Peak(s):  Huron Peak  -  14,003 feet
Browns Pk  -  13,523 feet
PT 13,462  -  13,462 feet
Middle Mtn B  -  13,060 feet
Date Posted:  08/01/2019
Date Climbed:   07/27/2019
Author:  supranihilest
 Winfield North 13ers: One Way Ticket to Lulu Gulch   

Huron Peak's reputation as an "easy" 14er is well deserved. The standard northwest slopes has a solid trail the entire way, little exposure, only minor scrambling, no commitment, etc. Honestly the worst part about the route is the absolute hordes of people on it. To escape the hordes climb from Lulu Gulch instead. This also gives you the opportunity to net three 13ers, which are always fun. You can make it a one way trip like I did by climbing Huron's standard route and descending the north ridge into Lulu Gulch, but you'll either need a ride back to the 4WD trailhead, a pickup at the 2WD trailhead, or two cars (which works in either direction, up or down Lulu).

I did just that, going up Huron's standard route from the 4WD trailhead (my friends went to Lake Ann instead), descending the north ridge over the three 13ers into Lulu Gulch, and then walking back to my car at the 2WD trailhead. I did need a ride back to the 4WD trailhead later for a second day climbing in the area, but could have hiked the road back if I felt so inclined; this would have been less than the full 2 miles since the descent road off Middle Mountain dumps you part way up the Huron 4WD road.

19587_01
Each rock up there corresponds to each person on the peak at a 1:1 ratio.
19587_02
Looking northwest from the trail.
19587_04
The Three Apostles (North Apostle barely visible, Ice Mountain, West Apostle) from the trail.
19587_05
The trail cuts across the basin and ascends the low point of the gradual slope below the ridge.
19587_06
Weeee, talus! The trail is much better, I promise.
19587_07
Better shot of the Three Apostles from the summit of Huron Peak. The Refrigerator couloir splits the north face of Ice Mountain.
19587_08
"Get the !@#* off my mountain."
19587_10
Panorama south through west through north. The cloud layer in the Taylor Park Reservoir basin was far more dramatic in reality.

Enough of Huron. From the summit of Huron across the north ridge is where things get fun, and by fun I mean you get to hang out totally alone in an alpine playground. Those 134,871,089,357,139,487 people on the standard route? About 1/134,871,089,357,139,487th of that on the north ridge. From Huron the route over Browns-13,462-Middle is obvious.

19587_11

The first order of business was to bypass what appears from a distance to be an ugly notch that might require scrambling. I skipped the notch on its east side at Class 2.

19587_12
Climbing down into the notch can be done on Class 2 talus. The talus covered slopes can be traversed to the ridge crest from there.
19587_13
Looking back up Huron and its rugged east face. You don't get this view from the standard route. You can make out the tiny dots of other hikers on the right skyline.

Once past the notch the remainder of the route is easy - up to the ridge crest and to grassy terrain.

19587_15
Plenty of talus but once you're on the ridge crest the talus turns into grass.
19587_16
Grass to the summit of Browns Peak.

The ridge curves east towards Point 13,462 and continues on easy, grassy slopes, and thence to Middle Mountain on more grass.

19587_17
Point 13,462 from the summit of Browns Peak. There's some talus but not too bad.
19587_18
Middle Mountain from the summit of Browns Peak. It's an easy hike from Browns to 13,462 and/or Middle. You can see the switchbacks of the road in the triangle of light coming off Middle's ridge to the left.

Once on top of Point 13,462 the route becomes only slightly unclear. Middle has two peaks, of which the westernmost is the actual summit, and there are a bunch of social trails that run underneath Middle's summit towards the road but none that go to the summit. It should be obvious by the time you're over on the first/western summit that it's actually the higher of the two.

19587_19
Middle Mountain (slightly left of center) with its 12er subsummit off to the right. The road switchbacks are more obvious now on the left.
19587_20
Looking back at Browns Peak (right) and Huron Peak (left).

Once on the summit of Middle Mountain I had to make my way over to the road. The road doesn't go to the summit proper, but comes up to the low point on the northwest ridge/spur, then drops down into the basin on the west slopes.

19587_22
Looking down the northwest ridge/spur with the trail and road faintly visible.
19587_23
Saying goodbye to Huron (the middle, background summit) and Browns. It looks like in a winter ascent you may be able to take a safe path through the flats on the left.

The road is in a state of terrible disrepair - at various points it's covered in rock slide debris, thick plants, and/or a foot wide at best - but is still better than trying to go down the slope without it. You definitely would not be able to drive on it unless you like dying. My guess is you don't.

19587_24
Lots of switchbacks but this is way better than making a direct line down the slope.
19587_25
I can see these things letting loose huge volleys of rock, as everything on this slope was loose and junky.

Once in the flats of the basin the road improves and it was a quick affair to get back to the Huron 4WD road. I had to cross some avalanche debris still on the road, as well as a creek crossing from higher in the basin, but nothing crazy. I passed a couple car camping far up the road near treeline, two of only three people I saw after getting on Huron's north ridge. Talk about having the place to myself! After a gazillion more switchbacks on the Lulu Gulch 4WD road I was eventually spit back onto the Huron 4WD road about half a mile up from the 2WD trailhead where I got picked up by my friend Clay for a second day of 13ers in Clear Creek drainage.

19587_26
Parting shot of Browns Peak and Lulu Gulch near treeline.

Statistics

Climbers: Ben Feinstein (myself)
Total distance: 9.88 miles
Total elevation gain: 3,997 feet
Total time: 4:40:20
Peaks: One 14er, three 13ers (one ranked, two unranked)

  • Huron Peak, 14,003'
  • Browns Peak, 13,523' (unranked)
  • Point 13,462, 13,462'
  • Middle Mountain B, 13,060' (unranked)

Splits:

Starting Location Ending Location Via Time (h:mm:ss) Cumulative Time (h:mm:ss) Rest Time (m:ss)
Huron Peak Trailhead (4WD) Huron Peak 1:37:18 1:37:18 0:00
Huron Peak Browns Peak 0:39:19 2:16:37 0:00
Browns Peak Point 13,462 0:21:51 2:38:28 0:00
Point 13,462 Middle Mountain 0:24:20 3:02:48 0:00
Middle Mountain Huron Peak Trailhead (2WD)/Winfield 1:37:32 4:40:20 Trip End

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 4 5 6 7 8 10 11 12 13 15 16 17 18 19 20 22 23 24 25 26


Comments or Questions
stephakett
User
YES PLEASE
08/01/2019 16:02
and thank you for the TR! This looks like a wonderful trip


supranihilest
User
'Twas
08/01/2019 16:19
@Steph: it turned out to be a lot more enjoyable than I expected, to be honest. I wanted to do the western 13ers that morning but it was raining when I got up so I had this as my backup but thought it would be boring. As an easy and best of all solitary warmup for doing the western ridge the second day instead it was perfect.



   Not registered?


Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. 14ers.com and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 14ers.com and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the 14ers.com Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

Please respect private property: 14ers.com supports the rights of private landowners to determine how and by whom their land will be used. In Colorado, it is your responsibility to determine if land is private and to obtain the appropriate permission before entering the property.




© 2021 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.