Culebra Winter Hike

Need a climbing partner? Trying to form a hiking group for an outing?
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Re: Culebra Winter Hike

Postby SurfNTurf » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:22 am

It sounds to me like the ranch was worried there might be avalanche danger on the traverse to Red Mountain and simply didn't want to risk being held liable. They were probably open to allowing access Red Mountain in the weeks leading up to the trip, but the area got a boatload of snow only a few days before the hike.

I don't see where they were misleading. Maybe they could have communicated more clearly, but the ranch being concerned about hiker safety is no reason to invent other lines of reasoning and throw them under the bus.

In hindsight, was it safe? Probably. But you can't blame the ranch for covering their ass.

From the CAIC:

On Saturday February 2nd there were at least five avalanche incidents across the state from the Wyoming border to Silverton in southern Colorado. There was one fatality, and several people with reported injuries.

The current snowpack across Colorado is in a delicate state of balance. Before the last storm cycle moved across the state the base layers of the snow were exceptionally weak. The new snow during the storm came in with significant wind and a high water content, meaning the new snow was heavy, and developed quickly into dangerous slabs.

I'd just be thankful they didn't cancel the trip(s) altogether. Congrats to all on a rare winter summit.
“There are two kinds of climbers: those who climb because their heart sings when they’re in the mountains, and all the rest.” - Alex Lowe

"There have been joys too great to describe in words, and there have been griefs upon which I cannot dare to dwell; and with those in mind I say, 'Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste, look well to each step, and from the beginning think what may be the end.'" - Edward Whymper

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Re: Culebra Winter Hike

Postby I Man » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:27 am

SurfNTurf wrote:It sounds to me like the ranch was worried there might be avalanche danger on the traverse to Red Mountain and simply didn't want to risk being held liable.

Ironically the only avy danger was on the route to Culebra...the ridge to Red was mostly blown dry....there were plenty of avy slopes, but they were not on the route. There is a lot of avy danger out there right now. I climbed in the Sangres the past 2 days and careful travel was a necessity.

They were misleading in the sense that they gave us misinformation, specifically about historical climbs - but after speaking with Sam it was just miscommunication.

I do agree that I am grateful they did not cancel the trip.

Again - there is a learning curve for the new owner's and I think they learned a lot this weekend. It is a shame it was at our expense, but we were allowed to climb a rare winter peak and we all had a great day.
You can touch the void, just don't fall into it.

I fly a starship across the universe divide....and when I reach the other side...I'll find a place to rest my spirit if I can. Perhaps I may become a Mountain Man again.

Re: Culebra Winter Hike

Postby Sartorius78 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:09 pm

Thanks again to Anna for orgainizing this trip, had a fun time with everyone on Saturday!

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Re: Culebra Winter Hike

Postby WarDamnPanic » Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:58 pm

Had a blast Saturday meeting some great people from this site. Big thanks to Anna for organizing, the lead hikers for the trench, and the Ranch for the access. Overall a stellar day for a winter hike.

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Re: Culebra Winter Hike

Postby Dancesatmoonrise » Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:04 pm

Please accept my apology in advance, but I did not read the entire mass of posts for this trip...

My question: Is Bobby still the owner, or is there now new ownership? Or is it just that Carlos is no longer the local employee, now replaced by Sam?

My opinion: I share the opinion of those expressing the fact that this is PRIVATE LAND and thus, ANY access is subject to the permission and terms of those who own the property. The only "fair" and "unfair" in our free country is this: you have the money, you buy the property, you make the calls. Putting it on more palpable terms: Does anybody have the "right" to camp in your backyard?

Brief history: My understanding is that before Bobby owned it, access was very difficult. There are many others here who could tell the stories. Bottom line, we're very fortunate. Let's keep good relations, shall we?

For the record, my personal experience with the ranch was very favorable, and I feel they have been quite generous with climbers.

Carlos, March 2010.

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Re: Culebra Winter Hike

Postby pioletski » Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:17 pm

Bravo, Johnson and Dancesatmoonrise, for thoughtful responses.

Jim, to answer your questions: Bobby Hill still owns the ranch. Sam Wilson is a longtime friend of the Hill family and as of January 1 this year, has taken the job of operations manager for the ranch. He is very nice, very affable and exudes an air of competence; he is very familiar with the geography of the ranch and has hiked Culebra and Red in the summer, but has never climbed them in winter.

Carlos no longer works at the ranch but Mr Wilson stays in close touch with him and relies on him for information and assistance for coordinating winter hunts and hikes.

It is true that the difficulty of access has fluctuated over the years, and that under the Hill family's ownership the ranch has been pretty open to the hiking/climbing community. This is reflected in a comment Mr Wilson made during our conversation which is that he loves and treasures the ranch and enjoys sharing it with people, from us hiking riff-raff to the $10,000 a day guided hunting crowd.

Bottom line, for me: The ranch owners are gracious and generous enough to have us as their guests. We should all appreciate that; please let's not threaten future access by griping in public.

And... thank you Anna, well done compadres, we had a great day on Sunday!
The greater danger, for most of us, is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low, and we reach it.
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Re: Culebra Winter Hike

Postby Papillon » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:15 pm

I agree with everything Jim posted above. I'll go so far as to recommend that incendiary posts be tweaked, specifically the one about the ranch stealing money. I understand that emotions run high and people may feel slighted. I give everyone credit for not hitting Red under the circumstances. That would've been a tough call.

There are more peaks on the ranch property than just Culebra and Red, by the way. There are bicentennials and lower ranked 13ers as well. During the past two summers, access to these peaks has been granted. Hopefully, this will continue.

I've always feared that somebody will get themselves into a pickle down there or piss off the ranch and access will go bye bye.
The look in his eyes when it hit - Kid, it was tasty... - William Seward Burroughs

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Re: Culebra Winter Hike

Postby JEyez » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:19 pm

"I Man",

After reading your posts in this thread I am reminded of lyrics from a song off the stellar album Ænima, released by the band Tool in the mid-nineties. Maybe you have heard it? It's called "Hooker with a Penis." In the off chance that you have never gave it a listen, I have linked a video, including the aforementioned lyrics, below.

In short, shut the hell up son...

Last edited by JEyez on Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Damn right I like the life I live, 'cause I went from negative to positive." - The Black Frank White

"There is only one day left, always starting over: it is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk." - Jean-Paul Sartre

Jeremy Isenhart

Re: Culebra Winter Hike

Postby Steve Climber » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:55 pm

Welp. That was fun.

Dave B wrote:And/or line thy helmet with tin foil and realize this is a freaking mountaineering website.

Steve Climber wrote:So that's your backpack, huh?


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