Kit Carson Peak

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Kit Carson Mountain
Kit Carson Peak
Kitcarsonmtn.jpg
The Crestones as seen from Mount Adams.
From left to right: Crestone Needle, Crestone Peak, Columbia Point, Kit Carson Peak,
and Challenger Point.
Highest point
Elevation 14,171 ft (4,319 m) [1] [2]
Prominence 1,025 ft (312 m) [2]
Isolation 1.27 mi (2.04 km) [2]
Listing Colorado Fourteener 23rd
Coordinates 37°58′47″N105°36′09″W / 37.9797219°N 105.6025089°W / 37.9797219; -105.6025089 Coordinates: 37°58′47″N105°36′09″W / 37.9797219°N 105.6025089°W / 37.9797219; -105.6025089 [3]
Geography
USA Colorado location map.svg
Red triangle with thick white border.svg
Kit Carson Mountain
Location in Southern Colorado
Location Saguache County, Colorado, United States [3]
Parent range Sangre de Cristo Range, Crestones [2]
Topo map USGS 7.5' topographic map
Crestone Peak, Colorado [3]
Climbing
Easiest route Scramble Class 2
Kit Carson Avenue with a climber descending. Kit carson avenue.jpg
Kit Carson Avenue with a climber descending.
Kit Carson Peak as seen from the saddle between it and Challenger Point. Kit carson from between.jpg
Kit Carson Peak as seen from the saddle between it and Challenger Point.

Kit Carson Peak is a high mountain summit of the Crestones in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. Officially designated Kit Carson Mountain, the 14,171-foot (4,319 m) fourteener is located 5.2 miles (8.4 km) east by south (bearing 102°) of the Town of Crestone in Saguache County, Colorado, United States. [1] [2] [3] The name Kit Carson Mountain is used for both the massif with three summits (Columbia Point, Kit Carson Peak and Challenger Point), or to describe the main summit only. The mountain is named in honor of frontiersman Christopher Houston "Kit" Carson. The Crestones are a cluster of high summits in the Sangre de Cristo Range, comprising Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle, Kit Carson Peak, Challenger Point, Humboldt Peak, and Columbia Point. They are usually accessed from common trailheads.

Contents

Recent history

In January 2002, the Nature Conservancy announced the signing of a $31 million purchase agreement for the Baca Ranch. [4] The purchase significantly expanded the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in 2004. As part of that complex transaction Kit Carson Mountain was transferred to the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness within the Rio Grande National Forest.

Kit Carson Mountain features complex terrain that has misled climbers in the past, contributing to deaths in the summer of 2006, 2010, 2011 and 2019.[ citation needed ]

In 2011, the United States Board on Geographic Names considered a proposal to rename the peak Mount Crestone, voting unanimously against it due to the potential confusion with nearby Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle. [5] The proposal had been put forward because Carson had led an 1863-64 campaign to remove Navajo Indians, who had increased raiding of settlements in New Mexico during the Civil War. [5]

Incidentally, local residents for decades had called the mountain "Crestone Peak" (the official name of a neighboring peak), and never called it by "that other name". [6]

Climbing

One popular route on Kit Carson Mountain climbs from the west side of the range, starting at Willow Creek Trailhead (elevation: 8,900 ft or 2,700 m). This route first climbs Challenger Point, just to the west of Kit Carson. Climbing from the saddle between Challenger Point to Kit Carson peak involves crossing a path commonly called 'Kit Carson Avenue'. Total elevation gain for this route is 6,250 ft (1,905 m), in a 14 miles (23 km) round-trip.

Kit Carson can also be reached from the east side of the Sangre de Cristos via the South Colony Lakes access. (A four-wheel drive road currently provides relatively a high elevation trailhead; however this road will be closed halfway up on October 13, 2009.) This route starts by using part of the trail for Humboldt Peak, and then traverses a ridge and plateau toward Kit Carson. A sub-peak named Columbia Point (informally known as "Kat Carson") is climbed on the way to the main summit.

Kit Carson does not have any glaciers but it does have a semi-permanent ice patch on its rugged north face, which rarely melts even in the driest years (such as 2002 and 2006). During the summer Kit Carson and the neighboring peaks are hit with a diurnal cycle of thunder storms, which often form within a short time period; lightning occurs almost daily and has killed climbers as recently as 2003.[ citation needed ]

Fatalities also occur because climbers make the mistake of descending the couloir (gulley) between the summit and Challenger Point. [7] Though the couloir looks like a short cut down, and starts off gently enough, it leads to ice fields, and on the edges it quickly becomes cliffed-out, with patches of scree and loose rock, ending in sheer and highly technical terrain. Search and Rescue teams regularly recover bodies from the bottom of the couloir. Bodies that do not make it to the bottom require highly specialized technical teams, not local to the area, and thus not as quickly available to respond.

Historical names

See also

Related Research Articles

Sangre de Cristo Range American mountain range

The Sangre de Cristo Range is a high, rugged and narrow mountain range of the Rocky Mountains in southern Colorado in the United States, running north and south along the east side of the Rio Grande Rift. The mountains extend southeast from Poncha Pass for about 75 mi (121 km) through south-central Colorado to La Veta Pass, approximately 20 mi (32 km) west of Walsenburg, and form a high ridge separating the San Luis Valley on the west from the watershed of the Arkansas River on the east. The Sangre de Cristo Range rises over 7,000 ft (2,100 m) above the valleys and plains to the west and northeast.

Crestones

The Crestones are a group of four 14,000 foot peaks (fourteeners) in the Sangre de Cristo Range above Crestone, central southern Colorado, comprising:

  1. Crestone Peak
  2. Crestone Needle
  3. Kit Carson Mountain
  4. Humboldt Peak
Longs Peak

Longs Peak is a high and prominent mountain in the northern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 14,259-foot (4346 m) fourteener is located in the Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness, 9.6 miles (15.5 km) southwest by south of the Town of Estes Park, Colorado, United States. Longs Peak is the northernmost fourteener in the Rocky Mountains and the highest point in Boulder County and Rocky Mountain National Park. The mountain was named in honor of explorer Stephen Harriman Long and is featured on the Colorado state quarter.

Fourteener

In the mountaineering parlance of the Western United States, a fourteener is a mountain peak with an elevation of at least 14,000 feet. There are 96 fourteeners in the United States, all west of the Mississippi River. Colorado has the most (53) of any single state; Alaska is in second place with 29. Many peak baggers try to climb all fourteeners in the contiguous United States, one particular state, or another region.

Sangre de Cristo Mountains

The Sangre de Cristo Mountains are the southernmost subrange of the Rocky Mountains. They are located in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico in the United States. The mountains run from Poncha Pass in South-Central Colorado, trending southeast and south, ending at Glorieta Pass, southeast of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The mountains contain a number of fourteen thousand foot peaks in the Colorado portion, as well as all the peaks in New Mexico which are over thirteen thousand feet.

Wheeler Peak (New Mexico)

Wheeler Peak is the highest natural point in the U.S. state of New Mexico. It is located northeast of Taos and south of Red River in the northern part of the state, and just 2 miles (3.2 km) southeast of the ski slopes of Taos Ski Valley. It lies in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the southernmost subrange of the Rocky Mountains. The peak's elevation is 13,167 feet (4,013 m).

Blanca Peak

Blanca Peak is the fourth highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the U.S. state of Colorado. The ultra-prominent 14,351-foot (4,374 m) peak is the highest summit of the Sierra Blanca Massif, the Sangre de Cristo Range, and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The fourteener is located 9.6 miles (15.5 km) north by east of the Town of Blanca, on the drainage divide separating Rio Grande National Forest and Alamosa County from the Sangre de Cristo Land Grant and Costilla County. The summit is the highest point of both counties and the entire drainage basin of the Rio Grande. Below the steep North Face of Blanca Peak two live Glaciers once developed, until extinction sometime after 1903. North & South Blanca Glaciers were located at 37° 35N.,longitude 105° 28W. Blanca Peak is higher than any point in the United States east of its longitude.

Crestone Peak

Crestone Peak is the seventh-highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the U.S. state of Colorado. The prominent 14,300-foot (4,359 m) fourteener is the highest summit of the Crestones and the second-highest summit in the Sangre de Cristo Range after Blanca Peak. The summit is located in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness of Rio Grande National Forest, 5.0 miles (8.1 km) east by south of the Town of Crestone in Saguache County, Colorado, United States.

Quandary Peak

Quandary Peak is the highest summit of the Tenmile Range in the Rocky Mountains of North America and is the most commonly climbed fourteener in Colorado. It has nearly the same elevation as Castle Peak and Mount Evans. It lies in Summit County and within the White River National Forest about 6 miles (10 km) south-southwest of the town of Breckenridge.

Humboldt Peak (Colorado)

Humboldt Peak is a high mountain summit of the Crestones in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 14,070-foot (4,289 m) fourteener is located in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness of San Isabel National Forest, 11.9 miles (19.2 km) south-southwest of the Town of Westcliffe in Custer County, Colorado, United States. The Crestones are a cluster of high summits in the Sangre de Cristo Range, comprising Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle, Kit Carson Peak, Challenger Point, Humboldt Peak, and Columbia Point.

Challenger Point

Challenger Point is a high mountain summit of the Crestones in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 14,087-foot (4,294 m) fourteener is located 5.0 miles (8.1 km) east by south of the Town of Crestone in Saguache County, Colorado, United States. The summit is on the northwest shoulder of Kit Carson Mountain, and is a subpeak of the latter. It was renamed in memory of the seven astronauts who died when the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated shortly after liftoff on January 28, 1986.

Crestone Needle

Crestone Needle is a high mountain summit of the Crestones in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 14,203-foot (4,329 m) fourteener is located 6.9 miles (11.1 km) east-southeast of the Town of Crestone in Saguache County, Colorado, United States. The Crestones are a cluster of high summits in the Sangre de Cristo Range, comprising Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle, Kit Carson Peak, Challenger Point, Humboldt Peak, and Columbia Point. They are usually accessed from common trailheads.

Little Bear Peak

Little Bear Peak is a high mountain summit in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 14,043-foot (4,280 m) fourteener is located on the Sierra Blanca Massif, 8.8 miles (14.2 km) north by east of the Town of Blanca, Colorado, United States, on the drainage divide separating Rio Grande National Forest and Alamosa County from the Sangre de Cristo Land Grant and Costilla County. Little Bear lies 0.96 miles (1.54 km) southwest of Blanca Peak, the ultra prominent fourteener that is the highest point of the massif.

Elmer Albert Russell Ellingwood was a pioneering mountaineer and climber in the western United States during the first half of the twentieth century. He made first ascents of many peaks and routes in the Rocky Mountains, particularly in Colorado, including Lizard Head in the San Juan Mountains, Ellingwood Ridge on La Plata Peak in the Sawatch Range, and Crestone Needle in the Sangre de Cristo Range. Many mountain features are named for him, on peaks such as Middle Teton, on which Ellingwood made the first ascent, the Ellingwood Ridge of La Plata Peak, and the Ellingwood Arete ascent of Crestone Needle; the fourteener Ellingwood Point, near Blanca Peak in southern Colorado, is named for him as well.

Columbia Point

Columbia Point is a high mountain summit of the Crestones in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 13,986-foot (4,263 m) thirteener is located 5.5 miles (8.8 km) east by south of the Town of Crestone in Saguache County, Colorado, United States. The Crestones are a cluster of high summits in the Sangre de Cristo Range, comprising Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle, Kit Carson Peak, Challenger Point, Humboldt Peak, and Columbia Point.

Mount Adams (Colorado) Mountain in Colorado, United States of America

Mount Adams is a high mountain summit of the Crestones in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 13,937-foot (4,248 m) thirteener is located in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, 5.1 miles (8.2 km) east by north of the Town of Crestone, Colorado, United States, on the drainage divide separating San Isabel National Forest and Custer County from Rio Grande National Forest and Saguache County.

Tijeras Peak

Tijeras Peak is a high mountain summit in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 13,610-foot (4,148 m) thirteener is located 9.8 miles (15.8 km) southeast by east of the Town of Crestone in Saguache County, Colorado, United States, in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness on the boundary between Great Sand Dunes National Preserve and Rio Grande National Forest. Tijeras Peak is the highest summit in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Tijeras is Spanish for scissors, and refers to the double-pronged rocky tip of the mountain.

Mount Herard

Mount Herard is a high and prominent mountain summit in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 13,345-foot (4,068 m) thirteener is located in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness of Great Sand Dunes National Preserve, 15.0 miles (24.1 km) southeast of the Town of Crestone in Saguache County, Colorado, United States.

References

  1. 1 2 The elevation of Kit Carson Mountain includes an adjustment of +1.773 m (+5.82 ft) from NGVD 29 to NAVD 88.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "Kit Carson Mountain, Colorado". Peakbagger.com. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "Kit Carson Mountain". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey . Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  4. Seelye, Katharine Q. (January 31, 2016). "Complex Deal Is First Step To Create New National Park". The New York Times. Retrieved September 29, 2016. The ranch and the national monument are to become the nation's 58th national park in 2005
  5. 1 2 "Name's the same". Editorial. The Pueblo Chieftain. February 23, 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
  6. "The Crestone Eagle Newspaper Home". crestoneeagle.com.
  7. "Parker man found dead in Sangres". The Pueblo Chieftain. September 22, 2010. Archived from the original on July 31, 2012. Retrieved 2016-12-31.