- Date Hiked: June 3, 2012
- Miles Hiked: 11.0
- Elevation Gain: 6,500'
- Hiking Partner(s): John Balciar & Jeff
trip came together last minute when Jeff and I realized we had a similar
weekend day available for hiking. John was a late addition to the trip
and the three of us were driving towards Crestone (CO) around 3:00 pm on
Saturday afternoon. Our objective for the following day was The Prow on
Kit Carson Peak. After an early dinner in Poncha Springs (CO), we
arrived at the Spanish Creek Trailhead where we scouted our approach and
found a place to camp near the Cottonwood Creek Trailhead. I quickly
determined that I forgot my trail runners and was lucky that John had an
extra pair of shoes I used for this trip. Despite being a couple sizes
too big, I didnít really have any other options. We organized our gear
and had a few beers before calling it a night.
- We got
up at 3:30 am and were hiking up Spanish Creek by 4:10 am. We followed
a faint trail for about an hour before loosing it and bush-whacking for
then next hour. Fortunately, we picked up the use trail higher in the
drainage and finished the approach to the base of The Prow. We left one
pack with any gear we didnít need in the drainage to lighten our load on
the climbing section of the day. In order to get to the crux start of
the route, we free-climbed a low 5th class gully and then
traversed to the left (west) side of a pillar on more low-to-mid class
climbing. John and Jeff have given up several ice leads to me over the
years, so I told them to fight over the money pitch on The Prow. In
addition, Iíve done little rock climbing over the past year and was
certain I couldnít lead the crux 5.8 overhang pitch anyway.
took the sharp end and did a great job pulling the moves and proceeding
up the most difficult climbing of the day. Once above the roof, he
traversed left and then up on thin rock that provided little
protection. I thought the climbing was hard for the first 50-70 feet
and then eased up higher on the pitch. I went second and completed the
crux section without coming off, but the climbing was desperate and I
was glad I didnít try leading it. Jeff followed us cleanly, and before
we knew it we were off the deck and committed to the route.
Johnís belay at the top of the first pitch, I looked at the next section
and decided to give it a go. The climbing was easier than the first
pitch, but protection remained scarce. The term ďlong run-outĒ is an
understatement on The Prow. I placed two pieces of gear and slung one
horn on our second 60 meter pitch. After bringing my partners up, it
was Jeffís turn to take the sharp end. At this point, we were all
warmed up and having a blast on a blue bird day with great climbing.
Jeffís pitch was similar to the second one and offered a bit more
protection, but still required a fair amount of run-out climbing.
- At the
top of pitch three, John was up again to lead out. When he reached the
end of the rope, Jeff and I broke down the anchor and we began
simul-climbing as the terrain gets easier the higher up on The Prow you
get. John got tired of rope drag after a while and finally built an
anchor where Jeff and I joined him a couple hundred feet below the
summit of The Prow. I finished leading over the top of The Prow as we
continued simul-climbing to Kit Carson Avenue.
generously gave me the lead on the final pitch that goes directly up
from the saddle of The Prow and Kit Carson Peak to the summit of Kit
Carson. This was another fun and easy pitch that offered better
protection than The Prow. When I reached the top of the ridge, we
completed the route by simul-climbing to the summit of Kit Carson Peak.
After having some lunch and taking photos, we scrambled over to Columbia
Point (Kat Carson Peak) and Kitty Kat Carson. From the twin summits, we
descended towards the saddle of Obstruction Peak and then dropped back
into the Spanish Creek drainage. We did get cliffed-out once and had to
complete a rappel before reaching the base of the valley and hiking back
to our cached gear near the base of the route.
filtered some water for the rest of the descent and began the hike out
determined to stay on the climberís trail to avoid any more
bush-whacking. This task proved to be much easier going out and in day
light. We listened to loud thunder on the high peaks and got sprinkled
on a bit during the hike, but remained generally dry and cool under the
cloud cover. We reached the trailhead at 4:55 pm for a car-to-car time
of 12 hours and 45 minutes. The approach took us 4 hours to the base of
the route, the climbing on The Prow and Kit Carson Direct took 4 hours
to the summit of Kit Carson, and the descent was 4 hours and 45
minutes. Descending the South/Coleís Couloir between Kit Carson and
Columbia Point would definitely be a faster way back to the base of the
climb; however, we did not carry an ice axe or crampons and decided to
go over Columbia Point since the couloir was snow filled.
to view a
map of the area where this hike is located.