Avg: 3 from 4 votes
|Type:||Trad, Alpine, 1500 ft, 9 pitches, Grade III|
|FA:||Elisha Gallegos and Daniel Schuerch, July 2017|
|Page Views:||2,187 total · 93/month|
|Shared By:||Daniel S on Jul 13, 2017|
|Admins:||Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac|
This route climbs the prominent face south of the Willow Lake Campground. Climbing the Septem Virtutum Anima Mea (Seven Courageous Souls) allows for an alternative route to the summit of Challenger Peak with less rockfall than the current 2nd Class trail to its summit (Rocky Mountain Field Institute, RMFI is currently making a better trail to the summit of Challenger). The crux of the route is circumventing the roofs on the first pitch that earns the route's 5.8 rating. Hand jams and laybacks help. The rest of the route is mostly face climbing using flakes and crack systems for protection. This route, in my opinion, is better than Ellingwood Ledges and comparable to The Prow (The Prow has better exposure due to its ridge nature but is harder to protect).
Approach this route using the Willow Lake Trail. In the town of Crestone on the west side of the Crestone Range, head two miles east on East Galena Avenue to its terminus at the trailhead. Hike the trail up to Willow Lake Campground (5 miles and 3000 feet of elevation gain). The route starts just south of the Willow Lake Campground on the left side of talus below the cliff (see the topo and pics provided). Once the climb rolls into second class terrain after approximately 1500 feet of climbing, travel NW until you reach gentler slopes down to the north side of Willow Lake. It is better is to follow the ridge line to Challenger Point and then follow the Mountaineer's trail back to the campground.
A double set of thin gear to a #4 Camalot and one set of nuts. Gear up to a #6 Camalot can be placed for protection on easier parts of the climb. Pitches 1, 2, 3, and 4 have two bolt anchors, not all have links for rappelling though. Pitch 4 anchors are the "commitment anchors". Retreating after pitch 4 will require leaving gear.