1 year 1 month 10 days since I last set eyes on De Anza peak from Gibbs Peak. Gibbs was the last peak in calendar winter and before spring 2011 and it had taken too long to get there. I knew it was going to take some time getting back so De Anza was now officially orphaned.
I have thought about and planned several times to make it back to pick off De Anza but one thing and another changed the plans.
I was not really interested in hiking the Rainbow Trail again. The Gibson Trailhead approach adds 3 miles or so going in and coming back out. It also adds a lot of extra vertical since you gain and lose elevation twice in and twice back out. I have looked at that a few times and have not figured it out exactly, sometimes it seems to add up to about 600-700 feet and sometimes it appears to be more like 1000 feet. You start at 9100-9200 go up to 9500 down and up and then down to about 9000 at the Texas Creek trail.
The other option is the Cottonwood Creek approach from the west side of the Sangres. I believe this way would have been 12 miles and 4500 feet. I opted to save 2 1/2-3 hours driving and use it for the extra hiking. If you are looking to hike just De Anza then it makes sense to go from the west (why didn't I do that? I went over Gibbs again just so I could have the two peaks and then it makes sense, right).
The Gibson Trailhead is just south of mainstreet in Westcliffe, west on Hermit Lane, right/straight ahead at the sign at Hermit Pass Road and after a few curves, left at the tee past the "No Parking' signs past the Gibson Trailhead sign onto Forest Service land and parking.
I had a plan for the Westcliffe side. My plan was blown away though.
The plan was to ride the mountain bike along the Rainbow Trail to the Texas Creek trail.
The problem with my plan became evident rather quickly as there were downed trees 200 yards out. The next rocky stretch had a few trees and then downed trees were everywhere. 100's and 100's of trees along the trail and dozens along the Rainbow Trail and clogged trees along the Texas Creek Trail.
I took the bike for a little ways but after carrying it around the trees a few times I gave up on that idea and ditched the bike. It was too bad because the trail gets a lot better after the first half mile and is mostly dirt.
Texas Creek turnoff.
A creek crossing.
...more downed trees along Texas Creek. The trees were ripped up from the roots, broken off 10-20 feet up and piled on top of each other.
It would be an estimate only as to exactly how much extra time all the downed trees cost but it did cost some time. It looks like it would take a good week to clear the trees out if there is someone, like Forest Service, to do it.
I left the Texas Creek “trail” at around 10,400 feet and made my way more northerly and gained the south finger of Gibb’ s East ridge. I crossed an open area of rock.
I was able to zigzag through the snow patches up and within a few hundred feet below treeline where the snow was continuous. I made treeline at this point.
The ridge gains about 200 vertical feet on a steeper slope, after that what you see is what you get pretty much to the summit of Gibbs. The slope is rocky with some stretches of grass. The slope as you look south. It takes a little longer than it looks to get up there.
A picture of bighorn sheep taken a ways below their location on the slope.
I traversed around the south side of Gibbs rather than over the top to save 300-400 feet.
This is my first look at De Anza, as it looks from 1.3 miles away, in 1 year 1 month 10 days.
This is a look back at Gibbs.
The ridge along the divide before you reach the 12,799 foot saddle.
A look back at Gibbs.
The cairn is behind the bump.
De Anza Peak A summit.
Gibbs and the snow clouds sitting nearly on top.
Mountain scenery to the south.
The steep north side of Gibbs taken on the return trek.
The summit of Gibbs. I had to go back over it, right? also avoiding the side hill traverse in exchange for the extra 300 feet vertical.
The weather had changed from blue skies to a thin layer of clouds. The clouds brought a light snow with them and it snowed nearly all the way back from the saddle to the truck.
I reached my bike and carried it or rode it back several hundred feet at a time for the last mile, finally reaching the truck at 8:00 pm (left at 7:00 am). There was still daylight lingering at the end of the day so it worked out well.
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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