Hiking Huron Peak

Just over a month ago Amy was visiting and preparing for her very first 14er. As soon as we got home from hiking Mt Elbert I shot Amy a message asking if she had any interest in hiking a 14er while she was out here. It didn’t take much work to talk her into it so I started researching 14ers. We had a few requirements – not too many miles, not too much exposure, not too far from Denver. We settled on Huron Peak.

Huron Peak / Mt Huron - Fourteener / 14er

Huron Peak is almost 7 miles round trip if you take the North Ridge route from the Clear Creek trailhead. For the record, the trailhead is nearly 15 miles down a very bumpy gravel road. I kind of enjoyed it, if only for the entertainment I got when Chris and Amy were jostled awake! We didn’t exactly give ourselves much time to plan the hike and camping so we opted to get up extra early and drive to the trailhead the morning of the hike.

As usual the hike started off in the trees and immediately went uphill. Welcome the mountains Amy! As we climbed we were treated to the occasional glimpse of the surrounding mountains, all very snowy. From our vantage point we weren’t sure where the actual summit was but we did get a beautiful view of the Three Apostles.

Huron Peak / Mt Huron - Fourteener / 14er

This mountain is said to have a nicely defined trail with actual stairs created for the steeper parts. Climbing stairs for miles doesn’t sound like fun but it sounded a bit easier than scrambling up boulders. We can assume but we’ll never know. Turns out the trail is only well defined if it isn’t covered in snow and the stairs are quite useless when they are snow packed.

Huron Peak / Mt Huron - Fourteener / 14er
Huron Peak / Mt Huron - Fourteener / 14erHuron Peak / Mt Huron - Fourteener / 14er

The last few hundred feet of gain were conquered by picking the best looking route and hoping for the best. I think it is safe to say this was Amy’s least favorite part of the hike. It was daunting, never ending and rather demoralizing! Everything behind you was down, everything ahead was straight up. The last little stretch was probably the most nerve-wracking as we shimmed along next to a peak of snow to the summit.

We made it! We summited Huron Peak! Chris and I had our 5th summit and Amy her first! We didn’t stay too long. The space on the summit was limited and the view from our hike up told us not to trust the stretch of snow along the summit – it looked a lot like a cornice that could easily break off and tumble hundreds of feet straight down. No one wanted to trigger that break!

Huron Peak / Mt Huron Summit - Fourteener / 14erHuron Peak / Mt Huron Summit - Fourteener / 14er
Huron Peak / Mt Huron Summit - Fourteener / 14er

We had stopped for snacks on the hike up and the wind at the summit had us scrambling off it shortly after taking photos. While the hike up the snow covered boulders was a challenge the hike down proved to be even harder. Gravity was pulling us down and we didn’t have the luxury of testing the security of snow and rocks before stepping down. The tripping and stumbling got old fast so we quickly switched over to our new found descent method – butt sledding down the mountain!

Huron Peak / Mt Huron Glissading - Fourteener / 14er

There was more snow on Elbert the week before but we made do. On the hike up we were eyeballing a few slopes and initially had concerns of sluffing snow {mini avalanches}. Once we were actually hiking up the snowy areas it became obvious the bigger concern was the number of rocks we’d need to avoid. The only way this snow was going to get down the mountain was in a trickle of melted run off!

The last stretch of glissading was on the steepest part of the mountain. Up until this point I’d successfully avoiding sliding on my butt simply because I had wicking pants, not water resistant pants. One slide down and I’d be soaked to the skin. I eventually had to give in and get wet – it was worth it! Even with both feet and hands dug into the snow we were cruising down the mountain! Stopping to avoid rocks – and each other – was nearly impossible. Terrifying but so much fun!

Huron Peak / Mt Huron - Fourteener / 14erHuron Peak / Mt Huron - Fourteener / 14er

After our childish – yet very efficient – sledding we started the long trudge down the rest of the mountain. The climb up a mountain may be physically difficult but the hike back down always seems to take forever. The excitement is wearing away, the car is so far away and the burgers we are salivating about are even further away. I am yet to hike a 14er with a “yay, downhill” finish!

I realize this post is over a month late but it felt appropriate since we are most likely hiking our way to summit #6 and #7 as you read this on Monday. It’s a big weekend for us – a bit of legit backpacking and two summits in one hike!


Comments

Hiking Huron Peak — 6 Comments

    • It is so much easier – besides, I’d rather willing plant myself on my butt then let gravity pull me down!

      All you need to do it make a trip to CO, you know there are plenty of us that will jump on a chance to get you up a mountain! :)

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