Click to Expand
|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-06-27||Route: West Ridge
Info: Ditto to everything cardgenius said in prior report, except road is snow free all the way up to the 4x4 trailhead - very wet, though. A few small snow patches to cross in the willows section, no special equipment needed, the route is very much in summer condition otherwise. Enjoy!
|2016-06-24||Route: West Ridge
Info: 4x4 road is in good condition. Made it 1 mile short of the upper TH in a Mazda 3 hatchback with careful driving. 2 small snow fields down low to cross over. No traction needed. Trail is wet with lots of standing water and running water. Mosquitos are really bad right now, specially by the lakes. Tons of Marmots running around so keep an eye on you pack if you set it down.
|2016-06-19||Route: West Ridge
Info: Headed up Humboldt on Saturday, the 4WD road was bumpy but not horrible. Made it in an Acura MDX and our friend's Subaru Outback station wagon also made it. Trail was beautiful, campsites were awesome. Once thing to note - we camped around 11,600, just past the rocky field at the first large campsite to the left. Had to end our trip early because our dogs had a run-in with a porcupine who we believe had taken up residence in the rocks. Usually you only see porcupines at dawn or dusk - if at all, so it was rare to see one active around 7-7:30 am, especially the the presence/noise of dogs in the campsite. So if you are heading up to camp with dogs, please make sure to leash them, especially in this area.
|2016-06-19||Route: West Ridge
Info: The road to the trailhead is smooth and clear. South Colony Lakes and the trail up Humboldt are really clear with only a few small snow fields to cross (but they're so well traveled that traction isn't necessary. Upper part of the trail is well cairned and easy to follow. I HIGHLY recommend either planning to be out of the lakes area by mid-day or having a light set of long sleeve layers - the mosquitoes are swarming and they hunger for your blood.
|2016-06-19||Route: West Ridge
Info: There are few intermittent snow patches en route to South Colony Lakes; however, the trail above is dry-I was able to make to the summit just fine without microspikes or traction.
|2016-06-18||Route: West Ridge
Info: Headed up Humboldt on Saturday. The weather was beautiful and, as reported by others, snow was a non-issue. However, there is a lot of melt on the trail close to tree-line, obscuring the route in places. We had trouble finding the trail a couple times. Suggestion: on the way up, note the portions of the route that are flooded out so you remember the route on the way down. We were all novice hikers, though, so take this suggestion with a grain of salt if you're more experienced.
|2016-06-18||Route: West Ridge
Info: Climbed Humboldt on Saturday, June 18th 2016. Trail is in summer condition, several patches of snow on the way up but shouldn't be a big deal. A little trouble route finding near the lower lake, ran into a few dead ends where snow covers the trail and it is hard to find the correct way. But just stay as near the lake as you can on the north side and you should find the trail no problem. Although we climbed Humboldt, I pretty much only took pictures of the Crestones. I couldn't help it, they were just so beautiful and it was my first time in this area. Being right underneath Crestone Needle is an incredible experience. Photo 1 is Crestone Needle from around the Lower SC Lake. Photo 2 is myself and Crestone Needle from Upper SC Lake right underneath the Humboldt switchbacks. It was a perfect day; no clouds, no wind. Photo 3 is the Crestones from the Humboldt saddle. Photo 4 is the Humboldt summit ridge from right underneath the false summit. Photo 5 is a panoramic shot from the summit. The trail is in good summer condition with a lot of melting on the old road and beneath the lakes, so waterproof boots might be handy. Me and a friend both did it in mesh Merrill scrambling shoes though, and didn't have any problems. Not even a hint of wind on Humboldt ridge and summit, I was able to wear a tank top and shorts the entire time up there. One more thing. Going down the east ridge will be tempting. It cuts a lot of distance out of the RT. We did this, DO NOT DO IT. The east ridge itself is amazingly beautiful while walking along the craggy, jutting edge. But once that ends, you will have to bushwack about 1000 feet straight down through the forest. We did this, and it sucked. You think it will save time but without a trail and the steep, unpredictable forest terrain, we probably added 30-45 minutes to our descent than if we had just taken the West Ridge again. Eventually after about an hour of slipping and sliding down the steep, wooded terrain, we (thank god) found the road. Although this cut distance from our RT, it definitely did not cut time. Use the standard route, and have fun! South Colony Lakes are BEAUTIFUL!!!
|2016-06-16||Route: West Ridge
Info: Not too much to add to the 6/12 report. I had a couple of similar route finding issues - particularly by the Lower Lake. There is a pretty decent section of snow covering the trail and we followed some footprints that led to a trail that goes close down by the lake and got stuck for a bit trying to get back up to the main trail. You have to keep going past this lake entry to find where the trail picks up along the left side of the large snow patch. In the morning it was very windy and the snow was pretty icy so I do think microspikes could be helpful in a couple of spots, particularly if you are uncomfortable on snow. Definitely agree there were several spots that the trail was more like a small stream, so waterproof/resistant shoes are pretty essential if you want your feet to stay dry. This was my first time to this area and it was beautiful!
|2016-06-12||Route: West Ridge
Info: 4WD road completely clear to South Colony - made it up no problem in a Toyota Tacoma with trail tires. Hike was completely uneventful - some route finding required to make it past some lingering snowfields that obscured the trail, but smart trail-finding/scouting will make finding the trail again easy. Trail is a stream in some places; snow is melting quickly up there. Brought snowshoes and spikes and needed neither. Easily 70 degrees on top - beautiful day.
|2016-06-12||Route: West Ridge
Info: Drove 4WD road to upper parking lot (road is all-clear, just make sure you have 4WD and good clearance). Long road up to trail fork - sporadic snow drifts on this trail. Found a good campsite about halfway to the lakes - dodging snow. There's definitely more snow in this valley than the more northern valleys I've been hiking up (Elbert, Columbia, Quandary). Started hiking from campsite at 430 am, summited at 730am - wind was unreal at the Humboldt saddle. We got pounded. 5-6 big patches of snow drifts on the trail to the saddle - not enough for snowshoes or any snow/ice gear. Just plow through if its mushy (it will be on the way down) or ride the frozen snow before dawn with boots or microspikes - we were all in boots and youll do just fine with only boots. Not alot of people up in this area which was surprising, we only passed a couple of people on the way down as we were the first to summit.
|2016-06-11||Route: West Ridge
Info: West Ridge of Humboldt on Sat 6/11. Tons of melt, water ways down the road from the lakes, etc. Entire route is probably close to 95% clear now. What little snow remains is mostly avoidable with just a few small exceptions. No real glissading opportunities any longer, unfortunately. Summer-like conditions, so no snow gear needed at all. Left TH around 6am, summited just after 11am. Saw only seven others on the mountain. Road to TH absolutely fine... except for the low clearance car that got himself stuck. Lol. There's a reason the route info calls for good clearance 4wd...
|2016-06-06||Route: West Ridge
Info: Started ascent from 4WD trailhead at 6am. Some drifts towards the end of the old 4wd road, but passable and road 90% clear. Once the trails split, the Humboldt trail runs into snow in the trees pretty quickly. Post-hole inevitable. Around both lakes still a lot of snow. Switchbacks visible in some parts. Ridgeline to summit is fairly clear. Good glissading opportunities on the way down. More post-holing on the way down. No snowshoes.
|2016-06-05||Route: West Ridge
Info: Did the West Ridge on 05Jun16. The 2.5 miles up old south colony lakes road to the road/trail junction was mostly clear. After this point route finding was a bit tricky due to snow. Would recommend snowshoes from the road/trail junction to about 12000'. Gaining the ridge and the remaining route to the summit I wore micro-spikes but they probably weren't necessary. Snow was soft and slushy by mid morning. Lots of water running down the old road.
|2016-06-05||Route: East Ridge
Info: The 4WD road is clear of snow and there is no snow up until about 11,100 ft, at which point patches of snow appear. Just below treeline knee deep snow appeared. We opted to bring snowshoes, ice axes, and microspikes. We used the snowshoes here just below treeline and then a little past treeline. Above treeline there were patches of snow again, some very large and unavoidable (we used snowshoes on a large patch, which was nice). After the false summit there was more snow than there wasn't. We mainly used microspikes and the ice-axe as protection. About 100 ft below the summit the snow disappeared and there was minimal snow on the summit. It was quite slippery in many spots due to transition snow and it was nice to have trekking poles or an ice-axe for balance. The descent was good, but we used the snowshoes again around treeline. I would have regretted not bringing the ice-axe and microspikes, the snowshoes were perhaps unnecessary (but nice to have in a few places). The weather was very nice, I mostly wore a t-shirt and only put on a light jacket at around 13,000 ft.
|2016-05-24||Route: East Ridge
Info: The snow line is was pretty far above the Rainbow trail. If you plan on starting in the dark like I did, I highly advise downloading the .GPX file for the left off of the Rainbow trail was very easy to miss. With no snow for awhile and in the dark, hiking from waypoint to waypoint was necessary. Eventually, large mounds of snow were showing up. Alternating between 10-50 yards of snow knee to waste deep and then the same with dry ground so it took some time to give in and get out the snow shoes. They were necessary though.Eventually not far from treelike the snow became solid both by being consistent and not postholing. T This was well before sunrise and the temp was estimated around 29 that night at that altitude. If you're in the dark and the conditions haven't changed, I wouldn't expect or plan on using the trail too much after the first hour. After the treeline it was pretty straight forward and solid so snowshoes were fine for awhile. Eventually cramp ons were needed. This was still before sunrise. The wind was very strong so warmer gloves were needed (It was much warmer at the trailhead so a smaller, thinner pair were fine). The snow was very solid so the crampons gripped very well. All I can say about the peak is that the view was amazing, the sky was 100% clear and the wind made it almost unsafe to leave your gloves off very along. Also, if you do take your gloves or anything off, don't expect them to be there too long if you're not keeping them secure somehow. Heading back the temp went up fast so the snow conditions changed tremendously. The angles are moderate so it didn't matter, but form the little I know about the I would have been thinking about wet avalanches if it were steeper for it was around my ankles. Another note, the temp was so warm by the time I got back to the Rainbow trail I was wearing a short sleeve gym shirt and could have worn shorts. In terms of skiing: It would have been quite awhile before you would have been doing any skinning. And except for very close to the peak, you would have been avoiding rocks quite a bit coming back. The East Ridge. I don't regret not skinning.
|2016-05-14||Route: East Ridge
Info: South Colony Lakes Road to rainbow trail junction is clear with the exception of a couple spots where only one tire had to roll through snow. Sporadic snow on this route from 10,200-10,800 due to the south facing slope direction. Continuous snow after that in which snowshoes were very helpful; we were postholing without them. At sunrise, we decided to stash our snowshoes above treeline as the snow was consolidated. Summitted around 7:30 am using just microspikes; the snow was pretty firm on the way up. Much less firm above treeline a couple hours later on the descent. For conditions of neighboring peaks, message me and I can send some higher quality photos taken with dslr if the attached ones don't suffice.
|2016-04-10||Route: Southeast Flank Gully
Info: South Colony Lakes Road very snowy from Rainbow Trail intersection on. I turned off road at 1.8 miles past the summer TH bridge. Initially, hellish postholing, even with snowshoes. But, once slope angle increased, snow was great. It's easy to find the bottom of the avy slope...you can see the open area through the thick trees. The SE flank gully had ~1000 feet of snow...hard, with graupel sliding down in waves. At the end of the snow, I followed the line into the talus, and ultimately intersected the East Ridge Route near the summit.
|2016-04-04||Route: East Ridge
Info: Drove to within a mile of the trailhead. Was very warm, around freezing when we took off around 6:30AM. Already mud and slush up the road and into the trail. There is a very large tree down across the trail that turned out to be a good place to take that left past the bridge to gain the ridge. The trail up the ridge and through the trees was easy to see and follow however we had to shoe up through most of it because of lots of post holing. Even with shoes we often post holed to our knees. We left our shoes at tree line. We went straight up the hill to the 13,100 ridge and had to crampon up from there. There was no tracks to follow and with the fresh snow on top, had to pick our way through the rocks carefully but it was definitely doable. Had a birthday cake on the peak!
|2016-03-25||Route: East Ridge
Info: We started a bit before 7 without any trouble. Snow drifts would prevent cars from going all the way up the road to the Rainbow Trail, but otherwise the road and the on trail portion was pretty bare. There was a packed down track a good ways up the lower ridge, but ends well below treeline. Throughout the hike there was occasional post-holing, especially right before treeline, but nothing bad enough to require flotation. Once above the trees, snow could be easily avoided, but the winds were...well doing what wind does best. We got to right up to the flat ridge-13,100, before a white out turned us around. Also a Public Service Announcement: Whenever wearing gloves/mittens, make sure the strap that goes around the wrist is actually tightened, not just on. When I took off one of my hiking poles, it took the mitten off and blew within two feet of dropping the north face before sticking on a rock.
|2016-03-05||Route: East Ridge
Info: The overnight low before the hike was about 20F. We hiked to treeline in only microspikes, above treeline it is mostly bare ground. We wore snowshoes below treeline on the way down with minimal postholing, one in our group did not have snowshoes and didn't posthole that badly, but it was partly cloudy and not much above 40F during midday. Starting at 6:20 start to finish in just under 10 hours.