Kit Carson North Ridge
ElevationAscent: 2,117' 645 m
Descent: -8' -2 m
High: 14,020' 4,273 m
Low: 11,903' 3,628 m
GradeAvg Grade: 36% (20°)
Max Grade: 133% (53°)
Current trail conditions
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“One of the most prolonged class 3 scrambles on any Colorado 14er.”— Tyler Prince
Pass the cliff bands on your right and start to make your way up a short, grassy slope. Outward Bound Couloir, a steep snow route, is up and to your left. Stay right of this and continue up the grass to reach to ridge in 100-200 vertical feet. Toward the end of this, the scrambling starts. Make your way up a steep face and continue to the right to find the true spine of the North Ridge. While there may be some class 4 moves before this point and after, most of the route can be kept to class 3.
Once on the spine, you've got 1000 ft of fun, exposed scrambling on solid rock ahead of you. It's a ton of fun, and there's no reason to spoil it suggesting specific routes. Simply scramble up to around 13,700 ft, where the ridge flattens briefly before ramping up again just below the summit.
As this is a prolonged, exposed, technical route, it is not a good intro to alpine scrambling. That said, it's nothing crazy and is a ton of fun. A definite improvement over Kit Carson's standard route via Challenger Point Trail and Kit Carson Trail.
Due to the grade, descending this trail isn't really an option, so beware that a) it's committing and b) you'll probably have to come back down via Kit Carson Trail and Challenger Point Trail.
Land Manager: USFS - Rio Grande National Forest Office