Peak(s):  Humboldt Peak  -  14,064 feet
Date Posted:  07/29/2008
Date Climbed:   07/26/2008
Author:  Mooney Pilot

 14er #5 (With Rankings Thus Far)  

For my fifth 14er, I planned to climb Humboldt Peak, take lots of pictures, and submit an illustrated trip report. A low camera battery limited my picture taking. So for this trip report I'll give a brief recap of my climb of Humboldt, then compare and contrast it with my previous experiences on Colorado's 14ers.

On Humboldt: Don't even think about driving a 2WD vehicle up South Colony Lakes Road. However, a 4WD crossover vehicle like the Chevrolet Trail Blazer that I borrowed for the occasion will do just fine if you drive slowly and carefully.

The hike was the most scenic that I have experienced so far. The views of the Crestones actually elicited some verbal exclamations of amazement from me. However, the hike was somewhat harder than expected. On paper, the elevation gain and round-trip mileage listed for Humboldt made it look comparable to Uncompahgre. But I thought that Uncompahgre was much easier, probably because the Class 2 stretch of Uncompahgre was shorter.

Now, for the rankings. So far, I've climbed Culebra,, Uncompahgre, Antero, Sherman, and Humbolt. I'm also throwing Yale into the mix in some categories because I came within 1,000 feet of the summit before having to turn back in the face of blackening skies and approaching lightning.

Scenic Beauty:

1. Humboldt.

2. Uncompahgre.

3. Culebra.

4. Sherman.

5. Antero.

Difficulty (Easiest to Hardest):

1. Sherman.

2. Antero.

3. Uncompahgre.

4. Culebra. (My first. It might not be so difficult now that I have a few under my belt).

5. Humboldt.

Nearby Civilization:

1. Antero and Yale: Salida is one of my favorite Colorado towns. Plenty of motels, good restaurants, a big hot springs pool. And nearby Buena Vista isn't too shabby.

2. Sherman. I hiked Sherman from the Leadville side. There are more picturesque towns than Leadville, but it sort of grows on you. Take the train ride.

3. Humboldt. This was my first trip to Westcliffe. Very pretty town, but not much to offer in dining and lodging.

4. Uncompahgre. Lake City is a smaller, more isolated version of Westcliffe, but with more to offer in lodging.

5. Culebra. Call San Luis quaint. It does have a motel, a couple of restaurants, and an interesting religious shrine.

Trailhead Access:

1. Yale and Sherman. Both are easily accessible with a 2WD vehicle.

2. Uncompahgre. 4WD definitely needed, but there are several jeep rental places to choose from in Lake City.

3. Antero. A 4WD road, but not as many jeep rental places to choose from in Salida and Buena Vista.

4. Humboldt. Bring your own 4WD vehicle. No jeep rentals available in Westcliffe.

5. Culebra. Bring your own 4WD vehicle and pay a hefty access fee for the only 14er on private property. Reservations are needed to climb.

So, for my next 14er I will be looking for one near a nice mountain town, with easy trailhead access, some awesome scenery, and a challenging hike but not too difficult for a 57-year-old flatlander. Another shot at Yale, maybe? Or what's good on the Front Range?


 Comments or Questions

next peak!
08/03/2008 03:57
Mooney Pilot, I think maybe try Quandary Peak? It is close to a nice Mountain Town with TH access (Breckenridge and even Alma/Fairplay), and is challenging but not too difficult
P.S. I‘m from Austin, and this will be my 6th summer of going to Colorado and exploring the mountains - it is in my blood.

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