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Kit Carson North Ridge

 4.7 (3)
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Map Key

1.1 Miles 1.8 Kilometers


48%

Runnable

2,117' 645 m

Ascent

-8' -2 m

Descent

36%

Avg Grade (20°)

133%

Max Grade (53°)

14,020' 4,273 m

High

11,903' 3,628 m

Low

Shared By Tyler Prince

Conditions


Unknown

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One of the most prolonged class 3 scrambles on any Colorado 14er.

Tyler Prince

Dogs No Dogs

Features Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Dogs will not be able to climb the class 3-4 terrain on the North Ridge.

Runner Notes

From the rocky fields below the ridge to the ridge itself, this route is hard to navigate and requires many technical moves. It is not runnable.

Description

From the top of the Willow Lake Trail above Willow Lake's stunning cliffs, look southeast for a set of cliff bands. Your goal is to run just past these to the bottom of the North Ridge. For easier terrain, stay low in the basin and run along a stream to this point. Alternatively, talus-hop about 0.7 miles past the lake to reach the bands.

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.

Flora & Fauna

Once on the ridge itself, there's not much other than pika and marmots.

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Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 3 votes

#2

in Crestone

#4495

Overall
  4.7 from 3 votes
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#2

in Crestone

#355

in Colorado

#4,495

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614 Since May 1, 2015
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