Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Huron Peak 2024

This was my third trip to Huron Peak and it is one that I will always be happy to return to. It is a beautiful route and not overly difficult. The summit views are some of the best in the state. It is definitely a mountain worth repeating. Here in 2024 I was in Colorado preparing for the Silver Rush 50 race on Saturday July 6. We had Wednesday and Thursday free for acclimatizing hikes leading up to the race. The goal was to toe the line between getting some high altitude time and work without blowing up the body. I've done this a couple times in the past preparing for the Pikes Peak Marathon in 2016 and Run Rabbit Run in 2019. I also had my father, brother, and two of my sons along and we wanted to have a great fun hike and also a new one for my two boys..

Trip Info:
Northwest Slopes Route from 4WD TH
Trailhead Elevation: 10,588 ft.
Summit Elevation: 14,003 ft.
Distance: 8.91 mi. 
Elevation Gain: 3,835 ft.
Start Time: 7:47am
End Time: 3:26pm

Trip Report:
The weather forecast for the day was a blue bird perfect day. We took that forecast and the fact that we had just arrived in state from the Midwest as cause to not go for an alpine start. We also had an 1:15 drive from the Trout Creek Pass area to get to the trailhead. We carried the basic essentials today, no snow gear at all, and I was going with the normal 3 Liters of water. I used both my trekking poles hoping this would help me save my legs for Saturday's race.

Early creek crossing

As we worked up through the many, many switchbacks on Huron the views began to open up nicely for us. Having the Three Apostles nearby is one of the highlights of Huron.

Both Luke and Seth proved themselves ready for the big time on the 14ers. Fitness wise they are in a position to hang with my brother David and I. Given that both boys are track stars in their own right certainly helps. This was especially a huge step for Seth who hadn't been on a 14er since 2017. He has changed a lot since then and was arguably the fittest of us all on this trip.

Moving along nearing treeline

First views of the upper basin

Some remaining snow, but none on trail

After entering the upper basin the trail mellows out for awhile in a nice meadow with some snow melt ponds. The route then begins to gain again on the headwall heading up to the northwest slopes of Huron. We found the vast majority of the route to be in great condition with only a few places where the trail was beginning to erode or braid badly.

Fantastic trail up in the alpine

Reaching the saddle, the wind had really kicked up

When we reached the saddle the winds had really picked up and we were hanging on for dear life to our hats. We were in position to use trekking poles to keep ourselves upright. We had some entertainment while we lingered at the saddle watching two mountain goats roam around. When they decided they were done with our proximity they made their way across a fairly steep snow field. I had never seen anything quite like that before.

Mountain goats on the snow

The final climb to the summit went without event for us. It is a typical Sawatch class 2 rock scramble with minimal route-finding through the rock pile. I was putting both my boys up front to give them practice at sniffing out the best routes to the finish.

The Three Apostles from Huron's summit

La Plata Peak (center) w/ Massive and Elbert on far right

Summit snacks by a snow patch on Huron

With the good weather and the relaxing nature of the day we spent 50 minutes atop the summit. We had great conversation with another group on top with whom we swapped similar fun stories in the mountains and discussed peaks we had frequented. It's always a treat to share good times with other fellow climbers.

Making marmot friends on Huron

As we started the descent I hung onto the rear to make pace with my Dad who at 72 was definitely the oldest on the mountain today. I told Luke and Seth to have fun with the downhill and go at whatever pace they liked. I had them move ahead on down to the meadow to wait for us there.

With my race approaching in four days I was glad to keep a slow pace on the downhill as I really didn't want to blow up my quads. Back in 2016 when I was acclimating for the Pikes Marathon I blew up my quads on La Plata Peak's long descent and had bad DOMS in my quads leading up to the race.

Luke and Seth and David are down there somewhere

There they are!

Doesn't get any better than this

Luke and Seth posing for me, they had a great time today

The descent through treeline went very slow for my Dad whose legs were really hurting. This seemed to be more than normal for him and so we weren't sure what was really as the source. But we all patiently made our way down the numerous switchbacks of Huron's lower slopes.

The day took longer than anticipated but it was still a good one. I think it helped invigorate a love of hiking the mountains for my boys who were definitely ready for more as this week and this trip would progress.

I have a track and waypoints from the activity all contained in the embedded Google Map. Check it out and use at your own risk.

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