January 28, 2011
Trailhead: Horn Creek Trailhead
Total Mileage: ~12.4, Total Gain: ~4,600
Colony Baldy from the Rainbow Trail.
Our last trip up Electric and Lakes was a bit brutal so we looked for something a little more reasonable and Colony Baldy fit the bill. I met Al in Colorado Springs at 5:30 AM and we made the short drive to the Horn Creek Trailhead where we were hiking up the Horn Creek Trail at 7:15 AM.
First mile up the Rainbow Trail. (Photo by Al)
Due to the well packed snow, we were able to start up the trail without snowshoes but after joining the Rainbow Trail, heading south, the trail was not as well packed. We continued for another mile on the Rainbow Trail before we put the snowshoes on. Enough postholing. Our travel along the Rainbow Trail went quickly and after passing the Macey Creek junction we started up the northeast ridge of Colony Baldy.
Marcey Creek Junction on the Rainbow Trail. (Photo by Al)
After leaving the Rainbow Trail, the snow became deeper and more powdery and the trail-breaking involved much more effort. Our pace slowed down dramatically but it was nice to share the misery of deep snow with someone for a change. As we slowly progressed upwards, we encountered a steeper area where the postholing was out of control. It was thigh to waist deep powder and the snow just crumbled below our feet. How much longer could this go? We switched off the enjoyment of trail-breaking and continued upward. Things got better.
Never ending fun. (Photo by Al)
The trench we broke.
Eventually, after a few hours of tough trail-breaking, we finally reached treeline where we ditched our snowshoes and continued upwards on snow covered talus. The southeast ridge broadened and became a mellow hike as we reached the summit at 1:10 PM. Wahoo! My 400th summit over 13,000. Even though it was a brutal 6 hour hike to the summit, the views were well above average. We were surrounded by Humboldt, the Crestones, Kit Carson and Adams. The views of the Crestones were rather sobering.
Al breaking out of treeline.
Northeast slopes of Colony Baldy.
Al working his way up the northeast side of Colony Blady.
Working up the upper northeast ridge. (Photo by Al)
Kit Carson, Challenger from the NE ridge.
Lower section NE ridge.
Upper section of the NE ridge.
Crestones from the summit.
Humboldt from the summit.
We took a long break absorbing the views and then started on our descent. Now for the race against the sun. Since the trail was well broken from our ascent, our descent took half of ascent time and we returned to the car at 4:40 PM with lots of daylight to spare. A great winter climb with some of the best views around.
360 Summit View.
Al descending the northeast ridge.
Thanks to Al, for the GPX file.
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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.