of Kit Carson Mountain
Sangre de Christo Range, Colorado
by Steve Bremner, David French, Greg Zoelick, and Sam the Wolfdog
July 18th, 1999
Having climbed Crestone Peak on July 17th, our next objective was Kit Carson Peak, well to the east. Greg Zoelick, who had slept in his truck that night, joined us at our tent sight on Lower South Colony Lake just before dawn. David French and I were ready for the day. We departed around 0630 on the trail up to upper South Colony Lake.
Our initial objective was "The Bear's Playground", a high flat meadow at 13,000 feet, towering over the South Colony Lakes. The problem was how to reach it from below. There wer a series of gullies/couloirs going up, but they all looked pretty daunting from our view point by upper South Colony Lake. We finally aimed to the right where a less steep gully rose to the plateau.
Greg went up first, quickly reaching the top. I was next followed by Dave--we went up one at a time to avoid loose rock hazards.
In the meadow the mists blew through revealing only occasional glimpses of the surrounding peaks.
While I took the low and more direct route following the cairns in a traverse below the ridge, Dave and Greg ascended to the ridge. They were able to bag the 13er on the ridge crest--one of Colorado's highest 200 peaks.
We met at "Disappointment Ridge". I arrived fifteen minutes before Greg. Then about ten minutes later we heard Dave calling from the mists. Following our voices he was able to find us.
Continuing along the ridge we first ascended "Kitty Cat Carson", then dropped slightly in elevation before going up "Kat Carson", at 13,980' one of Colorado's highest 100 peaks. In the fog and mists we initially had some problem finding the route down to the saddle between Kat and Kit. I went over to one edge, peered over into the mist, and reported back--"We're not going that way!" Though I couldn't see the bottom it was precipitous to the extreme.
Dave decided at that point that he'd had enough fun for the day and elected to wait for Greg and I on Kat's summit. The drop from Kat to the saddle looked pretty technical, so Sam waited with Dave.
Greg and I moved out quickly, reaching the summit in less than half an hour from Kat. Greg wandered out to the point west. On a good day he would have a nice view of Challenger Point. In November I returned to this area and climbed Challenger and Kit Carson from Willow Lake--giving Sam credit for the 14er.
In less than an hour altogether we rejoined Dave and began the long traverse back to "The Bear's Playground" and eventually the South Colony Lakes.
Much later we were bouncing down the rough road in Greg's 4-wheel drive Ford truck. I so admired that truck's ability to "eat up" that rough track that I eventually bought one myself.
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