Peak(s):  Huron Peak  -  14,003 feet
Date Posted:  07/06/2021
Date Climbed:   07/02/2012
Author:  VegasinCS
 Huron Peak via Lulu Gulch (Directly up Browns Peak)   

I wanted to do this trip report to provide a little more beta for those who want to do the north ridge via Lulu Gulch, especially if you want to go straight up to Browns Peak and bypass Middle Mountain. I will say the views were much better than on the standard route, but I was not ready for the direct ascent up to Browns Peak.

I had the day off, so I decided to try Huron Peak as my first 14er of the season. After looking at the route description, I decided I wanted to to the north ridge. The idea of better views and less crowds appealed to me, and it looked like it wasn't much longer than the standard route from the 2WD TH. I picked my buddy up in Denver at 3AM and drove the 3 hour out to the trailhead.

We parked a little below the upper 2WD parking area and got started around 6AM. We saw two other groups while we walked up the road to the Lulu Gulch road intersection, and told them not to follow us if the were going up the standard route. As mentioned in the route description, we did not see another person until we intersected with the standard route, but more on that later. We walked up the switchbacks until the intersection and left turn around 1.7 miles into the hike.

Left turn into Lulu Gulch Basin

Once you make that turn, Lulu Gulch Basin and Browns Peak comes into view. From here, you can see the road up to Middle Mountain, as well the slope up to the upper basin to Browns Peak.

Road to Middle Mountain to the left. Direct to Browns Peak to the right.

Continue following the road through a stream crossing, up past the treeline, and then to the hairpin turn at around two and a half miles in. At this point, you have to make your decision on which route to take.

Hairpin turn on the road, looking north. Follow this road to go up to Middle Mountain.
Hairpin turn on the road, looking south. This is the direct route to Browns Peak.

We had planned to take the direct route up Browns Peak, as it was shorter route on the map. From this point, there was no trail or trail markings (as least I didn't see any). So using the directions, we crossed the rocks and went to the left of the trees, staying in the tundra as much as we could.

Going up towards Browns Peak.

The first part of this wasn't too bad. We knew where we had to go, so we kept on moving. However, we knew at some point we would have to hike up to the upper basin, and there didn't seem to be a good way to do this. Every path look steep, and we started to second-guess ourselves and the directions. However, we decided to stick to the tundra and began hike up the gully to the upper basin.

About halfway up to the upper basin. You can see the road on the right side of the photo.

This was without question the worst part of the hike. With no trail to follow, we just did our best to scramble up to the top. It was about 500 feet of tundra and loose talus. At this point, I began to wonder if we should have taken the road to Middle Mountain, but it was too late. We finally got to the upper basin and then it was a little easier to get up to the saddle between Point 13,462 and Browns Peak. From the saddle, you do get a good view of Browns Peak and Huron's East Face.

Looking up at Browns Peak from the saddle.
East Face of Huron

We took a long break before walking up to Browns Peak. The ascent up Browns Peak wasn't too bad, as it's a straight shot to the top from the saddle. From the top, we could see the rest of the route, as well as all of the people walking up the standard route.

View of Huron from Browns Peak. You can see where it intersects the standard route.
Huron Peak from the traverse

However, we couldn't see any sort of trail between Browns Peak and the standard route trail. After some discussion, we decided to stay low and head straight for the trail instead of walking across the ridge. Despite not having a marked trail, the traverse was not too bad. The talus was pretty solid and it wasn't very difficult to get to the standard route at 13,500. When we finally got to the trail for the standard route, we ran into the two parties we had started with at the upper 2WD TH. They were both coming down off the peak as we were still heading up, so this route took us about an hour longer than if we had gone up the standard route.

From here it we just followed the standard route trail for the last 500 feet of elevation to the Summit. At this point, it began to rain a little, so we quickly took some photos from the summit. According to my GPS, it was 5.1 miles to the summit, so a little longer than I had planned on. Even if we didn't plan to do the "Tour de Huron," it made sense to come down the standard route. After this ascent, it was nice to have a trail to follow all the way down. Thanks to the CFI for all the great trail work.

Huron Peak from the Standard Route

Halfway down, my GPS watch ran out of batteries, but I estimated that it took us about 2 hours to get down to the upper 4WD TH and then another 45 min to walk down the road to our car. I estimated that it was about an eleven mile round-trip, so not much longer in distance than the standard route. The views were definitely better, but not having the crowds to follow does mess with your head a bit, especially if this is your first ascent of Huron Peak.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Good Trip Report
07/06/2021 08:07
I appreciated reading this one. I did that 13er trio out of Lulu Gulch not too long ago. I found it relaxing. The road was washed out so you get to do a little bit of 'scree surfing.'

Well done.

Great information
07/06/2021 15:54
Great information, I was planning on this hike this weekend, so thanks!

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