We hiked Mt. Lindsey on September 16, 2017. Fall has definitely made it’s appearance in the Colorado mountains – it was windy, colder, and the aspen leaves were changing to red and gold.
The standard route up Mt. Lindsey gains 3,500 ft and is 8.25 miles round trip. Overall, a fun third class hike.
Friday afternoon we drove 3.5 hours down to somewhat-out-of-the-way Mt. Lindsey. After we lost cell service we listened to the same 15 songs over and over. Woe is us. The best podcast we listened to was How I Built This: Reddit.
We found a campsite with a view:
For dinner we ate cold fried rice that I had made before we left home. It was too windy to want to get out of the truck and heat it up properly. I also took it upon myself to take pictures and torture Dan.
Overnight it was pretty windy and we were slightly concerned about what that would mean for the next morning. I woke up at 5:50 AM, ten minutes before the alarm, saw how dark it was and reset the alarm to 6:20. It was still (!) windy and cold, who would have guessed. I made green tea and choked down some breakfast bars. We drove to the trail head at 7 and started hiking at 7:15.
Three other groups of two started around the same time, sandwiching us most of the way. The trail was flat for the first mile or so, winding along patches of conifers and stream crossings. It quickly became steep… ie, cue suffocation! It also meant a repeat of Dan’s nausea – per his nausea + tasting the breakfast bars for hours, it seems like those bars are a never-again sort of thing. Any suggestions for a light, easy breakfast would be great. I’ve tried a variety of homemade bars/store bought bars/trail mix/quick cooking oats/etc.
Eventually we arrived at treeline and could finally see part of Mt. Lindsey. The trail took a small descent through an alpine field, then ascended to the ridge. The sun was at a perfectly low angle to blind us for 30 minutes. Once at ridge line we saw that someone had tied their dog up in the windiest/coldest part of the trail. He was howling in distress. I pet him and told him how to escape his owner, per my strong sense of altruism.
We started up the third class section, choosing the high ridge route over the looser gully route. The rock was mostly good and solid along the ridge. The section right before the crux wall was a little dicier – loose with snow and ice on it. Good thing someone else brought their dog on this third class route. It was frantically descending this section –> kicking baseball sized rocks down the gully below. Here is my haughty opinion: if you think it’s necessary to wear a helmet on a mountain hike – a third class one with plenty of rock fall potential – then bringing your dog seems dumb. End rant.
We hit the false summit and then continued for another 5 minutes to the true summit, arriving around 10:30 AM. There were a few other groups at the top and we spent 20ish minutes talking and eating cheese and crackers.
Eventually my ability to stay warm in the frigid wind blasts ended, so we made our way down.
Past the crux wall we were crossing the most exposed part – traversing a 30 ft ledge with loose rock covered in snow and ice – and a group of six came to cross too. I was clutching the wall as they crossed over me, kicking multiple large rocks down the gully where other people were hiking. I sound bitter in this recap…most people we encountered seemed experienced and serious, its just DOG GUY and rock trundling people that need to be verbally chastised in an un-read blog. Days later. So satisfying.
The rest of the hike was uneventful, just some leaf joy:
We got back to the car around 1:30 PM, drove to find a new campsite and then quickly made and devoured lunch – chicken wraps and potato chips and Asian pears. The rest of the day/evening was spent reading! I read When Breath Becomes Air and was equal parts devastated and in awe of this book. It is incredible. If you’re looking for a book to leave you heartbroken and moved, read this brilliant, 36-year-old Stanford neurosurgeon-turned-terminal lung cancer patient’s memoir on life and death.