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Humboldt questions

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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Humboldt questions

Postby ledge_lichen » Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:09 pm

Hey, novice Mt. Humboldt explorer here. I am looking for the shortest route up this peak from the east. I guess that would be either southeast gully, I think it's called or the east ridge. If anyone has some contrast/comparison views on these two routes, I would like your feedback. Thanks forum members.

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Re: Humboldt questions

Postby awilbur77 » Fri Oct 19, 2012 6:02 pm

The east ridge is usually only used in winter. If you want more info, there's plenty of trip reports for the east ridge route.
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Re: Humboldt questions

Postby Neil » Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:24 pm

Ledge -- Got your PM regarding my ascent of the East Ridge last week. As awilbur77 mentions, this route has traditionally been used in winter. However, as the trip reports on this site suggest, it is becoming an increasingly popular year-round route. The East Ridge's summer and fall use is further clear from the trail developing on the lower route. Having ascended the East Ridge and also the road to South Colony Lakes (en route to Crestone Needle), I am happy I chose the East Ridge for Humboldt. Saving four miles and a long road walk, for me, was well worth it. Even though most of this hike is off-trail, my feet thanked me for doing 8 miles instead of over 12. Plus, the East Ridge seems more isolated and interesting than the standard West Ridge.

A few notes. There is a light trail for a short stretch of the lower ridge on the crest, but a significant portion of the route prior to treeline requires a bushwhack through steeper trees on a ridge that is broad and not well defined. On the descent, this becomes especially important. Once you re-enter the trees, it is easy to get too far right or left before hitting the small trail further down, which can lead to problems. We found the use of GPS waypoints especially useful when descending back to the Rainbow Trail and South Colony Road. The route above timberline is much easier to follow, but does not have a trail. The final 500 vertical feet is on moderately loose talus that, in places, is Class 2+ hiking with occasional light (but largely avoidable) exposure. Note that, last Sunday, there were pockets of snow from 6"-12" deep in this section with a little ice on the rocks beneath.

That said, I really enjoyed this hike and recommend it if you feel comfortable with the above and have done your own research on this site or elsewhere. BILL'S ROUTE DESCRIPTION IS FANTASTIC, AS USUAL. The Southeast Gully looked unpleasant and is considered a snow route only. We looked down the gully from near the top of the East Ridge and it would be not fun without stable spring snow.

If you're curious, here are sequential pictures of the route from last Sunday (I don't have pics of the Rainbow Trail or the cutoff hike up to the East Ridge):

Lower East Ridge showing the faint trail that goes to about 10,600 ft. (the ridge crest is narrow and easy to follow until about 10,600 feet and there are semi-frequent cairns until that point)
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Lower East Ridge above 10,600 feet looking downhill; the trees here are thicker, the slope steeper (increasingly so beyond this point), and the ridge broader -- in short, more difficult route finding
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Near timberline around 11,700 ft. looking up at the middle East Ridge; the trees start thinning out about 400 feet below this point
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At 12,000 feet just out of the trees looking up at the broad and easy to navigate middle section of the East Ridge, which takes you to about 13,200 feet (the top of this section is just out of view)
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The final 850 vertical feet to the summit from 13,200 feet
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Example of Class 2+ terrain with snow pockets on the upper East Ridge
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Broader terrain on upper East Ridge
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Looking down the upper East Ridge past my buddy to the 13,200 ft. point
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Looking back at treeline on the East Ridge from near the 13,200 ft. point
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And, of course, the summit to entice you!
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Re: Humboldt questions

Postby colokeith » Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:51 pm

This is one of the most spectacular basins in the state!! Don't rush your visit here. Consider an overnight at south colony lakes there is an abundance of great camping here

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Re: Humboldt questions

Postby ledge_lichen » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:22 pm

Hello. Well, I did try climbing Mt. Humboldt back on October 27. So this is a trip report. It's going, however, to be short. We got up the 4-wheel road to the trail head (where you cannot go any further). It was a nice sunny day; it started out cold, but nicely warmed up in the afternoon. One or two members of the group was/were only about one and one half or maybe two miles up the South Colony jeep road when one of them stepped on a patch of ice (on the road) and broke both bones in his right leg above the ankle. Naturally, this was the end of our adventure. The group took turns either helping him hop on one leg or carrying him on a tree bole litter that we made back to the parked vehicle (this took three very long grueling hours or so). But, he's not heavy, he's our brother. Anyway, we dropped off the victim at St. Mary Corwin hospital in Pueblo, and a couple of days later or the next day he had surgery. He now has an extra metal plate, five pins, and a cable in his right leg or ankle. By the way, we were on the South Colony jeep road because someone in the group decided we were going to do the west ridge route instead of the east ridge route. Gee, just one more surprise I guess. Anyway, he has to keep all weight off that leg for six weeks. We saw two other hikers going up and three hunters going up, but the hunters then passed us again going down. The didn't stay long. I don't know if the hikers reached the summit or not. Maybe someday I will get there myself.

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Re: Humboldt questions

Postby Presto » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:31 pm

by ledge_lichen ยป Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:22 pm
Hello. Well, I did try climbing Mt. Humboldt back on October 27. So this is a trip report. It's going, however, to be short. We got up the 4-wheel road to the trail head (where you cannot go any further). It was a nice sunny day; it started out cold, but nicely warmed up in the afternoon. One or two members of the group was/were only about one and one half or maybe two miles up the South Colony jeep road when one of them stepped on a patch of ice (on the road) and broke both bones in his right leg above the ankle. Naturally, this was the end of our adventure. The group took turns either helping him hop on one leg or carrying him on a tree bole litter that we made back to the parked vehicle (this took three very long grueling hours or so). But, he's not heavy, he's our brother. Anyway, we dropped off the victim at St. Mary Corwin hospital in Pueblo, and a couple of days later or the next day he had surgery. He now has an extra metal plate, five pins, and a cable in his right leg or ankle. By the way, we were on the South Colony jeep road because someone in the group decided we were going to do the west ridge route instead of the east ridge route. Gee, just one more surprise I guess. Anyway, he has to keep all weight off that leg for six weeks. We saw two other hikers going up and three hunters going up, but the hunters then passed us again going down. The didn't stay long. I don't know if the hikers reached the summit or not. Maybe someday I will get there myself.


Wow ... I can relate. However, at least you guys were doing something noble like trying to climb a peak. :roll: 6-1/2 weeks ago, whilst looking at the fall colors, I slipped and broke both bones in my lower left leg, and crushed the ankle. Went to the ER and had a 3 hour surgery. Had a rod inserted in the lower leg with screws/pins that attach the broken bones to the rod. Then, had a 5" plate installed on the outside of the ankle and 3 screws on the inside. Just saw the post op x-rays about a week and a half ago. They totally had to rebuild the ankle with plates/pins/screws. All metal will stay there forever. I had to spend 4 weeks on my back in bed. They say the boot stays on until the end of the year. Thanks for helping out your friend ... sounds like quite the group effort to get him out of the predicament. I'm sure he greatly appreciated your efforts. =D> The mountain will there when you return. :wink:
As if none of us have ever come back with a cool, quasi-epic story instead of being victim to tragic rockfall, a fatal stumble, a heart attack, an embolism, a lightning strike, a bear attack, collapsing cornice, some psycho with an axe, a falling tree, carbon monoxide, even falling asleep at the wheel getting to a mountain. If you can't accept the fact that sometimes "s**t happens", then you live with the illusion that your epic genius and profound wilderness intelligence has put you in total and complete control of yourself, your partners, and the mountain. How mystified you'll be when "s**t happens" to you! - FM

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Re: Humboldt questions

Postby ulvetano » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:00 pm

Damn, this makes me cringe. Ugh!

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