Buying Gear?  Click Here
Buying gear? Please use these links to help 14ers.com:

More info...

Other ways to help...
 Peak(s):  Humboldt Peak  -  14,064 feet
 Post Date:  01/28/2012
 Date Climbed:   01/26/2012
 Posted By:  WDavis

 No Easy 14ers   

Humboldt Peak
January 28, 2012
~13 miles round trip

Start time: 5:22am
Treeline: 9:30am
Summit: 12:00pm
Car: 4:15pm
Total: ~11hours

This whole thing started last week when I attempted Humboldt solo. It took me close to 6 hours to break trail to timberline (via East ridge). The snow was the consistency of a slurpee and breaking trail required enormous effort as much of the snow was knee deep or deeper. I got to treeline around 12am and the wind which had been howling all morning was 60+mph. I could only imagine what it was like higher up. Having taken too much time in the trees and lost both of my gloves I decided it was prudent to turn back.

Image
A look at the snow on my first attempt.


Image
S. Colony Road.


Image
I'm not even going to tell you how long it took me to get my car out of this.


This past week I decided to give it another shot. The weather looked good so I called catmandingo and he said he was in. For the record the forecast called for "breezy" conditions with 20-25mph winds gusting to 40mph. That would have been fine with me, but that's not what we got.

We met in Castle Rock at 2:30 and departed for Westcliffe. We arrive at the winter trailhead at 5am and we were hiking at 5:22. Spikes were suitable most of the way up. As we got higher in the trees we switched to snow shoes because the snow was warming up.

Image
Beautiful sunrise.


Image #6 (not yet uploaded)


Image

Image

Image

At treeline catmandingo and I split up.

Image
photo credit: catmandingo


Image
photo credit: catmandingo


We had hiked together thus far but now that the route finding was essentially over, we each went our own pace. I started up the ridge the way the route goes, but for some reason I got impatient and instead of going up and over I decided to go around. I ended up skirting the ridge on the south side (which was much slower because of the angle and because I had to traverse it and couldn't walk straight up). I intersected the summit ridge at it's lowest point and started heading up.

I met a woman coming down who said the winds (it had been calm to this point) had picked up substantially. She wasn't kidding. Hiking along the summit ridge I got knocked around a good bit. At this point I hadn't seen catmandingo in a while. I wondered if he had turned around. I figured he might be ahead of me because my route was so much slower.

As I approached the summit the wind speed increased severely. I had to crawl to get on the summit and once on the summit I could not stand up. I took cover behind the first wind block and just sat for a few minutes and marveled at how strong the wind was. Shortly thereafter I made my way off.

Image

Image #13 (not yet uploaded)


Image
Looking West


Image
Looking South


Image
Looking North


Image
so stinkin windy


I stopped and just sat below the summit taking cover as best as I could and watched catmandingo make his was up the ridge. This was the first time I had seen him since we split at treeline.

Image
Catmandingo coming up the ridge. You can just make him out in the neon vest.


He took a few minutes on the summit and then we egressed rapidly.

Image
catmandingo's self portrait


It was now 12:15pm. In that short window where I had hit to the summit ridge to when I summited the winds went from iffy to dangerous. Having worked at a camp at the base of Longs Peak for several seasons and experienced many 100+mph wind storms my best guess is that we were in the 90-100mph range.

The wind gradually receded the farther we got from the summit. We passed a herd of big horn on the way down the flat part of the ridge ridge before it goes down hill to the trees. I was shocked how pleasant of a route I had missed by being impatient.

Image
Bighorn again on the way down


We made it back to the car by 4:15 and were happy to have safely summitted in high winds. I was happy to have made it up after having to turn back a week prior.

Image
Crazy wind cloud


Image #22 (not yet uploaded)


Side note: On my first attempt I had lost both my gloves on the way up but found one on the way down. This most recent trip I recovered the other glove. On the rainbow trail one of the fallen trees had snagged it. Glad to have my gloves back.

Image
Tree grabbed it.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
pglover

Well done in the wind     2012-01-28 22:09:48
Any winter 14er is pretty much worth five in the summer. Love the Big Horns.


d_baker


crazy wind cloud     2012-01-28 22:17:55
That's a cool picture!
Also cool you got your gloves back. I wonder if that was Janet you saw coming down? hmm...


WDavis


Yep     2012-01-28 22:29:18
She did say her name was Janet! She said she was not on 14ers.com though. She was slightly upset because she encountered us and was afraid that her ascent of Humboldt would not count as a solo ascent.


d_baker


.     2012-01-28 22:41:29
I know her from the CMC, and she mentioned on another site that she did it on Thu.
Odd about her concerns though!

She's done Denali semi-solo too (on her summit day she set out by herself, and reached the summit).


James Scott


Nice work     2012-01-29 19:59:04
I love the story of failure followed by success- not that it was really failure- sounds like you made a wise choice. But great job returning and finishing the job. I love the pictures- esp the sun through the trees and the cloud formation from the deck. Thanks for the write up!


WDavis


Thanks     2012-01-31 14:25:54
Thanks for the comments. Definitely a good feeling to go back a second time and make the summit. Safely.


janetlightburn

Solo or not solo     2012-01-31 14:38:30
By the way Darin, that WAS me on Humbolt. Were my concerns odd? Just thinking of getting some more winter 14ers in solo... not meaning to offend anyone. Janet
Glad you guy got down ok. I think I snuck ahead of the windy conditions.


WDavis


Hello     2012-01-31 15:19:59
Janet, it was a pleasure to meet you. You did indeed get out before the winds got bad. Nice day overall though. Thanks for the not on the windshield by the way. We were glad you found your snow shoes because we had trouble finding ours!


akwon


Trailhead     2012-02-08 12:55:06
Thanks for sharing. I'm thinking of going within the next month. Were you not able to reach the upper trailhead? How did it look?


WDavis


nope     2012-02-08 13:35:22
You will not be able to make it to the upper trailhead. From where the lower trailhead is it will look like you can but there is a lot of snow further down the road in the trees. I would plan on starting at the lower TH where the private property sign is.



   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here


Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. 14ers.com and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 14ers.com and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the 14ers.com Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2014 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.