Peak(s):  Huron Peak  -  14,003 feet
Date Posted:  10/11/2010
Date Climbed:   10/10/2010
Author:  Mtn_Topper

 Snowy October climb on North Ridge  

After several days of snow in the Sawatch Range, I was very close to aborting a planned climb on Huron Peak on 10/10/10. I am glad that did not. I joined up with fellow member ebnhils and we set off from Denver on a cloudy Sunday morning, leaving a little later than usual since the forecast suggested better weather later in the day. We set off from the Clear Crk./S.Winfield trailhead at about 9:15AM amid a clearing skies and a light dusting of snow.Image
As we climbed the switchbacks higher through the trees, the snow depth increased to a few inches but the trail was well packed by previous hikers and was easy to follow. Though the occasional snow flurry blew in, the weather gave increasing periods of blue sky. Once we cleared treeline about an hour after starting, we got some stunning views of the snow-covered landscape.Image As the terrain flatten out in the basin northwest of Huron, we followed the footsteps of earlier hikers through deepening snow but it was hard to tell it we were actually on trail. It was at this point that water-proof boots and gaiters became critical as the snow in spots almost reached the knee. ImageAs the terrain steepened, I tried to find a route that would all me to walk over the still-exposed rocks even though it was not always the most direct path to the summit. This proved much less tiring than trudging through the ankle to knee deep snow. As the terrain steepened further still (about two hours from the start of our hike) we could see the climbers ahead of us making their way toward the summit.Image At this point we put on our microspikes/Yaktrax because it was now much more difficult to find solid footing. We soon gained the ridge and were rewarded with stunning views east and south of the Sawatch Range. The final steep pitch to the summit was not wind-scoured as we had hoped so we kept our tracking devices on and carefully made it up the the slick, snow-covered path to the summit. We reach the summit at 12:15PM, about three hours after we had started. ImageThe weather was holding quite nicely and the views were spectacular.Image We grabbed a snack and took in the views of the Sawatch as we shared the summit with seven other climbers. We made good time during our descent. By the time we reached treeline the trail was slushy and muddy, which was not particularly fun. At tree line, I captured one last image of Huron before dropping into the trees.Image By the time we reached the parking lot at about 2:45PM, it once again felt like later summer/early fall. It was a wonderful day on Huron Peak that I'm glad I did not miss. It got me very excited about the months of winter climbing that lay ahead.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

glad we gave it a shot
10/12/2010 04:55
James, good to meet and hike with you. I'm glad we gave it a shot and went, better that sitting home in the rain. Thanks for the great report, pictures came out good.

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