| culebra Summit - Regular Route - July 15, 2007
So, my wife and I arrived to the town of San Luis at about 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. What a beautiful town, it hasn't yet been influenced by the rest of the world! We immediately met two other guys that were going to climb Culebra the next day (one from Texas - his first fourteener, and another guy that was going to care of the guy from Texas). No one else was there. My wife and I talked to one of the locals at the only shop open in town. She said we should hike up to the Shrine there. We did. What a beautiful site (check out our pictures). Above the valley Jesus Christ is nailed upon the cross overlooking the San Luis Valley with Culebra in the distance. Truly an experience to see.
After our "hike" to the shrine, we met some others hiking the mountain and met them for dinner at one of the only places open for dinner. We had a great dinner and 'mooney pilot' and the leader of our group Lisa - who hooked up this whole adventure. Thanks Lisa!.
We all tried to go to the local tavern to get some drinks at that time, however, the whole town was closed down! On Saturday Night! To us, it was great to see a town that didn't really care about the rest of the world. San Luis needs to stay this way. Anyway, we all awoke about 5:30 next day to hike Culebra. Everyone seemed to be in a little daze at that time, except Lisa, who was drinking something out of her coffee thermos and looked wide awake (she just hiked Lindsey the day before). So, we all jumped in our cars and drove to the ranch gate. Once we got there 15 cars were lined up at the gate already! At 6:00 we saw a ranch truck drive by us and open the gate and then keep going! No one knew what to do. After about 15 minutes a guy named "Steve" (who we would later see on the mountain) said let's go...so we all went and we all did...we ended at the ranch manager's office. We all checked in and paid our ticket to climb Culebra ($100 for Culebra and $150 if we going to hike Red Mountain with Culebra). After that everyone split up into different cars and my wife and I took our fearless leader, Lisa, with us to the trailhead. My Subaru Outback barely made it up some of the steep mountain roads to the trailhead. I had to reverse down one of the major hills and get another 'running' start to get up the hillAnyway, we made it and we all hiked Culebra. So, my wife and I took off towards Culebra and about one hour into the hike we met "Steve."
We hiked with him from the Cairn on the Ridge and summitted Culebra at about 8:30, an hour and half since we left our car.
We went onto Red Mountain and took pictures and then descended. On our back to Culebra we saw parties going to Red Mountain and then finally met our last summit hiker on his summit attempt to Culebra.
He was at about 3 hours and 40 minutes and hadn't reached the summit yet. It was his first and he was from the East Lands of Texas. He was doing well...just slower, much slower, than the rest. We hung out with him for a while and explained the situation and then we kept down-climbing. He was in good spirits...and we encouraged him to keep going. Once my wife and I reached the trailhead where our car was parked, there were 3 guys waiting for a lift. Malcolm was there, Steve was there, and another guy that I can't remember your name...don't hate us. I guess at this point I must say that Malcolm "was with us" because his name is so unique! He is easily going to climb all Colorado's Fourteeners and probably could outclimb most 20 to 30 year olds - he really is in that good of shape! Anyhow, after checking out with the Ranch, we drove back to San Luis with Malcolm and stopped at the local hotel to drop him off. At that point, we met the Texas-guys wife and I told her that her Boy was not going to be off the mountain until at least 4 or 5 that night. I don't know if she really understood that! I told her that I last saw him on the false summit ridge and that he probably had another hour to go to get to the summit ( after almost fours to get to the false summit). Anyhow, that's how we left it.
Culebra is a classic. No true trails and no crowds like the rest of the fourteeners...especially the Front Range ones. Happy Trails!!!!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):