Still trying to get caught up on TRs from last year. In November Brian, Dillon, and I loaded up into the Jeep and made our way down to the Sangres with a less-than-stellar weather forecast looming over our heads. A more sensible group may have pushed the trip to a later date, but for some reason we got a wild hair and decided to try to stick it to Mother Nature on this particular weekend. Well as you may have guessed, the joke wound up being on us, kind of. After setting up camp and getting a fire going at the Horn Creek TH, IPAs in hand, the wind gradually increased from 10 to 50 mph as the night progressed. Around 2am we moved from the tents to the Jeep as the flimsy aluminum poles of our free standing tents simply couldn’t stand up to the beating any longer. With visions of flapping canvas and flying embers still dancing in our heads, we managed to get a few hours of something resembling sleep before heading into Westcliffe for some breakfast. It was the single windiest night I’ve ever experienced in the backcountry and my tent definitely paid a price for it. I think my stuff sack ended up in Kansas as well.
After we regrouped and re-packed our gear, we drove around the north end of the range for an afternoon attempt on Hunts Peak from the west. Though the winds were still whipping up high, we figured we might just get lucky and catch an afternoon lull. The TH was somewhat tricky to get to as it lies at the end of a complex set of interconnected dirt roads, all of which seem to lead nowhere. I won’t bother trying to describe the directions, but they can be found on several websites if you look for them.
Brian, who got the worst night of sleep out of the three of us, decided to stay and relax at the car with a can of Pringles. Dillon and I, intent on getting some hiking done to offset the several thousand calories we consumed the night prior, set off up the road towards South Rock Creek. The area had seen a decent amount of snowfall in the day prior, up to a foot in some places, so we often found ourselves wallowing.
We followed the trail the best we could higher in the drainage before splitting off and contouring up a mini-ridge feature dropping off the north side of Point 12,042. Once atop this ridge the ground flattened out and Hunts Peak came into view to our east.
Being the northernmost 13er in the Sangres, Hunts grants unique 360 degree views of the Sawatch to the north and the Sangres to the south. The summit sits on the border between Fremont and Saguache counties, and is uniquely positioned at the intersection of the Arkansas, San Luis, and Wet Mountain valleys. You really get a good lay of the land from the top.
After a celebratory high five and a short summit stay, Dillon and I high tailed it off the summit and down the West Ridge. As we worked our way down lower we were treated to a spectacular sunset over the San Luis Valley. We decided to stop and admire the view for several minutes, but with the temps taking a noticeable nose dive we didn’t linger for too long. Once off the ridge we were able to follow our tracks the mile and half back out to the road. Fifteen minutes later we met up with Brian at the Jeep, after which we motored up to Amica’s for some much anticipated pizza and IPA.
Wind, cold, and destroyed gear aside, I had a great time. Thanks for making it a fun one fellas!