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 Peak(s):  San Luis Peak  -  14,014 feet
 Post Date:  06/14/2009
 Date Climbed:   06/13/2009
 Posted By:  spontaneous weekends

 San Luis blew us off   

My friend and I didn't summit San Luis, she blew us off! The temperature was fine but the wind chill and it's severity was just too distracting to bother with after awhile. A couple of pics here will help with the idea of snow conditions.

On Friday, we camped near the Trailhead, there are some excellent camp spots here and I think we had the best! A great fire pit with a nearby sitting log and no encroachment of trees anywhere near the pit. I love a good campfire and we kept a big one going for four hours. There are numerous options of where to set your tent and most are flat, rock free and soft yet strong enough to hold your tent stakes. You could hold a big party here! I seriously suggest this spot to 14'ers people, it was that good. Just measure .3 miles west from the TH, it's on the south side of the road.

Here's the firepit with the sitting log (with empties around it for artistic purposes, we packed them out):
Image

We began hiking at 5:15 from the TH. It's a nice hike through the trees but more like a sojourn along the creek for those who want to get some elevation and get going towards the summit. There are an incredible amount of beaver ponds for over a mile and one of the residents uncautiously swam right up to us where the trail was just a yard from the pond. Someone has been feeding this guy!

Looking towards the long approach towards San Luis, that peak isn't it and you pass it long before you ever get to the summit
Image

The wind kicked-in almost as soon as we began our hike and the trees blocked enough of it until we got above treeline. It was a surprisingly cold wind for June. It got worse when ascending the moderate slope to the saddle. We're used to beginning hikes at twilight in the early summer cold and layering appropriatley but this was something else. The wind was truly incessant with bouts of furious gusts and working directly against us the entire way up. Even though we were 20 feet apart towards the saddle, it was like being alone because of the deafening wind combined with the personal emotional battle of leaning in towards the slope as the wind took away half of every footstep. We made it to the saddle and there the San Luis winds screamed at us to get off of her, it was so much worse. There was nowhere near to find a break from it except this little pile of rocks, which didn't do much:

Image

As soon as we stood up from this pile we were both knocked right back down from the worst gust yet. The cumulative effect of this took it's toll on us, this was no fun at all. Our faces were partly numb and windburnt. When I exposed my hand to take a picture it would cramp-up from the wind chill. We decided to scrap this for another day. Here's a pic of San Luis from the saddle, you would have to cross some snow up high:

Image

On the way down, there were enough snow patches to slide down. They're neatly arranged for you in a tiered fashion so that when you get done with one you hike for a couple of minutes then slide down the next:

Image

We slid around 10:00 and it was actually too soft, it was difficult getting started and no glissading is needed. We got back to the car two hours later and the temperature was absolutely perfect with little wind anymore save a few gusts, San Luis's belligerent gesture to brush us on out of her territory.

My suggestion, wait a week or two to ensure lesser chance of what we experienced. I hated not summiting after tolerating one of the longer trails for a 14er, but it is an easy one, no doubt.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


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