| Round about Humboldt
Lon (my son), Juma (my dog) and I set out to return to Humboldt Peak. We attempted in the sping of last year, and although climbing buddies made it to the summit, Lon lost his gloves, got leg cramps and had to stop on the ridge prior to the summit. Thanks to Dima, Rod, Scott, Chris, Bob, and Andy for taking turns keeping him comfortable until I got there. Once I got to him and made him more comfortable he still wanted to go to the summit, but my gut feeling said no. My hands and feet were frozen also, and although I could have gotten myself up and down, I couldn't have helped him if he would have had additional problems. He started for the summit, and I said no. I made him turn around. I told him we would come back.
So, it was time to recon with our mountain. East ridge again for us. It was mandatory. Lon was ready to get the monkey off his back and make friends with this mountain. Can't say the mountain and us three (Lonnie, Juma and I) are exactly friends at this point, but we are well acquainted.
It began Friday, August 13. I left work at 4:55 p.m. -- just a little early -- so that I could get a jump on the traffic. As always however, I didn't get home until 6:00 p.m. After packing food, we were on the road at 7:00 p.m. Still several stops to make (gas, hand warmers from REI, Subway between Colorado Springs and Westcliffe, and a moderate 4 wheel drive up to 1/2 mile from South Colony lake final parking we found our campsite. To bed at near midnight.
I woke late (at 5:30 a.m.) and arose to boil water for Lonnie's spiced cider on the summit, coffee for me that morning, and some Noodles for Lonnie's breakfast. We packed up and drove down to Rainbow trailhead (about 1/4 mile). I looked at my watch shortly after starting up, and it was 7:30 a.m. -- we had taken too much time jockeying around with gear. I hoped the storms would stay away until we got back down.
You want me to climb what??
So this time, we followed 14ers (Bill Middlebrook's) GPS directions to the summit exactly - varying just slightly off the directions to find an easier way to get through the dense trees once you left the Rainbow Trail.
Across the bridge on Rainbow Trail.
We arrived at treeline and took a food break to enjoy the view.
Lon taking a break at treeline.
Looking back at treeline.
Time to ascend the plodding slope that I hated the first time (before you see the peak). Although there was moderate wind today (didn't compare at all to our May ascent), the sun was shining and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.
Finally, we were in view of the peak. East ridge.
First view of the peak up close.
The second I viewed it, wings lifted my feet, air filled my empty lungs, and my heart once again fell in love. Damn heart - so fickle - does it every time I see a summit above 13,000.
We took another break on the ridge since there didn't see any reason to need to summit so quickly -- still not a cloud in the sky. Lon plugged in some music and said "mom, see you at the summit" and headed off. Oh, youth. Juma and I followed, much slower. There were a couple of brief 3rd class sections where I had to lift Juma up to the next rock, but not many - it was very manageable for a human and moderate for a dog (I think). Near the top, there was one section I climbed up, following the way Lon went, that I couldn't get Juma to go. So I had to descend a ways to traverse around a big rock outcropping so that he could make it up.
Finally, I reached the summit.
From the east rock shelter toward the Crestones.
And, a plan began to form in my mind. So I made Lon traverse over to the other side of the summit to the register. Although we didn't need to sign the register, my reason for doing so was to ask individuals about the way down the South Colony Lakes route. I thought, since I had been up twice and down once the East Ridge, why not try something different -- do the circuit. I got some beta, and returned over to the east to Lon and Juma who took brief residence in our summit enclosure.
Lon and Juma - summit!
Our summit together.
Once I convinced Lon to descend the South Colony Lakes route, we took a few more summit shots, and started down toward South Colony Lakes.
The surveyor of all.
It is unusual that the East Ridge is rated Class 3, when I really thought that the more difficult part lie in the class two first several hundred feet from the summit off the South Colony side. Numerous times I had to lift and lower Juma by his harness down 4 to 5 feet downclimbs with landings of sharp pointed unstable rock. What the heck -- this was supposed to be a Class 2 climb?
Some of the exposure off the edge on the South Colony side.
The East Ridge, Class 3, wasn't nearly like this.
We took numerous photos of the Crestones and Kit Carson on the way down (as I still have those to do).
Lon viewing the Crestones (left) with Kit Carson far on the right.
I focused on the Arete so I could study it in the future (which is the only way I will do the Needle).
And took several shots of Kit Carson as I still believed we would do that the next day.
Kit Carson from the Summit of Humboldt.
Arriving at the lakes (which were not close to the trail) we continued back to our car. It seemed quite long to us. We weren't desperate, but really needed to get Juma to a large water source (I had shared quite a bit of my water with Juma already - as planned). We didn't anticipate that it was the huge distance down that direction back to the trailhead (lower 4 wheel drive parking). Before we got to the road , we were able to stop at a stream for a brief respite. I had blisters on my feet, Lonnie's feet were sore, and Juma was so glad to get his fill of water and soak his feet in the stream.
Juma was happy to soak his feet.
Lonnie -- thinking about all.
Still has that fun spirit even after long miles.
We arrived at our car late in the afternoon, with Juma limping (although his boots helped keep the pads of his feet free from cuts from the rocks, he was not used to the distance).
Juma was quite content with his boots.
Kit Carson would have to wait until next year.
Humboldt - beautiful, but still she isn't my favorite.
Humboldt - we ascended the right-hand ridge and descended down to lake to the left. Taken by climbers doing the Crestone traverse on Saturday.
Perhaps I have yet to find the ONE.
We arrived home at midnight (my fault driving up to Salida in hopes that we could still do Kit Carson). Once home, Juma could barely make it up the stairs to my place. Lon slept until 2:00 on Sunday. Adversity -- We are stronger.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):