| Humboldt Peak - West ridge
Humboldt Peak – West Ridge
Team: Jen (LuLuLuv), LuLu (canine), Ian (Mountainhiker), Dorthe, Jeff, Andrew, and Artem
Start time (from first stream crossing) 6:08am
Arrived Upper South Colony Lake Trailhead (3 miles from stream to upper TH) 7:25am
Arrived Summit 10:30am
Left Summit 11:15am
Arrived Upper Colony Lake TH 1:30pm (hung around with friends for 15 minutes, left TH 1:45)
Back at car 2:50pm
After leaving Denver around 4pm, and after a few stops (dinner at Carl's Jr. in Westcliffe and the grocery store to buy Dorthe a pair of sunglasses, loved the rhinestones Dorthe!) We arrived at the first stream crossing around 8pm and set up camp for the night. There is a small parking area just past the stream on your right with plenty of camping spots. The stream was shallow enough for my stock Chevy Colorado to make it with no problem.
In the morning as we walked up the road to the Upper South Colony Lake Trailhead, my experienced hiking partners Dorthe and Ian were very impressed with the road maintenance that has been done since their last visit about 7 years ago. Don't get me wrong the road is still very challenging, but doable in a high clearance 4WD. (I definitely could have made it further up the road, but may have been a little nervous in some areas, I'm a wimp)
This is Andrew's jeep on the way down; he made it all the way to the Upper Trailhead
The hike up the road was not too bad. As we hiked we met Tom and his 2 sons ,Peter who is 2, and Michael 7. This was Michael's 4th 14er, very impressive!
The hike through the forest was beautiful, the weather great. Here is our first view of Humboldt Peak.
There is a nice view of the Crestone Peaks from the trail, we heard climbers yelling to each other as they were heading up Ellingwood Aręte. On the summit we met two hikers who had done this very hike the day before (8/17); they said it took them 11 hours (not quite ready for that route).
The Crestones as seen from Humboldt trail
The trail up to Humboldt is nicely maintained. There is a bit of scrambling around the last 200 ft. to the summit, with a few cairns to mark the way.
All of us on the summit with the Crestones in the background
Tom (dad), Peter (2), an d Michael (7) on the summit, impressive!
The trip down the mountain was uneventful. Although you'll need to keep an eye out for the correct trail as you come to the lower lake. The old trail is still visible, but not as maintained. The trail Bill recommends parallels the lower lake (check out his route map, the old trail is marked "pack trail").
There are several water sources available for about 2/3 of the trip up Humboldt. But, if you are bringing your pooch make sure to have extra water. Also, the road down to the first stream crossing has many areas where water intersects. LuLu was a muddy mess when we arrived back to the car. She was given a stream bath with much protesting. Next time I will bring an old towel or blanket to dry her off!
I thought often about Talus Monkey. I hope his family and USA Keller are doing well.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):