San Luis Peak - South Ridge from West Willow Creek
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(WINTER) HOLD ON! If you don't have much high-elevation, winter climbing experience, be careful in your planning and take a partner. Even the "easy" 14ers (Quandary, Sherman, Grays & Torreys) can be deadly in winter.
|Difficulty:|| Class 1 |
|Trailhead:||West Willow Creek|
|Total Gain:||3,700 feet|
|RT Length:||11 miles|
|USGS Quad.:||San Luis Peak|
|County Sheriff:||Mineral: 719-658-2600
| ||Saguache: 719-655-2544
|Wilderness Area:||La Garita|
From Creede, follow main street North from town 1.1 miles to a fork. Take the left fork on the Bachelor Loop road up the hill past the old Commodore Mine complex. Continue 2.2 miles to the junction with the East Willow Creek 4x4 road. Stay left on the Bachelor Loop road. After 1.9 more miles, reach the juntion with the West Willow Creek road at a hairpin curve. Go north on the West Willow Creek road past the Equity mine and cross the creek 0.9 miles past the mine and reach the trailhead at the end of the road.
From the unmarked parking area, head northeast up an easy-to-follow old 4WD road for a mile towards a 12,300' saddle east of Point 12,540 for 1.6 miles. Photo #1 and Photo #2 show a view of the route up to the saddle. From here, an excellent view of the South Ridge appears. Heading north, cross the saddle (Photo #3) and drop 150' to meet up with the excellent Colorado Trail - Photo #4. Follow the Colorado Trail as it descends few hundred feet to a low-point of about 11,860' in a small forest - Photo #5. The total elevation loss is about 400'. Continue on the trail as it contours 1 mile around a basin, passing a sign marked "Bondholder Meadows" (half way around the basin) marking a few campsites, and climbs up to another saddle at 12,360' in the upper Spring Creek drainage (Photo #6, Photo #7, and Photo #8).
Photo #9 looks back at the route from the first 12,300' saddle around the basin to the second saddle at 12,360'. Hiking east, drop about 150' and contour a mile around another basin as it turns north and heads up to a third saddle at 12,600' between the start of San Luis' South Ridge and Point 13,155 - Photo #10 and Photo #11.
From this saddle, the rest of the route is still a class 1 walk-up over a few false summits and is a little over a mile to the summit. San Luis Peak is to your left and Organ Mountain (13,801') is to the right. Photo #12, Photo #13, and Photo #14 show the remaining route to the summit.
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