The gully was very scary. Super loose wet rock, several class 4/5 moves, and it was an absolute shooting gallery. If someone had been below me they would have been goners, and the same for someone above me. There were several time I was hanging on by a fingertip having commited to a move. I was banging my legs and arms on rocks, having them fall on me and pin me in, and stopping every 5 minutes to apply first aid. I took a few falls too but was able to stop myself. I eventually decided I had to stop this and just keep moving, as I didn't know if I would be able to regain the ridge and get back the the route. There were point were I was definetly about to panic, and I even had some simeplence of prayer happening. There were almost tears shed. I just had to keep moving. Eventually I was a doable traverse to the crest of the gully and made it over there to look. I could see the trail/route! I looked like if I could make it to the bottom of the gully, I could reascend the ridge without much danger. I decdied to pop over to the next gully, and attempt to traverse across the boulder and talus to prevent loosing all my elevation. After much agony, I realized I was going to make it back to the trail. I just had half an hour of pain and misery left. At this point I saw the folks that took the gully down and it seemed like they were looking for me. I didn't want to yell as they would think I was in trouble and at this point I finally wasn't in any peril anymore. I would soon find out what they were looking at. Once I made it back to the trail the relief was like nothing I had ever felt before. I had ditched my trekking poles right on the saddle so I did have convern for them as there were sections back to the car that were very steep. There was a marmot sitting right where I crested the saddle, and he was very chill. I took a picture and thought that was strange that he wasn't moving. I soon realized that he had been snacking on my trekking poles, almost right where I intersected with the trail, and they were chewed to shreds. I had already decided I didn't care about the poles as long as I made it out alive. I threw them in my pack and started the long trek out. It wasn't 10 minutes after I started down I started to worry about the car. There was a lot of private property around with no parking signs, and after all I had been through that day my mind started racing about "what if the car got towed" "what if a marmot chewed on a line". If the car got towed I knew I was totally screwed. By this point my adrenalin had worn off, and this being my first time down a mountain without hiking poles, I was doing a lot of slipping and sliding. I had it back to the TH and was exhausted and pissed off. I had let the tow thing build in my head wayyy too much. About a mile back down the road a truck came by and I stopped to talk to him. He was an older man looking to climb Lindsey that seemed out of his element. He asked me if he "needed a hardhat". He asked me where I was parked and I told him and he said he hadn't seen any other vehicles in a while. No Tahoe. This absolutely sent me into a panic and I started running. That didn't last long but I surely kept a brisk pace. Every corner I rounded and the car wasn't there was terrifying. Finally I realized that the next corner was the make or break, and low and behold the car was there. I started it up and it was the best feeling ever. Not 20 feet down the road a truck pulls by and waves at me. "The road gets pretty rough that way buddy" No shit. Does it dead end that way "Yes" Then he pulled out his map and I said "dude, I am super late, I have to go." Story over.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Stream Ford, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Headlamp



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