Huron Peak

  • Huron Peak
  • 4268 m.
  • Primary factor 458 m.
  • 52nd in Colorado
  • Location: North 38:56.732, West 106:26.285
  • Climbed April 28, 2001


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 minutes.
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.