On Thursday, July 19, 2012, one day after we (dad, brother and I) ascended Maroon Peak, we decided to take it easy with the family and enjoy some hiking up at Hoosier Ridge. Well, the peak bug got my brother and I and we could not help ourselves from taking on North Star while messing around west of Hoosier Pass. After eating a quick lunch up at the saddle (near the iron gate), we began our trek up the ridge. The rest of our family enjoyed lunch up on top of the hill East of the saddle that overlooks Hoosier Pass and the entire valley. Here is a picture:
The views of Bross and Lincoln are excellent from the North Star ridge as you make your way higher.
At one point you can even see all three of Lincoln, Bross, and Democrat:
When we started up the ridge, we took the direct route following some old red rocky mining roads. This proved to be a lot of work but very direct to the ridge. However, you can follow the main 4WD road which goes to the South at the saddle and this will take you most of the way up the ridge with a nice easy going switchback. The road will eventually end at a high mine on the side of the ridge (South side) where you can then skirt up to the top of the ridge making a 100-200 foot climb above it. Also, about 3/4 of the way up the road, there is a couple of cairns on the right which reveal a trail that is excellent and takes you up above the high mine to the ridge. This is the route we took coming down and I highly recommend it given the excellent trail.
Once you get high enough to see the bulk of the North Star ridge, this is what you see:
The main trail will take you about a 1/4 of the way up the ridge and then it becomes your own opportunity to route find for the most part. We stayed on top of the ridge almost the entire time so we didn't have to negotiate talus and boulders on the South side. This works well but I warn you now, this ridge feels like it goes on forever as you go up and down for over a mile.
The clouds started moving in so we watched the weather carefully as we made our way closer to the summit. Some people mistake the first peak on the ridge as "North Star" but the main trail skirts around it and the summit register says otherwise as to the authenticity of North Star. We finally reached the end of the ridge which goes way past Quandary to the North. Here is a view of Quandary from the summit of North Star:
We finally reached the summit and enjoyed the excellent views of multiple 14ers.
We climbed North Star as sorta an after thought which took us into the afternoon possibility of thunderstorms. If you are indeed planning on hiking the peak, you probably want to start earlier in the morning just like any 14er as there is quite a bit of distance you must cover across this ridge. I believe you end up doing 8 miles roundtrip so this is no joke. The ridge climb never goes beyond class 2 rock scrambling which makes the hike itself easy but it is long... Enjoy!
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