Peak(s):  North Apostle  -  13,860 feet
Ice Mtn  -  13,951 feet
Date Posted:  08/30/2020
Date Climbed:   08/15/2020
Author:  nmedica
 A Proper Colorado Day  

The day started as any proper Colorado day should start. It started by picking-up our friends at 4:30am and driving to a remote location in the mountains for a day of adventure. It ended with dropping them off at 11pm and discussing the type II fun we had all experienced from the completed outing. In our case, the remote location was the Huron Peak trailhead outside of Winfield, Colorado with North Apostle + Ice Mountain as the objectives for the outing. We were a group of two couples meeting another couple already camping near the Huron Peak trailhead. They had driven up the night before.

We arrived at the Huron Peak camping area to Sam & Lauren brushing their teeth and getting ready to go hike. They had experienced a very tedious drive up the 4X4 jeep road the night before. Coupled with a long work week, they deserved the rest.

Our objective for the day was to hike up and summit both North Apostle and Ice Mountain. We were a party of six and all had various hiking, trail running, and backcountry scrambling experience (and lack thereof). However, at 9.5 miles and 3500 feet of vertical gain (all at or below class 3), how bad could it be? and how long could it take?

The answers - bad and a long time.

Given the off-trail nature of the mileage, the talus hopping, and the off-route low fifth class on Ice Mountain combined with the various abilities of our group members we found out that the route could be and was very challenging. Some might say the route was border-line traumatizing. Challenging and traumatizing are both synonyms for bad when it comes to big lines in the mountains. As a group, the route ended-up taking us 9.5 hours. We ended the day at 11.7 miles and 4K gain, which was much further than the listed 9.5miles/3.5Kgain. Our added mileage and vertical gain were largely due to the fact that we started quite a bit down from the GPX's trailhead start.

More about the route...
  • The trail miles low are highway miles, and a fast-party can rip through the lower trail miles.
  • The route sort of meanders through manzanita brush around treeline before the talus slog.
  • The upper route has a substantial talus slope up to a saddle (the talus is pretty stable).
  • North Apostle is straight-forward class 3 and mellow.
  • Ice Mountain has route finding issues. If you get off-route, you can and will find yourself in low fifth class and chossy/loose terrain.

We were hiking at 7:30am and back to our cars by approximately 5pm. Once at the car, we proceeded to tailgate for a bit and had cool, re-hydrating refreshments from the cooler and prepared ourselves for the highway journey home (~2:45 drive to Denver from Winfield). Ultimately, we all made our way to a great mexican joint on the outskirts of Leadville for tacos, chip & salsa, and a corona before the rest of the car ride home. That corona deserved it's lime.

In all seriousness, I don't think anyone got too scared or traumatized from the outing, and I hope everyone looks back on the trip for what it was - A Proper Colorado Day.


The unexpecting parties sans their photographer.

Exiting treeline and the manzanita the route meandered through.

Getting closer to the talus slog

Looking up to North Apostle from the route just above the saddle on the ridge up to Ice Mountain.

Looking over to Huron Peak (photo's left) from the North Apostle summit

Initial scrambling on Ice Mountain. We left our climbing helmets at home and opted for bicycle helmets!

Off route on Ice Mountain in low 5th class terrain. The cairn was below the white helmet. We went down that way, which was on the other side of the ridge above the climbers in this photo.

Kelley signing the summit register on Ice Mountain.

World-Class Views!

Highway trail miles to the car

Gorgeous view of the Three Apostles. The haze in the photo was smoke from the Pine Gulch Fire. It ended up being the largest fire in Colorado state history.

The final mileage to the car with Kelley was my favorite part to the day. It was beautiful.

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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