Climbing 14ers can be very dangerous, please read the Mountaineering Safety Page and make sure you have a map+compass and can use them effectively, without the help of electronic devices.
Route #1) Humboldt Peak - West Ridge
4,200 feet starting at upper 4wd TH (9,950') 5,350 feet starting at lower 2wd TH (8,800')
12.25 miles starting at upper 4wd TH (9,950') 18 miles starting at lower 2wd TH (8,800')
South Colony Lakes
Sangre De Cristo
Take Colorado 69 south from Westcliffe. Drive 4.5 miles and turn right on Colfax Lane. Drive 5.5 miles to the end of Colfax. Turn right and drive 1 mile on a dirt road to a junction. Continue straight up the 120 Road for 0.3 mile to the Lower 2WD Trailhead at 8,800’. To reach the Upper 4WD Trailhead, continue 2.7 miles to parking/camp spots before the first river crossing, near 9,950’. In 2009, the South Colony Lakes road was permanently closed here (gate) and this is the current trailhead. The trail starts next to the trailhead kiosk, in the parking area.
Taken from Crestone Needle, Photo #1 shows much of the route. From the gate closure at 9,950', walk 2.6 miles up the South Colony Lakes road and cross the river on a log bridge to reach the old 4WD trailhead. Continue southwest through the old parking area and walk 3/4 mile to 11,400' (Photo #2) where the road turns right and ends. Continue on a trail through the bushes and north into the forest. Hike through the trees as the trail turns left above 11,600' and parallels the stream below the Lower South Colony Lake. Follow the trail down to the stream ( 37.96452° N, -105.56114° W) running out of the lake - Photo #3.
Cross the stream and follow the trail northwest up the hillside - Photo #4. Near 12,000', Upper South Colony Lake is to your left (southwest) and there is a trail junction ( 37.96955° N, -105.56791° W) - Photo #5. Turn right and follow a great trail toward a slope below the West Ridge - Photo #6 and Photo #7. Photo #8 is another broad look at the route from Crestone Needle. Switchback north up toward the saddle between Unnamed Point 13,290' and Humboldt. After about 700' of gain, reach the 12,850-foot saddle ( 37.97328° N, -105.56823° W) - Photo #9. Photo #10 looks back down on the route.
When you reach the saddle, the West Ridge is up to the right (east) - Photo #11. You are 1 mile from the summit which is hidden behind a false summit at the top of the ridge. Walk up the ridge a bit to reach a some small rock outcroppings - Photo #12. Photo #13 looks down on the area. Follow the trail along or slightly left of the ridge crest. Above 13,700', there are some areas where it's easy to lose this trail. Stay near the ridge (Photo #14) and look for small cairns and trail segments. Keep hiking until you reach a bit more difficult terrain below a false summit - Photo #15. This is the crux of the route. Climb around the right side of this area (Photo #16) and hop up through the rocks to reach the west end of the summit ridge.
Once on the false summit (and you don't have to go to the top of it), the summit is visible across a flat grassy area - Photo #17. Walk 1/4 mile east and climb up 20 feet of easy rock (Photo #18) to the summit ( 37.976105° N, -105.555351° W) - Photo #19. Photo #20 looks over at The Crestones.
Humboldt is much easier than climbing the other 14ers in the area (Crestone Needle, Crestone Peak, Kit Carson Peak and Challenger Point) but it's not a Class 1 walk-up. IMPORTANT: This route enters the Sangre De Cristo Wilderness area. Wilderness areas have special regulations and restrictions for party size, dispersed camping, campfires, etc. Also, dog owners should read the wilderness information carefully because some wilderness areas prohibit dogs to be off-leash and/or limit how close dogs can be to lakes and streams. If you have questions about the Sangre De Cristo Wilderness area, please contact a U.S. Forest Service office for the National Forest(s) listed above.
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