Peak(s):  "Huerfano Pk"  -  13,828 feet
PT 13,577  -  13,577 feet
PT 13,660 A  -  13,660 feet
Date Posted:  09/21/2016
Modified:  10/24/2018
Date Climbed:   09/15/2016
Author:  Mtnman200
Additional Members:   RandyMack
 One, Two, Three (Hundred), GO!   

After two weeks of solo climbing in the San Juans, I was looking forward to having a climbing partner again. My older son (Randy) is mostly targeting centennials and bicentennials, while I've been concentrating on tricentennials. Randy still needed Huerfano Peak (13,828') as one of his five remaining centennials, and I had been eyeing Unnamed (UN) 13577, which can be climbed from Lily Lake on the way to a bicentennial (UN 13660A). The road to the trailhead for these peaks reopened on 8/25/16, and Randy had Sept. 14th and 15th off from work. Put all of this together, and we were left with no alternative but to tackle Huerfano Peak, UN 13577, and UN 13660A.

Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016
After Randy got off work, we left about 4 PM and made the three-hour drive past Gardner and Redwing to a campsite between the Zapata/Huerfano trailheads and the Lily Lake/Mt. Lindsey trailhead.

The landslide that covered the road to the Lily Lake/Mt. Lindsey trailhead is impressive (Photo taken 9/15/16 on our way out)

Huerfano County's efforts to get a bypass road built and open before Labor Day weekend are also impressive (Photo taken

Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016
Rain fell during the night and when we were eating breakfast. The forecast called for high winds (gusts to 40 mph) and a 40% chance of rain. We drove the short distance to the trailhead and set out on the Mt. Lindsey trail. Today's goal: Huerfano Peak, a centennial peak.

The sky wasn't looking very friendly this morning

Once we got above timberline, we began to feel the high winds as promised by the weather forecast. We continued up the trail to Mt. Lindsey's northwest ridge, where we left the trail at about 13,160' and headed north toward Iron Nipple. Soon, some cliffs prevented a direct ascent up the ridge. We went through a v-shaped notch (the left of two possible notches) and descended several dozen feet until we could continue around the cliffy section.

Mt. Lindsey (or at least some of it)

Iron Nipple (left) and Huerfano Peak (obscured by clouds)

Looking east down the valley (taken from the same location as the previous two photos)

Once past the cliffy section, it was smooth sailing up a none-too-steep rock field and then a grassy area. The final approach to the summit of Huerfano Peak consisted of more rock. I'd like to say how much we enjoyed the great views from the summit, but we couldn't see very far.

The summit of Huerfano Peak

Eddie on the summit of Huerfano Peak

Temperatures were in the twenties, so we took our gloves off just long enough to sign the summit register before heading back the way we'd come. At times, the wind nearly knocked us over. That's when 1/4 inch hail started falling heavily. That doesn't sound like a big deal, but it was painful to get pelted with hail that was being driven by 30 - 40 mph winds. We used our gloves to protect our faces, but we still had to have a way to see where we were going, which left an opening for the hail to hit us in the face.

Randy with Mt. Lindsey behind him

By the time we returned to the trail on Mt. Lindsey's northwest ridge, the hail had stopped but the wind was still fierce. The more we descended, the less wind we felt, and getting into the trees helped even more. We returned to the trailhead and our campsite, pleased that we hadn't let the weather keep us from getting our summit today. We'd seen only two other climbers today, both heading up UN 13081 ("Huerfanito," west of Mt. Lindsey).

Blue = our route on Huerfano Peak

Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016
We got up to a clear view of stars in the sky. After yesterday's weather, this was quite welcome. We drove to the trailhead and started up the Lily Lake trail. Today's goals: UN 13577 (a tricentennial peak), and UN 13660A (a bicentennial).

The early morning view as we headed up the Lily Lake trail

UN 13660A rises above Lily Lake

So does UN 13577 (right). Notice how much nicer the skies look today than yesterday.

Interestingly, there is a rusty water pipe at the outlet from Lily Lake through which some water drains into the Huerfano Riv

From the trail's end at Lily Lake, we headed northwest to the east ridge of UN 13577. A straightforward scramble brought us to the summit of UN 13577, where we enjoyed the nice views of Mt. Lindsey, Blanca Peak, and Ellingwood Peak.

Looking WSW toward UN 13660A from the summit of UN13577

Looking north toward California Peak from the summit of UN 13577

Looking south toward Blanca and Ellingwood from the summit of UN 13577

It was quite windy on the summit, as well as on the ridge to UN 13660A, but we didn't mind because we weren't being pelted with hail. It took about an hour to follow the ridge to UN 13660A, where both strong winds and nice views continued.

UN 13660A from a bit above its saddle with UN 13577

The final approach to UN 13660A

The view to the SE from UN 13660A. The nearer lake is unnamed; Lily Lake is the other lake

UN 13577 from UN 13660A

Our descent route toward Lily Lake from near the UN 13577 - UN 13660A saddle

Blue = ascent route; red = descent route

We returned to the UN 13577 - 13660A saddle and descended from here rather than returning over UN 13577. We didn't see any one else on the trail today, a rarity for an area with a fourteener trailhead.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Nice Job!
09/21/2016 11:25
I don't know if I have ever commented on your reports but I read every one of them. Looks like rough conditions on Huerfano, nice job getting it in. You certainly seem to be getting after it!

Like T-man said...
09/21/2016 12:49
I also read all your reports. You have been one busy man!

10/24/2018 18:08
Thanks, Andrew and Jay. I appreciate the feedback.

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