14,064 feet, 4286 meter
6, 2008 9:00AM on the summit of Crestone
Needle: Patrick and I looked over at Humboldt Peak - "Yeah,
we could get it in today." And with that the new plan was set.
We had set out to climb Humboldt on Sunday with Robert who was arriving
at our camp late on Saturday however with the clear blue skies the
idea of standing on top of a 14er at sunset was just too appealing.
The normal 14er rule of getting off the summit by noon for fear of
thunderstorms and lightening did not apply this early September weekend.
Only the wind was an issue. Once Robert arrived, we set out at 4:00PM
for my 40th 14er and 11th in 2008.
Click on any picture to enlarge it.
Humboldt is a huge massive just 2 miles from Crestone Needle. The route is clearly marked and the trail amazingly smooth - too a point. The Colorado Fourteener Initiative did extensive work in the area in the late 1990's since it was such a popular climb - it was being loved to death!
We crossed the small stream by our camp and headed up the long switchbacks that meandered through the grassy slopes of Humboldt. Starting at 11,600', this was only a 2.8 mile round trip so we expected to be on the summit for a nice view of sun setting.
Once on the saddle, an incredibly brazen marmot came right up to Robert asking for a handout. Knowing better, yet we gave him some natural food from the gorp bag. I swear we could have petted him and he would not have minded. Soon another showed up so we left fearing a mob scene.
The trail follows the steep ridge to a false summit. At this point it becomes more boulder scrambling than trail following. The true summit was easily visible now and we all made our way across the high summit ridge with the high winds being the only challenge. But after a quick 2 hours, we enjoyed an amazing view of the nearby valley, Crestone Peak and Needle, Blanca Group to the south and more.
Enjoying the sun setting behind the Needle we left for camp and arrived just as night set in. It has been a long day with Patrick and I starting at 4:30 AM for the Needle and ending up with our second 14er of the day on Humboldt. Bedtime came early .
I liked Humboldt. It was a bit of a contradiction in that it is a short climb on easy trails. However the final 1,000 feet was on large boulders that required concentration to avoid twisting a knee or ankle. But like all the peaks in the Sangre de Cristo range, the views are worth the price.