California Peak  
Report Conditions Information   Photos  Comments       
2016-12-22  Route: West Ridge from Zapata Falls
Posted On: 2016-12-29, By: Dad Mike
Info: -started out at 7:45am from the Zapata Falls th -it was snowing pretty hard when I left Alamosa, but had no problem getting up to the parking lot -trail up to Zapata Lake is easy to follow -I turned off to catch California's West Ridge around 10,500', up a talus field...turns out this was too early...I should have waited to cross Califonia Creek and head up the drainage -I only used my snowshoes for a short section through the trees...could have gone without them -weather got progressively worse throughout the day...white-out conditions above treeline -I knew there were a lot of false summits on this route, but when you can't see more than a couple hundred feet, they seem endless...actually thought I was having a sick dream where I would never reach the summit -summited at 11:30am...conditions were a little scary...blinding snow and a 30 - 40 mph wind...I had a thin layer of ice on everything I was wearing, including my ipod and gps both stopped tracks were covered immediately...I stopped for 5 minutes on the summit to collect myself and take a couple pictures...when I went to head back down, I couldn't tell which way to go..luckily my phone was still working and I was able to follow my strava track -the hike back down the ridge was interesting...walk straight for a few minutes with very little visability and fists balled in mittens, stop and check strava, correct course, repeat -as I got back near treeline, the clouds started to break a little and I could finally see where I was going -followed my track back down the ridge to Cali Creek and then found my way down to the Zapata Lake Trail -made a quick tourist stop at Zapata Falls to admire the ice and then back to the jeep for the long ridge home -the storm dropped 3 - 5 inches on my ascent track and it started snowing hard again on my drive I doubt there will be anything left of it -7:45am - 2pm, 9.5 miles, 4800 feet 
2016-10-08  Route: West Ridge via Zapata Falls
Posted On: 2016-10-08, By: bdloftin77
Info: Route is dry as of 10/8/16. From Zapata Falls TH, went 2.5 mi to the North Fork Trail turnoff (carved into an aspen, at 10,600 ft, at the top of a hill). Went about 0.3 miles on a faint trail, then turned left and went uphill at a cairn to an even fainter trail, seeing an occasional cairn or two. The "trail" ends at a pink ribbon at the start of the west ridge. The right side and top of the beginning of the ridge are tree covered.. the left has a rocky slope. I'd recommend ascending the rocky slope near the beginning of the ridge where the rocks are big and solid, then staying nearish the top of the ridge just below the trees, then gaining the top of the ridge as the trees fade out, and continuing to the summit. My gps said about 10.5 miles total, though google earth abridged the route to 9.5. Road is a bit bumpy, but I'd just call it a rough 2wd.. doable by any car. Dry conditions. 
2016-10-02  Route: North Ridge via Lower Huerfano
Posted On: 2016-10-02, By: RyGuy
Info: The trail is totally dry and in amazing condition for fall! Also worth noting that the Aspens are at peak in the Huerfano basin. 
2016-09-26  Route: North ridge
Posted On: 2016-10-01, By: Rockhopper2
Info: Dry 
2016-09-26  Route: North ridge
Posted On: 2016-10-01, By: Rockhopper2
Info: Good to go, only a tiny few spots of snow, hope you like false summits, the views of the aspens, peaks and the dunes are amazing! I hiked it round trip from 2pm to 6 pm on Monday. Did I say the aspens are going off?! 
2016-08-28  Route: North Ridge
Posted On: 2016-08-28, By: JChitwood
Info: Hiked California today. No snow anywhere on the peak. I could see some snow on the south side of the Crestones but the Blanca group is dry. 
2015-06-18  Route: W. Slope
Posted On: 2015-06-18, By: illusion7il
Info: ALL CLEAR !!! ridge to PT 13577 and PT 13660 is all clear as well 
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2015-03-29  Route: east face
Posted On: 2015-03-29, By: taylorzs
Info: California is caked in snow and we had an excellent descent of the east face today. Overall, the Sangres are caked in snow and in a pretty solid melt freeze cycle. If you have the skills and desire to climb and/or ski big snow lines in the Sangres, they are going off right now. The next week or two are likely to be the peak ski mountaineering season for this range. Get on it! 
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2014-06-26  Route: North Ridge
Posted On: 2014-06-30, By: desertdog
Info: Dry the whole way. We added UN13,577 too. Beautiful views all around. Might be a good one to add onto a Lindsey climbing trip! 
2014-06-22  Route: Zapata
Posted On: 2014-06-22, By: Monster5
Info: Descended CA to Zapata Falls last night - no snow on W ridge or in tree-wack down to N Zapata trail. The trail is in good condition but a bit difficult to follow at the stream crossing (by headlamp). Ridge to connecting 13ers and 14ers dry. Talus slopes above Lily Lakes looked dry too. No techy snow gear used from Little Bear to CA. 
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2014-06-14  Route: Lower Huerfano Trail Route
Posted On: 2014-06-16, By: Than217
Info: Was extremely windy the entire route once on the ridge. Strongest wind I‘ve ever felt. The only snow was one patch directly at the ridge above the treeline. It looked easy enough to walk around it but I just climbed over it since it was only about 30 to 40 feet high wall of snow. Easy to climb over. No snow along the ridge on the way up except for one small patch around the summit of California peak itself. But this small patch encircling the peak was very small and required no effort to walk over. The summit itself was clear, no snow. Ellingwood Point and Blanca Peak both looked clear of snow on their summits. Very few snow patches everywhere but melting fast. 
2014-02-23  Route: West ridge
Posted On: 2014-02-24, By: ahrendse
Info: The trail towards Zapata Lake was either boot packed or dry all the way to the turn off for the west ridge. I took the west ridge up to UN13660A which was relatively dry with occasional patches of snow. The ridge to UN13577 was about the same but with more snow. Ridge to California peak was mostly dry. West ridge off California had much more snow, especially at and below tree line. Image 1- looking towards California from UN13577 Image 2- Crestones Image 3- LB/B/E 
2013-10-05  Route: North Ridge
Posted On: 2013-10-07, By: mrickers
Info: Route is 99% snow free...a little snow near the true summit, can be avoided if you want. Image 1: Typical ridge conditions Image 2: Huerfano / Lindsey Image 3: Blanca / Ellingwood / LB 
2013-06-02  Route: North Ridge
Posted On: 2013-06-02, By: Jay521
Info: A little bit of snow on the Zapata trail but no problem. Ditto on the summit. For the complete report from a week ago (but still valid), see Jed‘s TR link here 
2012-10-08  Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2012-10-09, By: JROSKA
Info: I didn‘t quite make it all the way, but close enough to post a conditions report. Only about 35 degrees near the top, but no snow whatsoever. I had microspikes but did not need them. Some of the nearby Sangre peaks had a dusting of snow on the north facing slopes but that‘s about it. 
2011-05-07  Route: North Ridge
Posted On: 2011-05-07, By: CarpeDM
Info: Went up California Peak today. Tried to stick to the summer trail, but there was more snow than expected in the trees (did some frustrating postholing), so we bushwhacked up a snow-filled gully to the ridge on the way up. We didn‘t bring snowshoes. And if I had to do it again, I probably still wouldn‘t bring them - just find a different way up. The ridge is long and the ups and downs are disheartening, but we made it. On the way down, we hiked to the saddle where the trail normally goes, but bushwhacked again straight back to the meadow in photo 1. Photo 1: about where the snow began in earnest and where the bushwhacking began. This is an open meadow where you encounter a fence. Photo 2: the gully that we went up. The snow ended somewhere around 12,000 ft, but then there were a few hundred feet of talus before the ridgeline - really sucked up some time. Photo 3: view of the ridge once we got up there. Photo 4: ridgeline leading up to California Peak. 

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