I last climbed Humboldt Peak 18 years ago in a raging wind storm. I have been to the South Colony Lakes area many times since then, but I didn't return to the summit of Humboldt Peak until this day. A good high school friend and college roommate of mine has a son completing an internship in Denver, Colorado. Keaton was wrapping up his work to return to college and wanted to hike a 14er before going back to South Dakota. Spencer decided to join us and has not done a 14er before either.
I decided Humboldt Peak was a good option because it's hard enough to test Keaton and Spencer, but not technically challenging. I thought it would give them a good idea of what hiking the 14ers is like. In addition, the views of the Crestones and surrounding area is quite remarkable. We drove to the four wheel drive trailhead on Friday evening and had a beer before going to bed.
We got up at 5:45 am and were hiking by 6:15 am. The first couple of miles is on a road that was closed around 2010. As you get farther up the basin, the trail turns northwest and becomes single-track. There was some downfall to deal with in this section until we gained some elevation and got above treeline. We took a break before hiking the switchbacks up to the saddle west of the mountain. We also took a break at the saddle and then slowly finished the last 1,000' of gain to the peak.
The weather was perfect all day and the scenery was beautiful. Keaton and Spencer did awesome for their first 14er. We kept a slow but steady pace and continued to work our way up the west ridge as we noticed the altitude affecting us more as we went higher. We reached the summit after 4 hours and 20 minutes of hiking and scrambling at 10:35 am. Since the weather was cooperating, we actually hung out on the summit for 40 minutes before beginning our descent.
The hike out was long but we maintained a good pace and were back at the trailhead by 2:15 pm for an 8 hour car-to-car day. We drove back down the rough road and made our way back to Denver, Colorado. The two flat landers did great and could see themselves doing more 14ers in the future. Their plan for the evening after getting back was a shower, beer, good meal, and maybe a nap.
Keaton and Spencer starting up the old road.
The trail junction where you leave the road and start up the trail.
Passing below the south side of Humboldt Peak.
Keaton enjoying the morning.
Spencer contemplating life.
On the saddle below the west ridge of Humboldt Peak.
Keaton at the beginning of the west ridge of Humboldt Peak.
Spencer ready for a little scrambling.
Keaton and Spencer scrambling up the west ridge.
Keaton making the final few steps to the summit with the Crestones in the background.
Keaton's summit photo.
Spencer's summit photo.
Group summit photo.
South Colony Lakes
Spencer and Keaton hiking out.