Thursday, July 20, 2006

14er Report - Huron Peak

14er Report
Huron Peak – 14,003 ft
July 19/06

I wanted to climb another 14er before leaving for Europe because it is great training for the legs and I need to cross a few more 14ers off my list this summer. Thus I chose Huron Peak – one of the shortest 14ers in Colorado at 14,003 ft.

I invited a local friend to join me on the climb so I picked Rodney up in Breckenridge at 6:30 am on Wed and we continued on to Buena Vista, CO. We drove about 30 miles northwest of Buena Vista into the remote wilderness of the Sawatch Range to the South Winfield Trailhead at 10,260 ft. Huron Peak is very remote and cannot be seen from any road. It is necessary to climb 1700 vertical ft over 2 miles on a steep trail to the tree line near 12,000 ft before you get your first look at the mountain.

We had left the trailhead at 8:45 am, which is a late start so we were concerned about afternoon thunderstorms. We reached the tree line at 10:30 am and figured another 2 hours to the summit. Fortunately the trail was in good shape until 13,500 ft where it became very steep and treacherous with lots of loose dirt and rocks and we were able to reach the summit at 12 pm. Because Huron sits by itself the views are spectacular in all directions.

Unfortunately our pleasant views and lunch were interrupted by dark, ominous clouds that descended rapidly over the summit and plunged the temperature 30 degrees and pelted us with sleet. After a few quick photos we hastily retreated back down the mountain to the safety of the tree line!

Luckily the sleet only lasted about 5 minutes and we made it into the trees before the thunder and lightning began. And even more luckily we were able to make it back to the car before the storm became violent with lots of lightning and rain turned to hail! A typical July afternoon in the mountains! We considered ourselves very lucky to have reached the summit of Huron Peak and being able to cross it off our list.

It had taken a total time of 6 hours to climb the mountain and hike 8 miles. I must be getting old??? I won’t have time to climb any more 14ers before I leave for Europe next week but hope to add 3 or 4 more in Aug when my son visits for a week?

Stay tuned for the next report.

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