Peak(s):  Trinchera Pk  -  13,517 feet
Date Posted:  05/14/2018
Date Climbed:   05/14/2018
Author:  psa954hiker
Additional Members:   JROSKA
 Trinchera from Blue Lakes Campground  

Now I understand the appeal of 13ers: you get the same beauty as with 14ers, but without the crowds! We had the whole mountain to ourselves and never saw another person. In fact, we were the first ones to sign the summit register since Sept 2017 (we climbed it May 14, 2018)!

Main takeaways from this trip: 1 ) This is a great early season conditioning hike since it gains 3000 ft and is all class 1 or 2 (if you start at the Blue Lakes Campground TH). This year the snow was melting off early and we had to ascend only one snowfield, which was easily done with microspikes. 2) The views of Spanish Peaks, several 14ers, and long ridges are as good as any view from a 14er.

Stats: 3.2 miles to summit, 3000 ft gain, 3 hrs 30 minutes ascent with plenty of breaks.

Now on to some photos and descriptions...

We started at the beginning of FR436, parking our car just up the road a bit from Blue Lake Campground so we didn't have to pay a parking fee.


The forest road (our trail) had several downed trees and snowbanks across it. Not passable by vehicles as of yet. Near treeline we got our first glimpse of Trinchera Peak.


We left the road to head straight up to the summit over tundra, dodging some willows early on. One could also continue on the road all the way to the summit ridge as an alternate. This would probably avoid steeper terrain, but also add about a mile one way (my guess).

Caption Here

The Spanish Peaks stay in view the whole time.


For mid-May there was remarkably little snow. We went straight up a snowfield right above us in the picture, which covered maybe 150 feet. Two of us did it in microspikes, one with just a trekking pole.


The many-cairned summit came into view. It was a gorgeous day and we stayed on the summit almost an hour. Thankful for one of the larger cairns that had been built up as a windbreak. That's also where the register tube was found, along with a jar of some emergency supplies left by a fellow hiker, and this engraved stone from a 1925 hiking party.



We had a nice glissading opportunity on the way back.


All in all, a great day in the mountains. Try a 13er sometime and enjoy. I'd take Trinchera over Bross any day!

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions

05/15/2018 11:50
Great early season idea! Nice job.


You Gotta Love the Cairn Garden
06/06/2018 08:41
I remember wondering how many Texans it took to build all those.
Nice job avoiding 14er crowds!
Did you see any bighorn?
Thanks for this:
"The forest road (our trail) had several downed trees and snowbanks across it. Not passable by vehicles as of yet."
I'm still considering a trip up there for some adjacent 13ers this month. This helps because I'm lazy and want to drive the road again.


No bighorn
06/06/2018 21:56
No Matt, we didn't see any sheep or goats. That would have been icing on the cake! Hope the road gets cleared for you. An ATV or high clearance Jeep might get around the blockages but if you have a stock vehicle it would be tough.

Third Time the Charm!
10/24/2018 18:27
We had been run off twice by weather in 2017. September 15, 2018 we tried again - PERFECT weather! We drove up the jeep road and approached from the saddle. From here it's a very easy hike, a little over a half mile. This route includes a somewhat scary exposed run up a loose, rocky, steep cut. The rock on the ridge here is slate and much is loose. I guess I'd call it a Class 3 in that spot. Upclimbing is always easier than downclimbing - in this case coming down was spooky for me as a relative non-high-angle dude. But that's it - the rest is a nice leisurely walk.

The coolest part is the giant dinosaur or frog or whatever that was formed as a cairn on top. Looking off to the southern aspect we saw a group of perhaps fifteen goats. We saw goats on one of our other trips as well on the summit off to the east of the saddle.

If you go up there, don't miss checking out the old mine. (No! Don't go IN it; just look in!) The geology is interesting - the huge flat slate slabs lining the sides and top of the entrance. And an old diesel unit just below the entrance. The presence of this mine could make water in the area contaminated with heavy metals - another thing to think about, and thank the old timers for leaving their messes behind?

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