Trail Report - Humboldt Peak - Colorado

August 5, 2019

Written by Paul van Valkenburgh

Showing Small Pictures    

Trail Report - Humboldt Peak - Colorado
Route: West Ridge
14.1 Miles Round Trip
5125 feet of elevation gain
Summit Elevation - 14,064'
Date Climbed: August 5, 2019
Climbers: Paul

Crestone Needle And Crestone Peak From Humboldt

Humboldt Peak!! The Sangre De Cristo Range!! The Crestone Group Area!! The Mountains in South Central Colorado are so amazing. These are probably the Colorado mountains whose ruggedness most reminds me of the Tetons. Just spectacular!! Tommy and I had climbed Crestone Peak in 2017, and this time I returned to make a solo attempt on Humboldt Peak. While not class 3 like some of the other 14ers in the immediate area, this is still not a class 1 walkup. The West Ridge has some amazing scrambling and, especially if you start at the bottom of the 4WD road, it is a long trip at 14-15 miles round trip.

I had actually attempted Humboldt two days earlier on August 3rd, but didn't quite make the summit. I had gone 13 miles in my attempt and had made it about half way up the final ridge section when a thunderstorm started threatening. Turning back was tough, but you have to make smart decisions when you are climbing high peaks. Knowing how rough the 4WD drive road was, even though I had my Xterra, the morning of the 4th, I just decided to walk it from the lower 2WD trailhead. If you have a vehicle you don't care about getting beat up, you can drive to the 4WD trailhead which cuts off a couple of miles in each direction.

The road up to South Colony Lakes is well, a road... so, not really that fun but it gets you there. After a couple of miles when you reach the 4WD trail head, you still have about 2 more miles of road. (This is apparently the road to the old 4WD trail head, but they no longer let people drive so close to South Colony Lakes.) Near South Colony Lakes, the trail splits.. to the right leads to Humboldt and to the left heads to Broken Hand Pass which is the standard route to both Crestone Needle and Crestone Peak.

Road To And From South Colony Lakes TH

Views Open Up Approaching South Colony Lakes

Views Open Up Approaching South Colony Lakes

Cool Trail Head Sign Info

Cool Trail Head Sign Info

Views On South Colony Lakes Approach Marble Mountain

Views On South Colony Lakes Approach Broken Hand Peak

The trial becomes absolutely gorgeous at this point. Not only are the lakes so beautiful, but with the backdrop of the Crestones is just unbelievable. The side of the Crestone Needle facing South Colony Lakes is the famed Ellingwood Arete, which is one of the 50 best climbs in the world. It's a 5th class roped climb, and you can see why... it is straight up!! And Crestone Peak is just a beast. The two mountains make up such a gorgeous view.Once you pass the upper South Colony Lake, the trail begins to switch back and head up to the West Ridge of Humboldt.

First View Of Humboldt Peak From The Trail

First View Of Crestone Needle

Broken Hand Peak And Crestone Needle

Gorgeous View Of South Colony Lake And Crestones

Nice Trail From Lakes To Ridge On Humboldt Peak

Upper South Colony Lake

Once on the ridge, it seems like it might go easy, but it's a lot longer than you might think at first. The rock scrambling is great, and there is a false summit to deal with... but stick it out and you will be treated to amazing views!! Once past the false summit, nearing the summit, there are amazing cliffs over the northern side of Humboldt Peak.

Looking Up West Ridge On Humboldt From Near Saddle

Crestone Needle And Crestone Peak From Humboldt

Marmot On Saddle

Obstruction Peak From Humboldt Peak

Colony Peak From Humboldt Peak

Part Way Up West Ridge Looking Back At Saddle

Looking Up West Ridge Of Humboldt Peak

Crestone Peak Bears Playground Kit Carson Group

Crestone Group Kit Carson Group Northern  Sangre

Looking South Marble And Milwaukee From Humboldt

Crestone Needle And Crestone Peak From Humboldt

Cool Rock Scramble On West Ridge Of Humboldt Peak

Another False Summit On Humboldt Peaks West Ridge

Looking Down To South Colony Lakes From Humboldt Peaks West Ridge

True Summit Comes Into View After False Summit

Looking Southeast To The Valley From Humboldts West Ridge

Closer To The Summit On Humboldt Peak

Looking East To The Valley From Humboldt Peak

Cliff On Western Side Near Summit Of Humboldt Peak

The summit of Humboldt Peak, like so many 14ers, is amazing. But in the Sangres, it is probably even better. To the west are great views of Obstruction Peak, the Bears Playground and over to the Kit Carson Group. To the Southwest are the mighty Crestones. The south features Marble Mountain, Broken Hand Peak and Milwaukee Peak with distant views all the way to the Blanca group way down south. To the east is the awesome valley 5000 feet below. To the northwest is the 13er Colony Baldy which is interestingly shaped like Humboldt. And to the north are the endless peaks in the northern Sangre De Cristo range.

The Summit of Humboldt Peak!:

The Summit Of Humboldt Peak

The Summit Of Humboldt Peak

View North Up Sangre De Cristo Range

Looking Over Western Cliff From Summit Of Humboldt Peak

Summit Of Humboldt Peak

Another Look At Crestone Needle And Peak

And of course there was a cute marmot on the summit to hang out with me. He was trying to eye my pack and get to the snacks, but I held him off. What an amazing peak!!

Marmot Friend On The Summit Of Humboldt Peak

Hope this has been enjoyable and / or helpful to anyone reading it!!


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