How to get there:
Take Chaffee 390 west from US Hwy. 24 about 24 km north
of Buena Vista (just south of Granite). Follow this
good (dirt) road for about 19 km to the place called
Winfield (a ghost town), the road crosses the creek and there is parking
on both sides. Route description:
We skied from the parking area along a jeep road (completely
snowed in) first gently climbing, thereafter fairly level south
in the valley along the creek (creek on the right hand side
all the way). This road is blocked by a gate after a bit more than
3 km. (The last part of this route crosses a fairly open area).
The trail continues beyond the gate, however with a deep snow cover,
we headed steeply up the hill (left) a few meters beyond
a trail register, following some open space
in the spruce forest until timber line. As there was little snow
above timber line we continued on foot, on what is a (very) broad
ridge until some distinct rock formations above were passed by contouring
to the right below the rocks. We were now just below the ridge from
Huron to Brown's Peak with a large basin between us and Huron.
Unfortunately, the snow cover was deep and did not support a man on
foot, so we proceeded to climb the ridge and followed this almost snow-free
route in a large arc to Huron.
This route was not perfect, a mix of rocks
and snow, sloping terrain (towards the basin), in particular when
passing a small ridge peak (4120 m) on the right side.
It would have been better to ski the slopes above timber line a bit
south of our route and then continue skiing the basin almost all
the way to the summit of Huron. Comments:
I did this climb with my son Pål Jørgen, age 12.
The weather was mostly cloudy with some light snow and hail,
the summit of Huron was hidden in a cloud until we reached it.
However, with luck, we had a short spell of sunshine while
resting on the summit. For a brief period we had good views all around.
The return ski down the timber slope to the jeep road turned
into some of the worst snow conditions I have experienced when
skiing. The snow was completely wet and my skis would sink about
one meter to the very bottom, hitting rocks and other
obstacles. Worse, the snow would completely fill in above the
skies and effectively trap (the skier) me with little or
no movement possible. Pål Jørgen had to dig me
out several times. In order to get down at all, I had to resort
to skiing under the trees, near the tree trunks and across all
sorts of horrible (from a skiing perspective) terrain. What had
taken perhaps 30 minutes to climb and what should normally have
been at most a five minute ski descent took 2 hours and 45
In summary, start at 0545, summit at 1145, 30 minutes
rest at the summit, back at the skis at 1415, at the road closure
(and trail register) at 1700, then back to the trailhead
and the jeep at 1730. Almost as long time down as up!
We saw 4 other climbers, two that started out from the same
place as we, two that came in from the valley on the east side.
These were the first people we have seen in the mountains since
October! I guess the "climbing season" is about to start.
This experience shows how snow conditions can turn a seemingly
simple climb into quite a hard one, 11 hours and 45 minutes, by
far the longest time I have spent on any fourteener.
Compare also with the climb the following day, see Mount Yale.