Mt. Lindsey, Unnamed 13,848 and Iron Nipple

28-29 Jul 2001 - by Chris Long (view roster page)

Mt. Lindsey, 14,043 feet
UN 13,848, 13,848 feet
Iron Nipple, 13,240 feet

This weekend I was supposed to climb the Maroon Bells. However, this year as last year, the weather spoke up and said something else. We decided on a trip to Mt. Lindsey and a couple of 13ers in the Sangre De Cristo range in southern Colorado.

The drive south to Walsenburg and then west went easy enough. After a little while, the dirt road leading to the trailhead became a little rough. Mike and John parked the Subaru they were in and got in with Tracey and I. After a few miles with one pretty rough section, we arrived at the trailhead.

Gary Hellenga adds:

We did this climb this weekend, and it was great - also one of the easier climbs of a 14'er I've done recently. I confess this trip report caused us to initially decide to take the "normal" N Face route instead of the NW Ridge, but partway over to the gully, we decided scrambling on rock would be preferable to dealing with scree, so traversed back up to the Ridge route anyway.

Saturday evening was chilly at the basin at 12,000' - there was even still frost in the Huerfano River basin near the trailhead when we got out yesterday. There is very little surface water left in the basin, so anyone headed up to camp there should try to fill up an extra water bottle or two where the trail crosses "Nipple" Creek.

We donned our packs and started the hike in. There were two options for camping. One was to camp about a mile in near the river and the other was to hike in further to tree line.

When we got to the first spot, we met up with a guy that was coming down. He said there was plenty of good camping near tree line, so we continued up. The views were beautiful. All the flowers were in bloom and the trail stays next to a mountain stream.

We arrived at tree line and found a suitable location and set up camp. The weather was perfect and I took a short nap in the tent. I awoke a little later and made some dinner. I continue to be impressed by my Snowpeak Gigapower stove. It is small, lightweight and hot.

There were views to the north of the Crestones and Kit Carson Mountain. Mt. Blanca and Ellingwood peak were just to the west and we thought we could see Lindsey and Iron Nipple to the southeast.

We bedded down for the night. Sometime during the night, I was awakened briefly by a loud rockslide in the direction of Iron Nipple.

We awoke early and were moving our way up by headlamp. We had to lose a little elevation to get where we needed to be, but it was minimal. We picked our way up the trail, which was pretty steep at times. Just before we arrived at the saddle, the route crossed a talus field.

At the saddle, John, Mike and I stopped to get a snack and put on some sun block. Tracey decided to keep going as she thought she was moving slowly.

After about five minutes or so, we started again. The route we were taking was supposed to go straight up the ridge from the saddle. I didnt see Tracey there, so I kept going figuring I would see her eventually. Some parts of the ridge were lower 5th class. There were a couple of spots in particular that we had to down climb that were difficult.

I finally saw Tracey. She stayed on the trail and was taking the gully route left of where we were. We continued up the ridge. Some sections were exposed and it would be bad to fall, so we didnt. The crux of the ridge turned out to be the down climb sections on the first part of the ridge. It looked like you could traverse in under the cliffs in the beginning to avoid them.

At the top of the ridge, I thought I saw the summit. It wasnt too far. When I got to the top of it though, I could see the real summit across a ridge and two guys coming down it. I started across meeting up with them half way. They said that Tracey was on top looking for us.

I arrived at the top with Tracey in no time and felt pretty good. I signed the register, got a snack and took some pictures. There were more beautiful views all around. I could even see Pikes peak again.

John and Mike arrived and we rested a little before heading down. We took the standard route on the way down which involved some loose and steep stuff on occasion.

Back at the saddle we took another little break. We decided to do the unnamed centennial 13er first and Iron Nipple second. We went around the base of the right side of Iron Nipple and a little down climbing got us to the other side of it. It was straight forward walking on the other side up to the top of UN 13,848.

Not many people climb this peak. The register had been here since 97. There were several names I recognized though including Gerry Roach.

I was not feeling that great on this peak. I was starting to get a headache. John was getting tired also. I was thinking of skipping Iron Nipple. On the way toward it, I ate some more food and started feeling better. Tracey convinced me to go for it and John also decided to go for it.

There was a little scrambling to get to the top, but not bad. I sat down on the top and rested for a bit. I also had some more food. It looked like you could go straight down a gully to the bottom, but John was skeptical. I went ahead and did some route finding. I couldnt see all the way to the bottom and decided I was too tired to climb back up if I made a mistake, so I took the sure route.

I ended up between these cool looking cliffs and took a little break there while everyone else caught up. We started moving again and had to down climb about six feet to flat ground. From there, it was an easy walk to the saddle and back down the way we came up. I took another short nap in the tent. When I awoke, I took down the tent and stuffed everything in my pack. The trip down was beautiful, but uneventful.

Gary Hellenga adds:

We did this climb this weekend, and it was great - also one of the easier climbs of a 14'er I've done recently. I confess this trip report caused us to initially decide to take the "normal" N Face route instead of the NW Ridge, but partway over to the gully, we decided scrambling on rock would be preferable to dealing with scree, so traversed back up to the Ridge route anyway.

Saturday evening was chilly at the basin at 12,000' - there was even still frost in the Huerfano River basin near the trailhead when we got out yesterday. There is very little surface water left in the basin, so anyone headed up to camp there should try to fill up an extra water bottle or two where the trail crosses "Nipple" Creek.


To file a trip report, please fill in the
Report Entry form or contact the webmaster.