Peak(s):  Huron Peak  -  14,003 feet
Date Posted:  06/04/2015
Date Climbed:   06/02/2015
Author:  DanielL
 Huron Peak: Sky Blue   


Huron Peak Ski



Route: Northwest Slope/Ridge
Distance/Vert: 10 miles, 3700' or so
Ski Difficulty: I'd probably say D5, R2 III
Fun Had: Much!

It's been a while since I put up a trip report, so I figured I'd post one about a climb and ski of Huron Peak a couple days ago. As soon as I saw member Fr3ako's conditions report showing rare coverage on Huron's west side, my choice for next peak ski was made. My sister joined me and we made a day of it!

We drove up 0.6 miles of the 4WD road until getting to a rough section with snow. We made quick work of the rest of the road, which was almost completely melted off (especially through the meadows).

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Some peak from the valley


The trail from the 4WD TH wasn't so simple. The first stretch wasn't too bad - on and off snowdrifts but mostly melted trail - but as we ascended through the trees, the snow took over.

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A dry-ish section of trail


It's not bad when there has been a freeze, but the previous night definitely did not get cold enough, so we had an increasingly miserable time postholing. At about 11,300' (halfway up through the trees) we ran out of trail, and tried skinning but the surface of the snow was too icy. (Ski crampons maybe?) If we took off the skis, we broke through the surface crust and sunk knee-to-thigh-to-hip deep in the snow. Not very efficient, to say the least. We knew we couldn't ascend this, so we started crawling north towards the Browns Peak side of the slope, on the other side of a stream. Fortunately, the snow covering the stream was firm and we crossed without further soaking ourselves. The Browns Peak side of the slope was mostly dry ground and we made much better progress. Still at 11,300', but in a better spot!

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Stream crossing, from snow to dry ground!


Thus re-located, we cruised up the steep but dry slope to treeline, where we met up with tracks from previous hikers and skiers.

Aaaand then we saw this:

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Huron!


Yes! That was more like it. We donned the skis at this point. I thought Huron was pretty in summer, but this was way better!

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The Three Apostles


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Snow highway


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With skis on, we were able to make much better time. The route was straightforward - just follow the tracks!

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Loaded west face


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Much fun the descent will be!


We passed a few slides on the way up...something to watch out for on the descent with warmer snow:
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Up on the bench, summit ahead


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More snow, more smiles!


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The slope continued to get steeper until I started to lose grip a bit with the firm morning snow, and so I popped the skis on the pack. My sister was able to go for a bit further before switching to bootpacking as well.

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Steep skinning


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The one rocky spot that gave us trouble


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Sastrugi!


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Northern Sawatch peaks


We soon got to the final summit ridge as the snow started softening a bit. An impressive cornice awaited, crowning the summit majestically:
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Summit!


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My skis are ready for some action!


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Apostles to the southwest


We dropped off the west side of the summit to catch snow on the top of the west face before swinging over to the Northwest slope that we ascended. Snow was a bit firm, but we knew lots of corn awaited!

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Initial drop off the summit..


Soon, we were ripping down the awesome spring snow!

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Corn!


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Back to treeline


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A great day on Huron!


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At treeline, the snow was turning to mush, but still skiable! We skied through the trees, hoping to make it all the way down to 11,300' where we knew the trail was largely melted off.

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Tired but happy


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We were, in fact, able to ski down to 11,300', where our fun descent would end at last. The hike out was tiring but otherwise uneventful.

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Thanks for reading!



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions
bergsteigen

Nice!
06/05/2015 13:51
Glad you were able to get the mellower side of Huron with rare snow cover and before the super warm up melts it all away. Corn turns were rare this spring too!


DanielL

Thanks!
06/06/2015 13:33
Yeah, I haven’t been skiing much this spring, especially on 14ers, but this did seem like a rare nice day. My last few outings were white–out adventures, so it was nice to have a sunny day. The season’s not over yet!



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