Huron Peak (Sawatch Range) – Northwest Slopes (Class 2)
- Attempted 7/4/15
- 6.50 miles round trip
- 3 hrs to summit and 1.5 hrs to return to TH (4.5 hrs hiking time)
- Easy 14er (Class 2)
- Standard NW Slopes Approach
- +3,500′ net elevation gain to peak (14,003′)
- sunblock (at that elevation, you’ll feel the sun)
- tech shell (you will want a shell to protect you from the wind)
- Nanopuff jacket (always layer when attempting a 14er)
- headlamp (you’ll have to be starting this hike earlier than most 14ers)
- light gloves
- hiking poles (makes the descent easier on the knees)
- Lunch and lots of snacks
- Lots of water (I went through 2L of water even before we reached the summit)
Per tradition, we try to get a big group of our friends and tackle one of the easier 14ers. Rather than repeat the front range 14ers, which we often opt for, we decided to try one that my peakbagging friend, Kevin, and I had not done. We decided Huron Peak was a winner with its short distance and relatively tame gain to the summit (which is also a pretty low summit, barely making the ranks of a 14er by 3 feet!). We left Boulder around 2:40a and arrived at the TH by 5:50a. The drive to the Sawatch area was quick, per usual, but this had a small offroading section that proved to require a slower pace.
The trail off the highway was 6 miles of washboard and pretty deep potholes. Any 2wd car can make it up this with some careful driving. We were driving about 30-40mph along the road occasionally hitting the potholes, definitely should have been doing more like 20-25mph on my old shocks, but I didn’t bottom out on the potholes or anything. Then there is a 2 miles stretch of 4wd trail. My friend took a Subaru Outback up and he didn’t really have any issues. Slow and steady will work for cars with that clearance and those shocks. I would rate the trail at a 2-3 with 2 being the dominant part of the trail. Definitely not as hard as other trails I have done.
The upper TH for Huron Peak has a good amount of parking spots, shouldn’t have any issues parking up there since not everyone attempts the 4wd trail. There aren’t many turn around points, so be sure to remember where each one is as you go up. The hiking trail itself has a pretty modest slope going up the mountain. It has a pretty high treeline, probably around 12,500′ or so. It was an easy hike through the trees and to the basin. Once there, you are able to see the ridge you’ll be taking up to conquer Huron.
The ridge is just a few switchbacks at the lower part and then a very easy scramble to the summit for the final half mile or so.
The summit was pretty busy, but there were MANY more people on their way up that we passed – we were a pretty early group heading up. While the trail still had a fair bit of mud and some running water down the upper part of the trail, there was no snow that needed to be crossed. Of course hiking in the mud ruins the trail a little bit, but it wasn’t that bad. Certainly will be dry in a week or two if the sun stays out!
Overall this was a pretty easy hike, even with the easy class 2 scramble for the last half mile or so. Granted, we had a group of friends who aren’t used to the elevation, so we took a bit longer than Kevin and I would have taken at our pace (we probably would have had a 2 hour hike, if that, to the summit). It was a nice summit, but since it is a very low 14er, your view was partially inhibited by nearby taller 14ers (not that that’s a bad thing, it is just a thing worth noting). I think if you are concerned with the class 2 part, Mt. Elbert’s class 1 approach was pretty easy too, just longer. This short hike and very easy scramble didn’t prove to be a challenge to any member of our group, save for the altitude’s thin air. Definitely save this 14er for when you bring your 14er-virgin friends rather than your regular hiking group, as this is a 14er that people from any hiking experience can enjoy at the summit!
For those of us keeping track at home, this was 14er number 10 (of 53) for me! By the end of this upcoming weekend, I hope to have another 5 under my belt!