Peak(s):  Culebra Peak  -  14,047 feet
Red Mtn A  -  13,908 feet
Date Posted:  07/24/2012
Modified:  07/30/2013
Date Climbed:   07/21/2012
Author:  djkest
Additional Members:   carson_h, Chaos Penumbra, trailsntales, AeroFaze
 Snake Charmer  

Culebra Peak (14,047')
Red Mountain (13,908')

Route: from the "Four Way" lower start; "Roach Route" up and "Ridge Route" down
8.5 miles, 4300' net elevation gain

Culebra Peak is a stumbling block for many "peak baggers", due to the cost and the limited access. One of my co-workers (who again had to bail this year) described Culebra as "Captain Ahab's White Whale". I attempted to organize a big group of 12 people who all had a desire to summit this unique peak. We had cancellations, adds, lost some slots, picked up a slot, and generally mixed things up. In the end, we had 3 people in our group whom I had never met, for a total of 11.

I found Culebra to be a unique and special summit. There are things about being on private land on a private mountain that make it different. It was a far cry from my experience on Grays Peak the week before; sharing the summit with 200 rambunctious climbers.
As with many places in Colorado, mere photographs can't really capture the feeling you get hiking around this area; suffice it to say that it's pristine, beautiful, and raw. Evidence of animal life was everywhere, unlike anything I'd ever seen before.

I know what you may be thinking: Culebra is pretty boring and there are already a bajillion TRs- why should I read yours? Well, I did take a ton of photos with a good camera, stitch 10 different panoramas together, and then process them all in Adobe lightroom. If that sort of thing interests you, take a look. I am not a professional, and can't match the artistry of some members here.
{update: I am beefing up this TR with more photos since a lot of people don't like to click on links}
** Full blog post here **
We have reached the upper lot:

Yay bushwhacking up the roach route:

For victory just head up from here, right over her head.

The only possible reaction to the biggest cairn in Colorado:

A very convincing false summit (I named it "false summit alpha") looms in the distance: (3 shot panorama)

Joey is getting near the top! Notice the smile.

Group Photo 1: (before Red Mountain)

Pano looking south from Culebra peak at the Vermejo Group (includes Purgatoire and Alamasito)

All that it takes to climb Culebra ($100 USD)

Culebra Peak as seen from the summit of Red Mountain (4-shot panorama)

Group Photo 2: (after Red Mountain)

Cheesy staged photo near the "cairn of cairns"

Milbert's Tortoiseshell Butterfly:

Blue Grouse:

Did I mention Marmots? They were everywhere near the summit.

Panorama taken from the "four way" area. Culebra at extreme left.

Free advice:
(1) Unless you are terrified of exposure, you should stick to the ridge proper once you attain it. It's the best way to go, and people in our party tried both ways. The boulder hopping below the ridge is pretty lame. TRUST ME on this.

(2) The "Roach Route" is by far the superior ascent route to use. It's the most direct and will save you from doing any talus hopping prior to reaching the ridge.

(3) There are several false summits, the last of which is extremely convincing. Prepare yourself for major dissapointment. From the top of "False summit alpha", it's another 5 minutes or so, though the difficulty eases.

(4) If the weather is holding, take your time! You paid for it.

 Comments or Questions

Nice report
07/24/2012 21:17
I am doing Culebra in a couple weeks. Thanks for the report, I am looking forward to it!


Excellent Effort
07/24/2012 22:27
Great TR. Fun pictures and I think the work you did stiching photos really paid off.


07/26/2012 15:18
Nicely Captured Report and nice pics!

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