This was day two of five for hiking numerous Centennial Peaks in the Creede and Lake City, Colorado, area. Half Peak was my 86th Centennial Peak. Unfortunately, my phone is really old and it didn't take any good photos over the entire week.
I hiked the south slopes route of Half Peak from the Cuba Gulch Trailhead with John and Mark. I ran into John and Mark the night before as they were looking for a camping spot. We discussed plans for the following day and determined we had the same objective. As a result, we teamed up for this hike.
The first section of the hike is somewhat challenging as you have to work through a lot of downfall and avalanche debris. Since a section of the trail is buried, it is critical to find the necessary bridge crossing. Once across the bridge, there is a bit more avalanche debris to deal with before the trail flattens out on the east side of Cuba Gulch. After about a mile and a half, we had to turn left (southeast) up an unnamed creek to reach the high basin below Half Peak. This section of the hike does not have a users trail and is quite a steep bushwhack.
Once in the upper basin, your next obstacle is a large sea of willows. We found it easiest to stay a bit high on the south side of the basin. Nevertheless, this section was still annoying. As the willows thinned out, we trended south towards the Continental Divide Trail. Just before intersecting the Continental Divide Trail, you turn east and then actually connect to the trail and hike on it for a short ways to 12,800'. At this point, you finally turn north on the long south slopes of Half Peak to reach the summit.
We enjoyed each other's company all day as we got to know one another. John is climbing the Centennial Peaks while Mark is working on both the 14ers and high 13ers of Colorado. We left at 6:45 am and made the summit of Half Peak at 10:55 am. We spent 30 minutes on the summit eating and drinking and were back to the trailhead by 3:00 pm for an 8 hour and 15 minute car-to-car day.