| Culebra Plan B: Saturday Afternoon at Barr Camp
Culebra Plan B: Saturday Afternoon at Barr Camp
A party of fifteen plans to climb Culebra Peak at 06:00 on Saturday, February 20, 2010. The word comes in on Friday, February 19: Culebra is cancelled.
Culebra Peak is the only Colorado 14er on private land. Permission to climb in winter is a rarity.
Weather forecast for Culebra Peak looks like the best in the state at 30% chance of snow and 20-25mph winds.
Meanwhile, the Sawatch calls for another 4-8" on top of the 6-12" of new over the last few days; reports from other areas start coming in; up to two feet of new.
CAIC raises the backcountry avy forecast to high for most areas. It's looking like another sketchy weekend this winter.
Britt and Wes are not content to watch the snow pile up on the deck and decide for a Barr Trail hike. Jim joins. The word goes out.
Trevor and Kelly are in. Wes and Alexa will be there. John comes down from Denver.
Curtis has been interested in doing his first winter 14er, and decides this is a good start.
Eight people and three dogs show up on a misty, snowy Saturday morning to hike Pikes Peak.
Culebra Consolation Crew
We decide in the parking lot that this will be a social hike; the goal is Barr Camp, at 13 miles RT and about 3800 vertical.
We'll forego a summit bid today. We're happy just to get out and stretch the legs a bit.
On the way up Kaida is having trouble with her paws, and Trevor and Kelly take her back down, leaving Britt and Jack, Wes, Alexa, and Izzy, John, Curtis, and Jim, to carry on.
Photo by John
It's snowy and we hike under a ping-pong ball horizon, which narrows to a visibility of 50 yards at times.
Photo by John
By nearly 10,000 vertical, the clouds break and the sun makes a surprise appearance.
We find Neal and Teresa, Barr Camp caretakers for over five years now, at home and in great spirits.
Barr Camp has a long and colorful history, going back to the 1920s. Details of this idyllic oasis in the forest can be found at the following link:
We saunter in, drop our packs, and kick back for some lunch and libations.
Neal and Teresa are tremendous hosts. We share backcountry stories and pleasant conversation over hot coffee.
Teresa becomes particularly animated and gets some of us practically rolling on the floor laughing!
The warm fire and warmer company belies the wintry conditions just outside the front door, where it is forested terrain at 10,200 feet, half way up Colorado's 30th highest 14er.
We spend the better part of the afternoon in pleasant reverie with our hosts, exchanging stories and telling tales.
Teresa's Wild Friends
We learn that there has not been a successful summit on the east side in over three weeks. A party of five is out as we speak, attempting the summit, though hopes are slim.
We later learn they return to camp unsuccessful. Another party of five is due in that evening.
Assembling for the descent on the front deck of Barr Camp, Teresa's wild friends come to visit, and feed out of her hand.
More Wild Friends
We part ways, and soon drop back into the cloud and mist on our descent. It is almost as if Barr Camp were a dreamy island in the sun, above this mountainous sea of clouds that now engulfs us.
Photo by Curtis
We encounter Rachel (TryAnything,) and her party of five, their destination for the evening being Barr Camp, and the next day, at least for two in her group, the summit of Pikes Peak.
Izzy entertains us with her white-wolf good-looks in the snow and cloud, on the long tedious hike back to the cars,
where a few of us decide that beers and Mexican food are the ticket to top off a great afternoon of fun and friendship.
We decide that some of us are pretty lucky to have a 14er trailhead pretty much right in the backyard.
The conversation drifts to other peaks and future pursuits, and a plan begins to gel for a seldom-climbed winter fourteener…
Thanks to Britt and Wes for a great idea and a stylish way to salvage the weekend!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):