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Humboldt, more than just a check mark!

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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Humboldt, more than just a check mark!

Postby Corn » Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:26 am

I had to get out before the snow hit and After checking the weather Humboldt fit the bill. Got to the TH at 6 am fell asleep for a couple of hours woke up at 9 and took off on the west ridge. Not a good decision. By the time I was at the lower SC lake the wind was whipping. combine that with the cold and snow covered trails I should have turned around. Finally hit the summit at 3PM! I thought it would be quicker to descend the east ridge. The sun dropped quick. I was able to make it to tree line just as it turned completely dark. Opened the pack and NO headlamp! Checked the GPS a couple of times and knew where i was but then the battery died. All i had was a cheesy light that shined a whopping 3 ft in front of me going down the East ridge. Having never been on the east ridge and only checking out the route on the 14ers app, i really didn't know what i was getting myself into. After about an hour trying to find a decent route down, my only option was to shoot right and hopefully hit the road. Cliffs, downed trees and 3 owls the scared the Sh*t out of me greeted me on this horrible route. After another hour, Isome how managed to find the old south colony road and finished of the trip down to the jeep at around 8pm. Almost 11 hours on and off trail! I screwed this trip up, I know and can admit that. That being said, I'm sitting in front of my fireplace typing on my computer because I used the skills I picked up in the Army doing Night Land Nav and stayed calm.

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Re: Humboldt, more than just a check mark!

Postby BlueKhan » Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:32 am

Glad you made it back. I've been backpacking, camping and climbing all of my life and I still feel like I learn something every time out. Situations like these are some of the most influential learning experiences because you will never EVER forget them. Adversity because of unpreparedness, arrogance, ignorance or whatever...is likely to eventually become either one of my worst nightmare's or one of my fondest memories. More often then not, these situations make their way into my fondest memories. In hindsight, most adverse situations are valuable lessons that let us know who we really are. I have made a few REALLY bad desicions induced by fatigue, altitude, arrogance, etc., and have continued to beat my self up over and over again. As bad as those decisions were (thinking I was incapable of making such a horrible decision) I have come to realize that everyone is capable of making a crucial mistake on the mountain. I guess what I'm saying is enjoy the glory of getting through it and learn from it.

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Re: Humboldt, more than just a check mark!

Postby DaveSwink » Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:23 am

Nice work pulling through a bad situation. The east ridge is a sweet winter route, but it can be tricky finding the trail at treeline and even harder to know when to drop off the ridge so you probably took about the best course possible under the circumstances.

After being caught a couple of times, I now try to always carry a headlamp and backup batteries even on planned day hikes. Also, the beginning to several of my own fiascos has been the decision to take an unfamiliar route down. 8)

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Re: Humboldt, more than just a check mark!

Postby susanjoypaul » Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:30 pm

dswink wrote:Also, the beginning to several of my own fiascos has been the decision to take an unfamiliar route down.

Ditto... many of my most "memorable" trips went awry right after I decided to take a "shortcut."

I actually carry two headlamps on every trip, because I hike alone often and it's very difficult to change the batteries on a headlamp in the dark, with no partner to shine a light from their own headlamp while I make the swap. It's super easy to just grab a second headlamp out of the top of my pack.

Corn wrote:That being said, I'm sitting in front of my fireplace typing on my computer because I used the skills I picked up in the Army doing Night Land Nav and stayed calm.

There's a lot to be said for staying calm. Glad you made it out and I bet that warm fire felt really good last night.

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Re: Humboldt, more than just a check mark!

Postby 14erFred » Sun Dec 09, 2012 2:14 pm

Susan's illuminating insight to carry 2 headlamps is excellent. I'm modifying my gear list to incorporate this backup light from now on. The minimal extra weight could be invaluable. Thanks for sharing, Susan. And glad you made it back safe and sound, Corn. Welcome home.

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Re: Humboldt, more than just a check mark!

Postby Tortoise1 » Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:35 pm

I carry a headlamp and a flashlight, for a little more versatility. There's some very good 20-40 lumen small flashlights with long battery life. LED devices just keep getting better every year.

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Re: Humboldt, more than just a check mark!

Postby Corn » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:08 am

Thanks for the advice. What took place and the feedback are learning experiences I can use to prevent things like that from happening again. I'm lucky this learning lesson took place on Humboldt. Starting out, it's good to not only get the "easier" ones out of the way but also have the ability to screw up and be able to talk about it later.

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Re: Humboldt, more than just a check mark!

Postby tlongpine » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:10 am

"More than just a checkmark"

The views of the Crestones is remarkable - with or without a summit.
I am unable to walk away from the mountain without climbing it. An unclimbed mountain tugs at my consciousness with the eternal weight of time itself. Until I've pressed my face into it's alpine winds, hugged it's ancient granite walls, and put it's weathered summit beneath my heal I'm unable to resist it's attraction.Knowing nature gives the mountain more time than she gives us adds urgency to the obsession. As has been said before; the mountain doesn't care.

It can wait forever. I cannot.

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Re: Humboldt, more than just a check mark!

Postby KentonB » Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:46 pm

Wow! Glad you're back safely! Sounds like a "perfect storm" of things that went wrong. I thought I'd throw in my own unsolicited advice...

Every time I hike (and especially if hiking solo), I always leave detailed instructions with the family on where I'm at, the route I'm taking, when I'll be back, and the number of the county's sheriff. My wife has learned to always add an extra couple hours to the time I say I'll be back, but it is nice having the security that "if" I should become completely lost or injured, I know help is on the way!

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