Route: Standard summer route (Northwest Slopes) from Winfield
Distance: ~11 miles
Elevation gain: ~3,800 feet
Time: 7.30am to 4pm (8.5 hours)
Participants: Jeff (SurfnTurf), Ben (BenFromtheEast), John (fepic1), Natalie (nkan02)
It has been a mild (ok - snowless) winter so far and there were numerous reports that Winfield TH has been accessible. After several false starts to attempt the peak in the last couple of weeks, the day was picked, and the crew congregated at the CR 390 turnoff the morning of. I was relieved to see that John was driving a big pickup truck that would get us to the TH in case the road gets rough, but my Subaru made it to Winfield on its own without any major problems. After our attempt to drive any further than 0.2 miles past Winfield in John's truck was quickly abandoned, we regrouped, geared up and finally started hiking the road around 7.30am. It was a brisk morning (-1F at 6am), but we expected a beautiful blue bird day with mild winds.
Jeff in the early morning light - switching from microspikes to snowshoes less than a mile in
The Apostles - we got a word that a much more ambitious crew were attempting them on the very same day. Tough peaks in winter, or in any season for that matter.
Heading uphill near the end of the tree line
John, Ben and Jeff heading up & up
Higher in the basin (near 12k), a previously sizable snowshoe trench has petered out to a lone snowshoe track. We were hoping to see an owner at some point in the day, but never had a chance to say hello. The track seemed to go in the right direction though, so we proceeded.
Ben and Jeff in the upper basin
Soon thereafter, Jeff, Ben and John decided to abandon their snowshoes and switched back to microspikes. I decided to keep mine for traction, as during the early morning gear transition from car to car, I managed to leave out my microspikes. Soon it became clear that snowshoes were needed more for floatation than for traction, as without them, the post-holing commenced!
John, Jeff and Ben are putting in extra effort to make it work without snowshoes
The upper basin
Postholing finally stopped and people were able to start walking normally
Missouri, Bel/Ox and Harvard from the saddle
The final ridge to the summit
John is celebrating reaching the summit ~12pm
John on the summit
Ben is approaching Huron summit. Browns peak in the background.
Natalie on the summit (photo credit - John)
Jeff is goofing off on the summit
The amazing summit views from Huron. It is a beautiful thing.
North-facing couloirs look nicely filled
I don't have a summit picture of Ben, as he was too sad from dropping his lunch (a big chunk of the summer sausage) into the said couloir. I am just happy that he did not drop my camera there as well. Jeff basically pulled Ben from the brink of the abyss as it looked like he may try to follow his lunch. Ben, take heart - you'll make the day of some lucky marmot.
After goofing around and soaking in the views, we started the descent at about 1pm.
John is leading the way.
Brief glissading opportunities awaited
Enjoying the views
Hiking out of the basin
Our snowshoe track appears to be windblown by early PM
Enjoying the day so far (L-R: Ben, Jeff, John)
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
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