Huron Peak

Saturday & Sunday, July 12-13, 2014

This weekend I set out to climb my first 14er of the season. I chose to try Huron Peak since it’s in an area of the Sawatch Range that I haven’t really spent much time in, plus it’s not supposed to be too difficult of a hike which would be a good warm-up for me since I haven’t hiked at this elevation since last summer. At 14,003 feet, Huron Peak is ranked 52 out of the 53 ranked peaks over 14,000 feet in Colorado. I had originally planned to climb Huron Peak over the Fourth of July weekend, but unfortunately I got a pretty bad cold that kept me home for that entire weekend, so I was looking forward to making it up this weekend.

I left home early on Saturday morning with plans to hike Huron Peak by myself on Sunday morning. I drove through Glenwood Springs and Aspen so I could take Independence Pass on the way there. I decided to stop at Independence Pass so I could hike over to an unranked 13er unofficially named Igloo Peak which sits at 13,060 feet along the Continental Divide. I figured it would be an easy ridge hike from the 12,095 pass that would help me get acclimated for Huron Peak the following day. There were plenty of wildflowers and great views along the way.

Independence Pass at 12,095 feet along the Continental Divide. Igloo Peak is the high point just left of center in the background.

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Independence Pass by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Plenty of wildflowers along the early part of the trail near the pass.

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Old Man of the Mountain by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A view of part of the ridge I would be hiking across.

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Ridge Hike by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I had to stop for a few closer photos of the flowers.

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Flowers by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Flowers II by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Spotlight below.

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Spotlight by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I spotted this White-Tailed Ptarmigan on a snow drift just below the ridge. He didn’t stick around long or let me get very close, so this is the best photo I got.

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White-Tailed Ptarmigan by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Following the well-defined trail along the Continental Divide.

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Continental Divide Trail by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Looking back across the first high point (12,812 feet) I crossed on the way to Igloo Peak with the Geissler Mountains and Twinning Peak in the background.

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Continental Divide Ridge by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After finishing the short hike I continued my drive to Leadville where I grabbed a late lunch from High Mountain Pies before driving south to Clear Creek and then Winfield. From Winfield I took the high-clearance road up the South Fork and found a nice campsite near the old Banker Mine, which was shortly before the Huron Peak trailhead. I explored the area a little before the afternoon storms started to rain down.

On my way to find a campsite near the trailhead for Huron Peak, I passed through the old townsite of Winfield.

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Winfield by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A restored cabin found here.

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Ball Cabin by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The road along the South Fork of Clear Creek.

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South Fork Clear Creek by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

An old cabin at the Banker Mine near my campsite for the night.

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Banker Mine Cabin by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

There was some nice light and clouds when the afternoon storms moved into the area.

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Monsoon Season by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Granite Mountain (12,848 feet) over the South Fork of Clear Creek.

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Granite Mountain by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Afternoon Storms by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A view of Ervin Peak (13,531 feet) from my campsite.

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View from Camp by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Stormy Road by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Storm Light by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Storm Light by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Granite Light by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

It rained for a while later in the evening.

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Waiting Out the Rain by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

During a brief stop in the rain, I got out to photograph the low clouds on Granite Mountain.

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In the Clouds by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Later in the evening it looked to me like sunset was going to be a bust, so I decided to try and get to bed early since I was planning on a very early start in the morning. After laying in my tent for a while listening to the rain, it finally stopped. I decided to look outside and saw a nice sunset was starting to happen. I quickly slipped on my sandals and grabbed my camera for a few photos. When the light was gone, I got back into my sleeping bag and tried to get some sleep.

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After the Rain by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Sky On Fire by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I had set my alarm for 4:00am on Sunday morning, but woke up a few times throughout the night. At 3:30 I decided to stay up and get started since I was feeling pretty wide awake. After a quick breakfast I was on the Huron Peak trail before 4:00am. I was hoping to hike by the light of the Super Moon this morning, but the clouds above prevented that, so I had to use my headlamp. However, once I got around treeline, I broke free of the low clouds and was treated to an amazing view of the cloud-filled valley below with the bright full moon above. I didn’t bring my tripod with on this hike, but I did manage to find a rock to set my camera on for a few photos in the low light.

Since I had nice views of the surrounding peaks from this area just above treeline, I decided to stop here for a while and wait for sunrise. I knew if I continued on towards the top I wouldn’t have as nice of a view when the sun came up. I was hoping the low clouds would stick around for the sunrise, but they dissipated before the sun came up. It was still a very nice sunrise.

The Super Moon over the cloud-filled valley below.

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Moonlight & Fog by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A view towards Silver Basin above the clouds with Virginia Peak (13,088 feet) on the right.

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Above the Clouds by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Unfortunately, the clouds dissipated before the sun came up, but there was a slight touch of alpenglow on the peaks before they were completely gone.

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Dissipate by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A beautiful light show this morning.

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Sunrise by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Looking in the opposite direction of the previous photo, you can see the magenta light cast across the scene.

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Continental Divide Sunrise by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Pink Sky by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Another shot of the Super Moon through the magenta clouds.

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Super Moon Sunrise by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The first light of the day strikes Winfield Peak (13,077 feet).

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First Light by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

When the sun was finally up I continued my hike to the top of Huron Peak. The climb was a little tough for me since this was my first 14er of the year, but I made it to the top around 7:30am. It wasn’t very cold out and there was very little wind, so I took my time and enjoyed the view from the top for a little while before starting the hike back down.

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Huron Peak Trail by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Switchbacks by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

There were plenty of wildflowers along the trail to the top of Huron Peak.

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Huron Flowers by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Huron Peak by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

View over the final ridge from the top. Low clouds still fill some of the distant lower valleys.

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Ridge View by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

An expansive view from the peak towards the Elk Mountains.

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View from Above by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Low clouds still fill Taylor Park on the other side of the Continental Divide. You can also make out Lake Ann on this side of the divide.

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Cloud-Filled Valley by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

There was a great view down on The Three Apostles from the top of Huron Peak.

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Three Apostles by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A closer look at the North Apostle (13,860 feet) and Ice Mountain (13,951 feet).

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View from the Top by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Huron Trail by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

When I made it back to the trailhead parking area I got to do my good deed for the day. Parked next to me was a pickup truck with three guys who had passed me on the trail when I was photographing the sunrise. Apparently they had pulled too far forward and managed to get themselves stuck on a few large rocks. They had tried to jack up their vehicle and place sandbags under the front tires, but that didn’t work. The owner asked if I would be able to help, so I got out my tow strap and gave them a quick tug to get them free. I stopped back by my campsite on the way out and loaded up my gear into the Jeep to start my drive back home. It was still before 10:00am when I left. I drove back over Independence Pass and made sure to grab a burger at GRIND in Glenwood Springs on my way. One 14er down for the year, and four more planned!

>> Huron Peak Photo Gallery


2 Comments

  1. Scottie June 30, 2016 1:24 pm  Reply

    Hey,

    I was planning on doing a trip to Huron this weekend and I did some research and stumbled upon your post. Awesome post! I dont know if you still check this since its been 2 years but. Where exactly did you camp out at?

    • Randy Langstraat June 30, 2016 1:27 pm  Reply

      I camped along the 4×4 road between Winfield and the trailhead. If I recall correctly, there were a number of places to camp along that section of road.

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