Peak(s):  Unnamed 13555  -  13,555 feet
Date Posted:  10/28/2018
Modified:  10/31/2018
Date Climbed:   10/25/2018
Author:  Jay521
 We don't need no stinking gaiters!   

OK - so maybe gaiters (and snowshoes) would have been a good idea...

Trailhead: Junction of Huerfano Trail and Zapata Trail
Route: Huerfano Trail
Length: 6.25 miles
Vertical: 3300 feet
Partners: Solo

After doing Mount Lindsey for the second time a couple weeks ago, I really wanted to get back up and catch Huerfano and the Iron Nipple. But the road had me a little spooked heading up to the upper TH. It had snowed since the last time I was up and melted some and frozen making the road pretty slick but my FJ was handling it fine. What worried me though was that the forecast was for warmer weather and I was worried that the melting snow/ice would merge with the underlying mud and make it slicker than owl poop on a wet limb. A couple relatively steep spots on the way out could mean an uncontrolled slide - and that was born out on my exit later - I was slipping around more than I would have liked.

Anyway, I turned around shy of the upper TH and drove back to the trail junction, parked and considered my options. I didn't feel like slogging up the road and I seemed to remember a 13er that I had seen on a topo map that was just off the Huerfano trail so I thought I'd go for that. When I got home, I figured out that was PT13,555 and I read the two TR's on it which are both VERY good reads and the guys that did them are way more hard core than I am. User JMB did a plethora of peaks that summer day Here and Dad Mike really rocked it in winter Here. I think it's fair to say that PT13,555 doesn't see a lot of visitors - and that's too bad as the views are amazing as you will see.

My FJ at the TH
Go left
Entering the Wilderness area

The trail is fairly easy to follow. It makes several switchbacks to get to the top of the ridge and then heads east.

Easy trail that steadily gains elevation
Continuing on...

The views start getting pretty nice as you gain elevation.

Part of the California Peak ridge
Blanca and Ellingwood

At about a mile and a half (my estimate), it just felt like the time to turn right and head south to gain the ridge. so I left the trail and started up.

By this point, I was kinda wishing I'd brought my snowshoes
And gaiters would have been nice, too...

A side note here. My first mountain was Mount Audubon when I was in the Boy Scouts at probably age 12 or 13. That's almost 60 years ago so one would think that by NOW, I would be smart enough to bring my winter pack/boots/equipment in winter conditions. Wrong. I had on my summer boots and cotton pants. Needless to say, my boots filled with snow and my feet got a little cold. Fortunately, I am fairly temperature insensitive (my ex-wife would say I could leave the "temperature" out of that statement) so I really didn't mind having the wet, cold feet but my pants didn't dry out until I was half way back to Parker. Lesson learned... Maybe...

Anyway, working my way through the deep snow up the ridge in the trees was something of a workout but I was blessed with some gorgeous views on the way.





And then I finally got to see my objective


Once on the ridge, I thought the hard part was done. Not. The snow varied from a trace to a couple feet deep.

Still a ways to go...

But, once I got to the summit, the views made it all worthwhile.






And a short 360 vid from the summit.

I couldn't help but take a couple pictures on my way down - what a beautiful day!


And as I don't carry a GPS, this is an approximation of my route.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and please be careful out there!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Comments or Questions
Old dogs, new tricks...
10/28/2018 14:33
Ha! Yeah, I know the feeling. Great job, Jay! the mountains sure look different when their covered with white.

Strong work!
10/28/2018 14:59
You found "Plan B" quickly.
Great TR - prose & pics.
"Slicker than owl poop on a wet branch"...adding that to my list of new phrases.
It's right under "horse apples"
Thanks for writing this up.

10/28/2018 17:46
Image 15! Seriously!

Great report! We wanted to get to 13,555 from a recent trip up Huerfano, Iron Nipple, and Lindsey but ran out of steam. Looks like I'll definitely need to go back for those views. And yeah, gaiters are good.

10/28/2018 19:33
@Doug - yeah, some of us old dogs do struggle with new tricks, eh? And I always thought the mountains look so much better with a bit of snow on them - seems to bring out the relief.

@Sunny1 - Thanks for your kind words - you always make me smile! Glad I could add to your repertoire of sayings.

@koeffling - I've not done Little Bear but have done Blanca, Ellingwood and Lindsey and I think the views from the lesser peaks are better. I loved the views from California and I think the views from 13,555 rival those as you noted with your comment about Image 15 (which was my favorite shot of the day). I honestly didn't see the views coming until I was within 100' of the summit and then they like to have bowled me over. Thanks for your comments - much appreciated! (and my shoulder is almost back to normal - after 10 months, one would think it should be...)

Looking good!
10/28/2018 21:36
Those peaks look good with snow... what a difference a few weeks make in that area. Now I might need to grab 13,555 sometime. Let me know when you want to get Iron Nipple and Huerfano, I would love to join up and maybe add a side of Huerfanito!

Cool Trail!
10/29/2018 05:16
Nice work Jay! My buddies and I were just up there the Sunday before (10/21) doing the ridge from Iron Nipple. Got quite a bit of new snow Wednesday by the looks of things, hard to beat the Huerfano basin with snow!

Missing all of that
10/29/2018 09:15
with post-op recovery of my foot. Great pics and nice report Jay. Can't wait to get back out there.

10/29/2018 10:30
@Andrew - yeah - it looks a lot different than when we were up there doesn't it? I prob won't go after I.N or Orphan until next year (unless there is a longish dry spell) and Orphanito would be fun too, I think. And I would be happy to join you for a trek up CA - I liked that peak a lot and would be interested it doing it from the other side (Zapata Falls) the next time I do it if you are up for that.

@Aholle88 - That is a gorgeous area and this was the first time I had been up with a little snow. Tough to beat when it comes to views... Thanks for your comments.

@GlenMiz - Man - I hear ya. Recovery from any op kinda puts a speed bump in getting to the mountains. I hope you have a speedy recovery! Thanks for your nice words.

You're not the only one...
10/29/2018 14:51
...who's forgotten his gaiters, as I also did that in May on Colony Baldy. Anyway, great photos as usual.

What a beautiful day...
10/29/2018 19:42
says it all. Thanks for sharing, Jay! Great photos and write up.

More thanks...
10/29/2018 20:32
@Eddie - So I'm not the only one who forgets stuff, eh? Great minds think alike, I guess. Or roll in the same gutter?

@Ron - Thanks, man. It is always nice to hear from you - you do the stuff I wish I could do!

10/30/2018 09:25
I forget gaiters once, hopefully I won't do that again.

gore galore
60 years
10/30/2018 20:35
to keep an interest between a first climb and a current climb is amazing. I'm at 48 continuous years now and will gladly settle for a runner up as I don't think I will get to 60 years between climbs unless I eventually include hills let alone a 13,555 foot peak.

Gaiters and years..
10/30/2018 20:50
@Joel - Yeah - I hope I don't do that again but I don't think I'd necessarily bet on that...

@GG - I sincerely appreciate your comments, sir. But something tells me in your 48 years of mountains you have done at least triple anything I could hope to accomplish.

11/01/2018 09:38
Really enjoyed your report Jay! Those pictures are amazing! Love the different views from the less-traveled peaks...and the!! Seems like a great day (and a tough workout too)!

Thanks, Paul!
11/01/2018 12:21
Your comments are much appreciated - it makes writing these TR's very worthwhile knowing that some folks enjoy them.

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