My buddy Jason and I have wanted to do a winter ascent for a while now and Humboldt seemed like an excellent choice. We left Colorado Springs at 4:30 A.M. Saturday morning. S. Colony Lakes Road (the 4wd road to the trailhead of Humboldt as well as the Crestone group) obviously was not drivable because of the snow. In fact, we couldn’t have made it much further than the two-wheel drive parking lot, so we parked there. We started hiking at 7:30 A.M. Our plan was to hike on the road to Rainbow Trail, then hike North for a mile on Rainbow, then bushwhack up to timberline, then climb Humboldt’s long East Ridge to the summit. We were pleasantly surprised to find excellent flotation on the deep snow on S. Colony Lakes Rd. We hiked about 1.5 miles to Rainbow Trail, but once on Rainbow Trail, we were “post-holing” big time, even with our snowshoes. Rather than sinking on Rainbow Trail, we decided to stay on the road longer and find another route up the mountain, even if it meant hiking the whole length of the road and taking the standard West Ridge route. The road was great to hike on, and we made excellent time. Once we came to the first parking lot before Lower S. Colony Lake, we left the road and hiked through the forest, following a trail left by a cross-country skier. Our trail brought us above timberline to where an avalanche had fallen on Humboldt’s South side. We decided to follow what looked like a gully up the mountain on the South side. We gained about 700 feet and came to some ledges, and rather than climb these we went around them, leaving the gully. From there, it was a long scramble up the steep South face of Humboldt (our route is kind of confusing, but check out this map of our route
). Exhausted, we summitted at 2:15 P.M. We took pictures, and the view incredible! The Crestones looked so massive. We descended down the East Ridge for a ways, and then dropped down towards timberline. We glissaded down one section of snow that lasted for almost 1000 ft. We hiked through the forest again until we met up with S. Colony Lakes Rd. again. We arrived back at our vehicle at 6:30 P.M. A long day! I estimate we hiked 12 miles and gained 5,264 ft in elevation. Check out my pictures!
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