"Kat Carson" / Columbia Point - 13,980'

Date: May 22-23, 2010

RT Distance: 12 miles
Elevation Gain: 5300 ft
Route: Outward Bound Couloir

Partners: Nate, Bill

Short TR:

Nate, Bill, and I packed into Willow Lake Saturday afternoon.  We ended up not wearing snowshoes on the hike in, but we were glad for them on the way out.  There are just a few snow free and semi-level tent sites near the lake.


The wind on Saturday was some of the most impressive we'd ever experienced.  It sounded like a jet engine blowing through the rugged ridge above us and turned the San Luis Valley into a dust bowl.  It didn't diminish over night either and the constant thrashing of the tent made for a pretty sleepless night.


Sunday morning Nate and I left our camp at 5:20A and put the boot track in up the OB Couloir, while Bill opted to stay in camp and hold the tents down.  After cruising up the moderate snow in the main branch of the couloir, we took the narrow left fork which steepened up a bit and deposited us within a few hundred feet of the summit.  The remaining snow and ice covered class 3 rock got our attention but didn't require a rope.  Good thing too since we left it in the truck.


We made the top by 9am, my 84th centennial summit.  The wind was still a force to be reckoned with so we didn't stay long.  From the top we had unique views of nearby fourteener Kit Carson.  There were obvious tracks up Kit Carson but no evidence of anyone recently crossing the Avenue.


We carefully down climbed back to the OB and plunged stepped until the slope was mellow enough for a glissade.  We met five people borrowing our tracks up the OB as we descended.



Pictures (click to enlarge):


We approached in trail runners, and switched to M11's at the headwall


Fun with wind!  Note the dust cloud behind.


View from our campsite


Early morning views of Columbia Point and Kit Carson


The Outward Bound Couloir


Snow scrambling near the summit




Down climbing the OB


Leave yer fishin' rod at home


Back at camp


On the way out