Trip Reports: Mt. Lindsey & Lily Lake, Sangre De Cristos, Colorado - June 2014

With our San Juans still covered in quite a bit of snow up high, earlier this week we drove east for 3 nights of backpacking in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains where the snow is mostly gone and summer backpacking season is well underway.

Colorado,Sangre de Cristos, photo

Sangres Sunset Pond

Sunset over the Crestone group, as seen from the south - June.

We camped the first night up near treeline below Mt. Lindsey, a fourteener I have not yet climbed. Feeling motivated, I set my alarm for 3:00am in order to hike up to the 13,400 foot summit of the “Iron Nipple” (seriously) for sunrise. This rugged peak offered a great vantage point to watch the sunrise light on Blanca Peak, the monarch of this mountain range.

Blanca Peak,Colorado,Sangre de Cristos, fourteener, photo

Blanca Peak Dawn

The first light of dawn illuminates Blanca Peak (14,345 ft.), the fourth highest fourteener in Colorado.

Blanca Peak,Colorado,Sangre de Cristos, fourteener, sunrise, photo

Blanca Peak Sunrise

Sunrise light on Blanca Peak (14,345 ft.), the fourth highest fourteener in Colorado.

Colorado,Mt. Lindsey,Sangre de Cristos, photo

Mt Lindsey Morning

Morning light on Mt. Lindsey (14,047 ft.)

After our sunrise on the Iron Nipple, we climbed up neighboring Mt. Lindsey, which involved a somewhat spicy scramble to the summit. Nice to tick another 14er off the list (my 25th so far, out of 54 in Colorado).

Colorado,Sangre de Cristos, Huerfano, Blanca Peak, photo

Huerfano Paradise

The paradisiacal alpine valley at the foot of Blanca Peak and head of the Huerfano River.

After our climb of Mt. Lindsey (and a nap) we packed up our stuff and headed further up the Huerfano Valley. Towards the head of the valley there’s rusted evidence of a sizable mining operation from days gone by, but nature has long since taken over again and the valley is now an idyllic slice of paradise. We camped our second night up near treeline below Lily Lake, with the massive north wall of Blanca and Ellingwood towering overhead.

Colorado,Mt. Lindsey,Sangre de Cristos, photo

Mt Lindsey Mist

Clouds stream over Mt. Lindsey (14,047 ft.)

Blanca Peak,Colorado,Sangre de Cristos, fourteener, Lily Lake, photo

Lily Lake Dawn Reflection

The two neighboring fourteeners of Blanca Peak and Ellingwood Point reflect in Lily Lake at dawn.

Blanca Peak,Colorado,Sangre de Cristos, Lily Lake, Ellingwood Point, photo

Lily Lake Shadow

Blanca Peak and Ellingwood Point reflected in Lily Lake.

Blanca Peak, Colorado, Sangre de Cristos, tent, Lily Lake, photo

Tent site below Lily Lake, with Blanca Peak towering above.

Colorado,Sangre de Cristos, Huerfano, sunset, river, photo

Huerfano River Sunset

Sunset over the upper Huerfano Valley.

For our third night out, we descended back to the idyllic meadows of the upper Huerfano basin where we camped near some springs and creek pools.