Peak(s):  Huron Peak  -  14,003 feet
Middle Mtn A  -  13,100 feet
PT 13,462  -  13,462 feet
Browns Pk  -  13,523 feet
Date Posted:  07/14/2020
Modified:  07/30/2020
Date Climbed:   07/12/2020
Author:  ellenmseb
 In case any confusion remains: Lulu Gulch >> Standard   

The Lulu Gulch route is strictly superior to Huron's standard Northwest Slopes route. I have no idea why anyone -- especially without 4WD -- would choose standard over the loop. I recommend that everyone do the loop, even if you have 4WD.

  • Lulu is indeed much more scenic
  • The terrain and scenery is extremely varied. The views on Lulu and Standard are both good, but different. You can get the best of both worlds with a loop.
  • For reasons that are a mystery to me, Lulu is empty and standard is crowded.
    • Apparently, Lulu is dog-friendly because my only companions on Lulu were one dog + guy (although the dog bypassed the 4 13ers).
  • You can bag FOUR (yes 4!) 13ers on the way with minimal added effort.
  • The loop's mileage is: 4.2 on Lulu, 3.25 on standard descent, 2 on the road = 9.7 miles.
    • If you, like most, don't have 4WD, then the standard route would be 6.5 + 4 miles on the road = 10.5.
    • If you have 4WD, then the standard route would indeed be shorter, 6.5 miles. This is understandable if you have limited hiking capacity or time. But if you have the time, I would still recommend Lulu.
    • If weather is clear, Lulu both ways could even be justified. If storms are rolling in, you'd better take standard down because standard gets off the ridge immediately whereas Lulu stays on the ridge for miles.

At 1am on 7/12, I had returned from a late Tab/Shav (my least favorite 14er to date) and laid down to sleep for Huron adventures. But I couldn't sleep! At 2:40 I realized that I had 2 choices:

1) Sleep until 6 and increase my 14er count with the boring Decalibron (closer and shorter, so allows a later start)
2) Get up now and hike Huron, which is promised to be scenic. Possibly even catch sunrise.

Since I didn't enjoy Tab/Shav much, I was aching for a hike that was promised to be one of the most scenic. So I pulled an all-nighter and left at 3:30 for Huron! Finally started hiking at 5:30. Wow, a sunrise start for lazy late-riser me!

LPT: There is indeed limited parking at the Lulu turnoff, in contrast to what geojed's excellent route description says.

LPT: Sunrises don't do you much good if you're below treeline.

20359_01

I rushed up the old mine road to get above the trees ASAP. I cut up to some scree off-trail to see golden hour views. Pics don't do it justice, but this detour was worth it.

20359_02

Lulu Gulch itself was lush and verdant. LPT: In a dry year, mid-July, there were plenty of water sources on this route (vs. zero useful ones on Tab/Shav). Bring a filter if that's your thing.

20359_11

The views proceeding up the mine road from Lulu Gulch continued to be amazing. There are so many colors: green life in the gulch, blue sky, clouds, yellow/purple/white/red wildflowers, stripes of red/brown/gray/black rocks. Even the dry slopes had wildflowers.

20359_06

i took the "Via middle Mtn" route rather than "direct via Browns Peak". Once gaining the ridge, there are 5 detours to take. They all take little effort and are worth it if you have the time. LPT: if you have to skip some, I would skip #5 and #2, in that order.

  1. Immediately on gaining the ridge, turn left to look down on the valley. Here, someone planted an American flag with instructions not to steal it.

20359_05

2. 13er Middle Mountain - adds ~150ft elevation. The ascent is challenging, but you had to do most of that elevation gain anyway.

20359_04

3. PT 13,462 - adds ~300ft elevation. Has a functional trail register.

20359_03

4. Browns Peak - is not really optional, the route goes there.

20359_10

5. UN 13,518 - adds ~100ft elevation, but no additional views that you wouldn't get by skipping it.

20359_08

due to all these detours, it was 11am when I intersected the standard route. some threatening clouds were rolling in. Due to past scary experiences with electricity on summits, I hurried up the summit push as fast as possible. Kept counting 20 steps in between rests.

When I reached the summit though, no one rushed to get down until the clock hit noon. Coloradans will just blindly stick to the "off summit by noon" mantra regardless of what the weather is actually doing.

20359_07

Compared to Lulu, the descent was less spectacular although pleasant.

Once I hit the upper trailhead, the first mile of road hike was pleasant and scenic. I don't mind doing it one-way. The second mile is your generic road hike where I'm jealous of people's 4WD.

20359_09

All-in-all, this weekend I bagged my least favorite (tab/shav) and most favorite (huron) 14ers. But Huron's position is in danger of being ovetaken by upcoming plans (Longs, Snowmass, Sneffels, Wetterhorn+Uncomphagre)!




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11


Comments or Questions
JQDivide
User
First Rule...
07/14/2020 15:09
First Rule of Lulu, we don't talk about Lulu... so it will always be empty...

But you are correct, it's a great route. And the loop provides all the best options.

Joel


CaptainSuburbia
User
Best route
07/14/2020 20:21
It's a mystery why this route remains empty. Did I miss a 13er? I only got 3 up there


ellenmseb
User
missed 13er
07/14/2020 20:44
Possibly UN13,518 doesn't count.


DeTour
User
Doing it right!
07/14/2020 20:57
Agreed that loop is wayyyyy better than up and down the standard router. You get some great views of Huron's burly east face, and some easy ridge action, always a plus in my book. The ridge gets a bit sporty around pt. 13518 if you like that kind of thing - and easy to bypass if it's not your bag.

Sneffels SW ridge is also a great alternate route if you like a little scrambling. The views on Sneffels are great no matter which route, but best from the ridge IMO.


ellenmseb
User
Sneffels
07/14/2020 21:04
For Sneffels would you recommend taking SW Ridge both ways, or loop with standard? Does standard have any benefit?


rrk
alternate routes
07/14/2020 21:45
Joel has it right. Let's be discreet about Lulu.

Same with that SW route on Sneffels. Some route-finding there, as I recall, but mostly solid. Have not descended the SW route, so it definitely works as a loop with the standard route. Once through all that scree on the standard route is enough.

Captain S.--13,518 could be viewed as a sharp point on Huron's NE ridge. It can be skirted or climbed. Best footing seemed to be right over it.


JQDivide
User
Lulu
07/15/2020 08:20
ellenmseb,
Standard on Snef sucks.... loose slope, we went up and down SW... fun route. both ways.
Been on Lulu three times, but only hit Brown, have to go back for the others
Joel


Laurelja61
Good Luck
07/15/2020 14:36
Believe me Huron will still be your favorite- saw you up there and said hi.
Good luck, heading to Snow mass too but not for a few weeks



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