|Trailhead||North Cottonwood Creek Trailhead|
We attempted to hike Birthday Peak several months ago and managed to follow the trail for Mount Harvard instead of the correct Kroenke Lake trail, so coming back to this peak was definitely not something I was looking forward to (especially so late in the season).
We started the trail at about 10am and there was not a single car parked at the trailhead. The trail was probably 75% ice and snow, which made this hike quite difficult despite the weather being in the mid-60's for the day. Lots of slippery parts that required slow navigation, but luckily there were no serious falls! We made it to the summit in about 4 hours and only stayed for about a minute since the wind was brutal. The last stretch of the climb up to the peak was really challenging due to the ice and the boulder scramble, however luckily the past week had warmed temperatures and much of the ice/snow at the top was in the process of melting. Coming down we had to take our time and basically scoot/slide down most of it. My 10 month old puppy somehow had NO issues climbing in or hiking in the snow, unlike myself, although he did get a bit scared on the scramble.
While the hike itself was beautiful, I'm not sure I would ever care to climb this one again! Definitely rewarding but difficult in the ice and snow! Although, the Collegiate Wilderness has left me itching to climb some of the 14ers in the area 😉
Side note: When we just about reached the saddle, I managed to drop my phone in a pile of snow and cause a “water error” to prevent me from using it until it was completely dried out (thanks Samsung!) so unfortunately we had no pictures passed that point 🙁