Peak(s):  Humboldt Peak  -  14,064 feet
Date Posted:  07/08/2011
Date Climbed:   06/25/2011
Author:  --bb--
 East Ridge -> West Ridge Loop  

The week prior to the trip up Humboldt, I met a number of fabulous on Mt Lindsey. The timing was perfect. The following week, Jay521 threw out the idea of Humboldt Peak. I had a short list of peaks for early season and this one seemed perfect for conditions in comparison to the others. Jay suggested the loop from East Ridge to West Ridge. I was slightly hesitant after researching the route, but studied the topo and prepared myself for an adventure.

I started from the Rainbow Trail at ~6am expecting Jay to catch up somewhere on the East ridge. The trail crosses over the stream on a good bridge. Wildflowers lined the well maintained trail. Image
Columbines at the start of Rainbow Trail

My first challenge was where to turn left up to the ridge. Jay said he turned left at an orange tie on a tree, but I turned at this cairn. In hindsight, I actually hiked to the east ridge via a longer route to the north. Longer, but nice. Image
Cairn - turn left here (unless you turned left at orange tie)

From the cairn, I hiked up the ridge southwest through the trees. From the first view of the ridge ahead (or false summit), a clear trail lines the ridge. Image
The ridge/false summit from the East ridge.

I enjoyed the solitude on the trail and watching the sun shine on the trees and wildflowers. As soon as I thought to myself, "this isn't very difficult route finding," the trail transformed from the trail to a trail. This photo was the last of the trail. Image
The trail before it disappears.

I tried to stay on the trail for a little while but it was a waste of time. I let my west/northwest shadow from the rising sun lead me through the dense trees. I crossed a couple dry stream beds while going W/NW to open trees. Once in the open trees, the route was fairly obvious (follow the ridge, go higher). Image
Out of the woods.

Near timberline or a little higher, I saw Jay hiking up the ridge! Here's me looking back at Jay. This was probably the steepest part of the trail. Image
Hiking up the ridge. Probably the steepest part of the trail.

As soon as we reached the top of the hill in the photo, you could see Humboldt's summit. The rest of the route was fairly easy to find. There were some traces of a trail, but very faint and not worth trying to find/follow. Image
Route to the summit.

We were faced with whether to stay on the ridge or just south of the ridge a few times. Nothing challenging, tho. Image
Jay on the East Ridge.

We reached the summit and took in the amazing scenery. You can see at least half of the East Ridge from the summit looking back, the Sangre's to the south (where we were the week before), the fabulous Crestone's, and more. Image
Looking back on the East Ridge.
On the summit looking south.

While the west ridge route was easier and more crowded, the views were absolutely incredible. It was one of those days that you just don't want to come down.

We were thankful for the East Ridge -> West Ridge adventure from Rainbow Trail as we slogged down the old 4WD road! By taking the loop, we avoided re-tracing our steps on the boring and rocky 4WD road and avoided the crowds on the West Ridge. I sharpened my route finding, map reading and bushwhacking abilities which was surprisingly very fun for me! Lastly, we accomplished all of this while being distracted by the eye candy of Crestone and Crestone Needle on the descent. Turned out to be one great hike! Image
Crestone Needle.

p.s. this is my first trip report. I'd love feedback on what was helpful and what was missing. Thanks!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

You Two Are Great!
07/09/2011 01:10
Congratulations on your successful summit. We saw each other at the top, had a brief conversation about all the different peaks and ranges we could see from the summit on that glorious day. I was very impressed later in the day to be back down in our camp at South Colony Lake and see you two pass by and realize that you were in fact on a big loop. Nicely done. Enjoy the rest of your summer ... and keep posting the reports.

Exiled Michigander

Nice Report!
07/09/2011 01:22
I've been planning to traverse over Humboldt from east to west sometime this summer, so I found your TR very helpful. Hoping to follow your path in the next few weeks!


VERY nice!
07/09/2011 10:28
Nice report, Bridget! You are a GREAT climbing partner!


Very cool.
07/09/2011 16:17
Congrats you guys. Looks like a fun trip!


Very nice!
07/09/2011 21:47
I've done the west ridge and never really gave much thought to do doing a loop to integrate in the east slope...hmmm. Very nice report, Humboldt is one of my faves due to the great view of the Crestones.

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