Mount Helen is a low thirteener among the giants of the Tenmile Range. It stands on the southeast side of the Crystal Creek Basin that also holds Crystal Peak, Peak 10, and Father Dyer Peak. Mount Helen actually connects to Father Dyer Peak with an exposed Class 3 traverse. It's a very enjoyable route. In the same region are many other popular high peaks like Pacific Peak, "Atlantic" Peak, Quandary Peak, Fletcher Mountain, and Drift Peak. Not far to the south are the popular 14ers Mount Lincoln, Mount Bross, Mount Democrat, and Cameron Point.
Despite her higher and more popular neighbors, Mount Helen is a wonderful climb on its own. Helen's airy summit is a great spot to view surrounding peaks, and her east slopes offer great snow climbing and skiing in Winter and Spring. Visitors to the Crystal Creek drainage rarely climb to her summit, making a trip there an almost guarantee of solitude.
Mount Helen is very close to the popular ski resort town of Breckenridge. It is a great daytrip any time of year for climbers who live near here.
From Hoosier Pass, south of Breckenridge on Colorado 9, go 7.6 miles north to the well-marked Spruce Creek Road. There is also a sign here that says "The Crown." Turn onto the Spruce Creek Road, and follow it for approximately 2 miles to an obvious parking area. Park 2 Wheel Drive vehicles here. Winter and Spring snow closure will also be here. This road does not typically melt out until mid-June.
4 Wheel Drive vehicles can proceed 1.1 miles up the Spruce Creek road to a gated closure on the Aqueduct Access Road (see route info.)
RoutesThis section shows an overview of the routes available on summitpost for Mount Helen. The route colors refer to the TOPO below:
RED= East Slopes Route
BLUE= Father Dyer - Mount Helen Ridge (from Father Dyer Peak Page)
Skiing? Try the East Slopes Descent
Red TapeThere is no red tape on Mount Helen. Observe private property closures and do not cross closed Forest Service Roads when they are closed for the season.
When To ClimbMount Helen can be climbed year-round. Helen is a great Winter or Spring ski descent, and is also a nice hike in the Summer and Fall.
Francie's Cabin, a 10th Mountain Association Hut, is near this area in lower Crystal Creek.