Peak(s):  "West Apostle" - 13,568 feet
Date Posted:  07/03/2020
Modified:  07/13/2020
Date Climbed:   06/28/2020
Author:  JQDivide
Additional Members:   FoodieHiker, bmcqueen
 West Apostle from Lake Ann   


West Apostle

From Huron/Lake Ann trailhead

11.10 Miles from our parking spot before the TH

8:24 Car to Summit to Car:
2 hours to lake
2 hours to summit ridge
50 minutes to summit

(Moving Time 6:33 / Stop Time 1:50)

3,045 Feet Ascent




Brad had two days of 13er plans in the Sawatch. But Staci and I could only go for one day. So, he did a big ridge run and we had day of mishaps that made us question if the universe was telling us to stay home. Not to be denied, we arrived at the Huron/Lake Ann trailhead more than three hours late. We skipped going to meet Brad at his camp, because he was probably asleep by then.

We parked down the road just a bit to stay out of the morning ruckus at the TH. There was actually a camping space open near the Silver Basin Trailhead, which I never knew was a thing until I saw it on the GAIA map. We settled in for the night. Foot and car traffic started early, but we rolled over and got up about 5:30.

Brad drove over from his camp spot near Windfield. We had breakfast then walked up the road toward Huron TH. Surprise, surprise, Brad bumped into someone he knew, a former co-worker, Torrie. Congrats to Torrie and friends for getting their first 14er.







Apostle Basin is one of the prettiest locations in the Sawatch. The view of the Three Apostles from the trail is amazing. This was my third time in the basin and I want to spend more time there.

It took us two hours to reach Lake Ann. The trail was obvious and easy to follow. There were a few trees down across the trail, but other than that it was clear trail. Lake Ann was a beautiful spot. There were four tents in the area near the lake.

We hiked directly to the lake and followed a slight path to the left, east. The trail took us up a small rise and through a nice camping spot with trees. We turned southeast and up a grassy slope.

Near 12,000 we found what we thought were numerous seashells, but turns out they are from a snail. Still thought it was odd to see them in this grassy area. This area has a great view of Lake Ann.

From here it levels out a bit. Saw lots of Globe Flowers and Marsh Marigolds in wet spots that probably only lost snow recently. There were also some creeks with run off that had flowers.






Near 12,400


The way up

The route continues east toward a large rocky gully. We skirted a small tarn and followed a faint trail on the left side up the rocky slope, not quite side-hilling. Near 12,400 the route reaches a flat ridge, or might even be a small head wall. On the other side is a small lake, kind of phallic is shape.

The route goes right along this flat ridge to the nasty slope to the upper summit ridge. The slope begins near 12,400 and reaches 13,150. At first glance the slope looked questionable as there was still plenty of snow. But other route descriptions say to stay to the far right and use the rib and stay out of the gully. To our luck, the rib was clear. The lower slope was rocky and eventually turned to loose rock and dirt. The slope turns to a Class 2, 2+, scramble on crappy rock. Depending your route of choice, there might be a few Class 3 moves. There were sections of solid rock, but check each hand and foot hold. Push, pull, and lift, because they will move or break apart if you’re not selective.

I’d recommend a helmet for this lose crappy slope. We didn’t bring helmets, but hind sight is usually better.

If you look up, you’ll see tall cairn above. Keep moving up. Eventually you’ll come to a loose dirt slope that you have to side-hill across it. Be careful, the drop off to the right is nasty.

There was a small snow field that we had to cross, like five steps worth and we were on the ridge to the summit. It took us two hours to reach the summit ridge from the lake. I think that was a bit slow.







Top of the slope, hitting the summit ridge

Like lots of 13ers, there were two routes. Stay low and skirt the ridge on the right or take the ridge proper. There were faint trails for both, more obvious in some spots. Pick your best option along this rocky ridge. There were a few ups and downs, but right before the last down, there was a narrow ridge section. It had a smooth wall to the left. Brad was ahead of us and he pointed to the right… we mistook that for going back a few steps and going down and around on the right, which went easy. But he did the Capitol Knife Edge move on the right and used his hands along the top and skirted just below on the right.

From here the ridge drops a bit before the final up to the summit. Stay left, ridge proper and it’s an easy Class 3ish scramble. Took about 50 minutes to hike the ridge. So, just under five hours to hike the route. Probably a bit slow, but not bad.


Summit in view, go right







This photo shows the "narrow ridge section / wall," center of photo just above the snow.

Brad on the summit, go right up the ridge




The views of Huron, North Apostle and Ice Mountain are fantastic. Brad and I did NA and Ice with Chris Austin three years ago. Was nice to see them from this angle. The Taylor Reservoir and basin are in full view too.

We spent about 25 minutes on the summit for photos and snacks.

The route down was easy to repeat, except for the nasty slope. Gravity, loose dirt and rocks, made it a slow go. But down to the lake and back to the trailhead was a nice easy stroll for a finish.

We spent an hour eating snacks and washing up a bit at the vehicles. Torrie and her group stopped by on their way out. Nice to see their excitement coming off their first 14er.

Going down the awkward loose section near the top of the slope








Edit: Forgot... the registry needs an end cap... guessing 2-inch pvc pipe with threads.

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Fun day out!
07/03/2020 18:01
Thanks for fighting the universe and making the drive up to join me!

07/04/2020 16:32
My son and I came down from West Apostle the same way yesterday to finish the full Apostle loop. Memories of my first time down Bross came back to me on the way down from the ridge especially that awkward side slope just after leaving the ridge. After escaping the traverse from Ice Mtn to West Apostle with our lives, it didn't seem so bad. The grassy slopes and view of Lake Ann were a very welcome prize.

As always, nice report and beautiful pictures. Thanks.

07/05/2020 21:34
Great pictures!

07/19/2020 08:12
climbed it yesterday. That gully on the way to the ridge is loose and not fun. But we were able to stay on the ridge proper, fun class 3 up there. The knife edge section has some serious exposure on the north side.

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