Summiting Mt. Huron Colorado
Summiting Mt. Huron Colorado
On our way to Lake Ann a couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of witnessing my first 14er up close and personal. We ended up not summiting Mt. Huron because we got lost on our way to Lake Ann. I look forward to one day starting my quest of climbing ever 14er in Colorado but for now I will have to rely on other people’s summit stories. If you have one of your own feel free to tell us in the your story section located at the top right of our page. We want to inspire everyone to get outdoors and who knows maybe your story could be one that inspires somebody. For now enjoy some stories about summiting Mount Huron.
Located in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area of the San Isabel National Forest, Huron Peak lies along the western edge of the Sawatch Range. Topping out at an elevation of “only” 14,003 feet, Huron Peak is ranked 52nd in height among all 53 fourteeners in Colorado. The only other 14,000-foot peak with a lower elevation is Sunshine Peak in the San Juan Mountains.
The trek to the summit of Huron Peak is pretty much a steady climb all the way to the top. The only respite from the climbing comes near the half-way point, along the basin just below the summit. While passing through the basin, at an elevation of roughly 12,250 feet, you’ll have commanding views of 13,523-foot Browns Peak off to your left. Huron Peak will be directly in front of you. Your route to the summit will follow the ridge line on the left side of the mountain from this vantage point.
The last section to the summit is a little rugged in places, but nothing too daunting. There is some mild exposure along some sections above the basin area, but nothing that would be considered exceedingly dangerous. As with any steep hiking in the Rocky Mountains, I would highly recommend bringing trekking poles to help with your balance while crossing rocky terrain.
Huron Peak is a very enjoyable 14er hike in the Sawatch Mountains. In my experience climbing 14ers (I’ve done 15 so far), Huron Peak is near the top compared to neighboring mountains. The trail is well-maintained, has interesting scenery and variety and is not unbearably long. The views on all 14ers are picturesque, but some are definitely better than others … Huron Peak ranks high!
Just before the trail steepened toward the Mt. Huron summit for the 12,000′ elv. meadow there was a shallow lake, and some hikers sunbathing on a car sized boulder. About 2.25 miles into the hike (4.00 miles from my car) the trail steepened toward a ridgeline. At 12,583′ the trail made a hairpin turn avoiding a boulder field. Shortly afterwards a deep rocky chasm appeared to the right. By now I was hiking quite slowly and huffing and puffing. It was 4PM, and the temperature had cooled to a crisp 55 degrees. Just above 13,000′ elevation a large conical rock cairn appeared. It was the only one along the trail. At a distance of nearly 3 miles up the Mt. Huron Trail and an elevation of 13,500′ the trail reaches a ridgeline. There is very little vegetation on the rocks except for a sparce blade of grass, moss, and various colored lichens. To the left (looking beyond the ridgeline) there appeared to be a large rock glacier which had advanced through a spruce-pine forest. Toward the 10 O’clock position I noticed several other possible rock glaciers. I snapped 2 pictures at this point, and noticed that the sky was partly cloudy in the late afternoon sun. At this point the trail turned into a steep climb over talus and boulders to the summit. Previously, I thought I was the last person summiting Mt. Huron for the day, but I noticed a shirtless man with a cowboy hat slowly making his way up the trail. He got ahead of me while I was taking notes near the ridgeline.
Around 13,750′ I noticed mountain goats near the summit! Just before reaching the summit, the other hiker yelled down that there were 4 mountain goats on the summit and he was 20 feet away from them! I began to hike faster, which was not very fast due to the rarefied air. When I arrived at the summit, I too saw the mountain goats. They were now about 40 feet away but showed no fear of humans as they crept along the steep rocks. They were quite large and looked at us for a while as they made their way down the other side of Mt. Huron. The other hiker introduced himself as Drew. He made a recording of his experience at the summit, while I snapped photos, took notes, and the final GPS waypoint. I signed the summit register “mountain goats on the summit!” We stayed at the summit for about 20 minutes, before heading down.