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