| San Luis - Stewart Creek
Finally able to come out to Colorado to climb! It's become a once-a-year thing for Gordy and me.
This year, our old friend Bill joined us. San Luis was our first target. The 3 of us arrived in CO Springs late Wednesday night, actually it was Thursday morning, around 1:00 am. Slept in the hotel, and then we got up around 8:00 on Thursday morning and headed out. We drove to the San Luis trailhead, which was a crazy drive out into the middle of nowhere. Such isolation was what we were looking for though. When we arrived, there was a family from Idaho just finishing their San Luis climb. They turned out to be the only people we saw during the whole San Luis experience!
At the trailhead, we contemplated our options, knowing that the forecast for the whole weekend (Thurs-Sun) was rain. We decided to pack our heavy packs and plan for a camp around treeline, and if we felt like going for an evening summit, we could try.
It was a beautiful hike up the Stewart Creek valley. Many beaver dams; they had been hard at work. We found a good camping spot for 2 2-man tents close to treeline, and we stopped and checked out the weather. It was relatively benign at that point, so we decided to go for the summit. This would be my first evening attempt at a summit and I wasn't too sure about it. But what the heck.
We cashed our big packs, put on our camelbacks and headed up. We saw wildlife everywhere - mule deers up on the mountain sides and we came right up on a moose which was within about 30 feet of us when we were coming through the willows. She saw us and backed away. It was an amazing sight!
We kept ascending and reached the ridge at about 13,000 feet, when we heard thunder rumblings close to the summit. We decided not to chance it and we headed back down to our established camp. Too bad we got thundered off the ridge, but it was the safe choice.
Bill had a few calf cramps on the way down so he decided not to make the summit bid on Friday morning. Gordy and I left camp around 4:45 am and summited San Luis around 7:00. Our view was somewhat blocked by cloudiness, but we were a little bit above the clouds, so we could see Organ and a bunch of surrounding mountains. The hike above treeline is excellent and the trail is easy to follow all the way to the summit. I thought the ridge hike was fun and relatively easy for a 14er. Not too steep at all.
A few pics are below, including one each of Gordy and me on the San Luis summit, and one each of us approaching the trailhead after 2 days of hiking.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):