Huron Peak [Trip Report]
Located in the Sawatch Mountain Range in Colorado, Huron Peak is the 52nd highest 14er in Colorado.
It has been a long time since I hiked a “new-for-me” fourteener. in fact, it has been 20 years. The last “new” one was Missouri Mountain via the North Face Couloirs with my friend Lars in 2001. Yeah… it’s been a long time.
I have been wanting to do a new 14er this year but I wasn’t sure which one I would attempt. While my climbing improved this past year, I don’t feel as confident as I do with the hiking I have done during the same period. My work colleague, Katt, was planning on going to hike Huron Peak and I was invited to join her.
Located in the Sawatch Range, Huron Peak is 14,003ft and the 52/53 ranked 14er. We would ascend via the Class 2 Northwest Slopes route and because it was fall, we would forgo the traditional alpine start and start a little later in the day.
Usually, in the summer, one needs to start early so that one will be off of the summit by noon, but I have found that later in the season, by the fall, one can start a little later in the day.
On September 23, 2021, Katt met me at park-n-ride in Golden, near I-70 around 7:00am, so we could car-pool in her Jeep. We started the three-and-a-half hour drive to the upper trailhead. The drive was uneventful but pretty colorful, with the leaves changing to their fall colors.
After passing through Leadville, the Chaffee County 390 road is a gravel road. The road to the lower trailhead is usually passable by 2WD vehicles. However, the upper trailhead requires a 4WD vehicle, which was the main reason we had decided to car-pool. This was my first real 4WD experience and it did not disappoint. Surprisingly, given that it was late September, there were a lot of cars at the lower trailhead but there were just a few cars and several available parking spots at the upper trailhead.
The beginning of the trail winds through forest with several switchbacks along the way. Looking off to the South and Southwest, there are wonderful views of The Apostles and Grizzly Peak. During the first part of the climb, I was surprised by how good and strong I felt, but of course this feeling wouldn’t last.
Around 12,000 feet, we hiked out of the forest and came upon a nice basin gaining a few hundred feet of elevation, before coming to the start of Huron’s upper slope. Around 12,500 feet I started to feel the elevation. At this point in the hike we were ascending switchbacks on the upper slope of Huron. Looking at the people near the summit, it looked like we were close but every step reminded me of how far away they really were.
Around 13,600 feet, the trail becomes more rocky and there are multiple trails once can attempt. We just went with what appeared relatively easy and kept placing one foot in front of the other. My hands get cold quickly, so I stopped to put on my puffy jacket and some light gloves. As we continue to ascend, the views were spectacular and I couldn’t believe I was getting close to another “new” summit.
And just like that, the summit was beneath my feet! At 14,003 feet I had successfully completed another 14er! We took several summit photos. My ZOLEO satellite communicator was extremely beneficial in communicating with my family from the summit.
After about 30 minutes on the summit, it was time to leave, although I could have stayed up there for at least another hour. The descent was uneventful, arriving back at the upper trailhead before sunset.
It was a great adventure and I look forward to the next “new-for-me” 14er. What is your favorite 14er or hike?
- 14,003 Feet
- Round Trip Distance: 7.6 Miles
- Elevation Gain: 3237 feet
- Difficulty: Class 2
- Route: Northwest Slopes
- Time: 5.5 Hours
- Date Hiked: Sept 23, 2021
I believe this is Granite Mountain, 12848 feet.
Looking south towards the Apostles.
A small pond at about 12,300ft.
Ascending the side of Huron Peak, looking back at my friend Katt.
Hiking the final switchbacks, I needed a selfie at 12,900ft.
Less than 500 feet to the summit of Huron Peak.
At 13,600 feet, Katt was cruising .
14,003 feet, the view from the summit of Huron Peak.