Huron Peak (October 6, 2012)

I had been trying to get a 14er in during XC season for a while but Saturday meets and exhausted Sunday mornings kept getting in the way. Finally, I decided a Saturday afternoon/sunset 14er after a meet was the way to solve this problem.  With that in mind, we set out for Huron Peak around 1 PM on Saturday, October 6th.

We arrived after an adventurous 4WD trip.  After turning left in Winfield, the road got a bit rougher and then around .2 miles, the road got narrower.  We thought this was the point where the road got “rugged and narrow” according to 14ers.com.   It did.  But then when we got to .4 miles…it really got “rugged and narrow,” especially for my Ford Escape.

“Rugged and Narrow”

Well.  It only took 25 minutes to travel 2.1 miles.  Such is life on 4WD roads.  Only had 3 creeks to cross to boot!

We arrived at our trailhead at 3:30 and quickly got ready to climb.  Leaving at 3:45, we were on our way with a hope to summit in 2 hours.

We hauled through the first mile around 25 minutes, making an obvious effort to get through the first part quickly.   Inside, I was secretly giddy to be walking on soft, Colorado powder periodically below treeline.

Nothing like having soft snow beneath your feet.

We were above treeline within an hour and were greeted with an amazing view of a snow-covered 3 Apostles.

An imposing set of peaks.

We passed our final duo of people for the day around 12,000 feet and then had the rest of the mountain to ourselves.  As we approached the alpine meadow that leads to the summit approach, we found a substantial snowfield about 3-4 inches deep.  Excited!

The snowy meadow around 12,000 feet.

The 14,003 foot peak.

Casey (Brown Dog) was even more excited to find snow.  He ran around and played in it like a little kid.  I pointed to the snow and asked him “what is it?”  He proceeded to dig his nose in as deep as he could looking for it.

What is it Casey?

Snow snow snow.

We approached the switchbacks that led to the summit.  At this point in time, it was beginning to feel like Belford all over again.  So many switchbacks.  With the snow, I just wanted to bite the bullet and climb straight up the peak.

14,003 feet of mountain.

The day was getting late and we were getting tired and cold.  We worked our way up a trail that was getting progressively snowier/icier.  We stopped to break for a couple of minutes at 13,000 feet and it was a struggle to just get going again.  At points in time, I was strongly considering “f this, I’ll come back and do this in 2 hours in the summer,” but we struggled through and summited around 6:15 pm.

An amazing sunset at 14,003 feet.

Kris tries to get warm on the summit. Easier said than done.

Obligatory summit photo.

Obligatory summit photo #2.

It was a damn cold summit, so we took our pictures and we’re on our way within 10 minutes.  It was a tough descent, one where I was especially thankful for my microspikes.

Our reward for the challenge was an amazing sunset to the west.

The sun slowly sets in the west.

Our slow descent rewarded us with this view.

We got back down to the meadow with a little bit of daylight left and proceeded across it as quickly as possible.  We we’re hoping to be as low as possible by sunset, but at the very least back to treeline.

The sun slowly drops.

I put the camera away and we moved as quickly as we could.  We hit treeline right at nightfall.  It was surprisingly dark (always is) for the last couple miles of our trip.  It actually took us the same amount of time to descend the treeline portion of our hike as it did to climb it.  It was simply too treacherous to move very quickly.

We arrived back at the TH just a bite after 8 PM, 4:17 after we left.  It was a good hike, challenging to say the least, but fun to change up the time table.

Huron Peak Stats
Elevation: 3,299 feet
Mileage:
 7.29 miles
Time:
 4 hours, 17 minutes

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