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 Peak:  Humboldt Peak (14er)
 Route:  West Ridge
 Range:  Sangre de Cristo
 Posted By:  anna
 Date of Information:  04/21/2012
 Date Posted:  04/22/2012
 Report

Photos: https://plus.google.com/photos/113647794085643822331/albums/5734317970093168481

The road to the upper TH has a couple of short snow sections on one side of the road and lots of hanging branches or fallen logs that can and inevitably will scratch your truck/suv on the way up/down. There was one interesting muddy section near the upper TH in the afternoon.
Went exploring around South Colony Lakes. Started with following the standard trail towards Broken Hand Pass. The old 4wd has patchy snow to the old TH, some of which is fairly deep. In the morning, no flotation was needed and much of it was avoidable by following bare patches. The snow was surprisingly solid in the afternoon with only a little postholing. Wore snowshoes briefly and then decided it wasn't worth it. Several downed trees along the way require a bit of over/under wiggling. The standard trail has quite a bit of snow on it and staying on the trail can be a challenge. I found microspikes helpful as I was traversing snowfields regularly. I can't speak to the safety of following that route in the afternoon, but I was hearing and seeing minor wet slides early in the morning in the upper reaches of Broken Hand Peak's east side.
Headed around the south side of the lower lake to peer up at Broken Hand Pass from the base. At least one person had made an ascent to the pass from the lower lake - tracks were visible to the top. Broken Hand Pass is holding onto a lot of snow. Spotted another climber who'd more or less followed the trail and was making a traverse to finish climbing to the top of the pass.
Did a little meandering and willow-bashing to intersect the trail to Humboldt. This side had significantly less snow thanks to its southern exposure. Humboldt's SE flank is no good now - barely any snow remaining. The standard west ridge route has snow here and there on the trail - nothing requiring flotation or traction. Very little ice on the trail, all of which was easily avoidable. It won't be long before this trail dries out, but expect muddy conditions in the afternoon.
The west ridge has some snow, but nothing of note. Found another hiker at the summit who'd attempted a variation of the SE flank. We descended the west ridge and attempted to find the shortcut trail on the northern side. Once in the trees, the trail was difficult to keep, especially since I hadn't taken that trail since October 2010. We alternated between snowshoes and no flotation as the snow was still surprisingly firm in many areas. The walk through the trees became a bushwack as we gave up in finding the trail. Past tracks in various areas indicated that we weren't the only people who'd done this. We eventually intersected with the standard trail by the log bridge near the old TH and finished the walk out to the new TH.



Photos (click for slideshow):
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