Globreal and ChrisM met the Michigan Flatlanders, Len, John, Brad and Mark at the Colorado Springs airport at 9:15am shortly after their plane arrived and then we headed for the South Colony Lakes TH. On the way, we stopped for some crucial items and had lunch in Westcliff. Tom, from North Carolina, who is climbing all the 14ers this summer, met us at the preplanned lunch spot. It was a short drive and we made it to the new TH in good time.
The starting crew l-r, Chris, Mark*, Brad*, Tom, John*, Len* and Britt. The * indicates Michigan Flatlander status. Photo by Britt
Getting ready and putting on our backpacks for a 4 day stay, we headed up the road at 3pm and arrived at our campsite around 6pm. We took the shortcut and it appeared to be in very good shape saving time and energy with only 3.6 miles and a 2300’ ascent.
The road continues down to the left, while the shortcut trail veers in a more direct route to the lakes to the right.
A close up of the sign.
It’s a well defined trail that initially is very pleasant.
Then it gets a little rough with an substantial incline.
Near the end of the shortcut trail, the gain is great and the views are even better.
Needless to say, the Flatlanders were glad to be finally at the campsite having been up quite awhile on their time clock. We all had flat spots for our tents and a very nice stream just a few feet away.
Tents among the trees on surprisingly flat spots with a loud running stream right next to us. Photo by Britt
We had dinner, set up bear bags and hit the sack. Globreal got everyone together to go over the next day’s climb and also went over lightening procedures. It would be a late alpine start of 5am.
Brad, Britt and John and I (behind camera) begin going over the next day’s climb of Humboldt.
Everyone woke up at various times in order to complete their morning rituals and we were all on the trail for climbing Humboldt on the first full day at 5:14am. It was a beautiful trail and we quickly made our way up the gradual trail until it was time to hook a right turn and head up the mountain.
On our way up the trail from camp to the base of Humboldt, we salute Broken Hand Pass near dawn.
The Crestones at Alpine blush.
Humboldt’s other non-Alpine side in the bright morning.
Marked by a carin, the talus riddled approach awaits us.
The switchbacks were plentiful and made the steep climb easier than going straight up. The rabbits made it to the summit around 7:52am, followed by the turtles arriving 30 min later. Not a bad time climb at all, considering the Flatlander’s home turf sits about 900‘ MSL.
Our summit shot of Chris, Brad, Tom, Len, Britt and John huddled in the wind break.
Not wanting to waste daylight, Tom and Britt got ready to climb more mountains.
A view of the South Colony Lakes on our descent.
Our water source and soothing nighttime sounds were provided by what you see here.
We made it back to our campsite around 11:26am. From our campsite, it was 4.6 miles RT and a 2730’ elevation gain. While Globreal had excess energy to burn, he summitted two 13ers he needed to tackle on his list and was back at the campsite about 3pm. Tom also climbed Challenger Pt and Kit Carson, plus two nearby 13ers returning to the campsite a little exhausted about 5 pm.
A little earlier in the afternoon, Kay and Scott, arrived after climbing Lindsey the day before and settled in.
We talked about the day and everyone shared their thoughts about the climb(s). One Flatlander came down with AMS on the descent and recovered, thankfully, after resting and getting some nourishment. After dinner, everyone sat around the “kitchen” and discussed the next day’s adventure. Climbing Crestone Peak would be a new climb for everyone so there were a lot of questions for Globreal and he was able to define the climb assuaging everyone’s concerns. A somewhat “normal” departure time was set at 4:30am in order to be down before any weather should spring up and make things more challenging.
I announced at the meeting, that I would not be able to join them on the next two mountains, but I surely enjoyed climbing with the group the previous 2 days. Although I hated to miss out on two fantastic climbs with some great and conscientious climbers, the little voice in my head was saying the time wasn’t right for me. Maybe soon, though. So we said our farewells that evening before turning in as the group would be getting an alpine start in the morning before I got up.
I heard the group leave in the morning before dawn and I got myself packed and on the trail back to the TH by 7:06am and at the car at 8:44am. Downhill was a little faster than heading up the approach. When I got to the bridge, I remembered that I had a soda stashed in the cold stream water, found it and it sure tasted good.