Peak(s):  Culebra Peak  -  14,047 feet
Date Posted:  07/19/2019
Modified:  07/24/2019
Date Climbed:   07/19/2019
Author:  Eugene DeMayo
 A perfect day on an excellent peak   

This is one of my favorite 14ers ever! It was a perfect blue-sky day with no wind and no threat of thunderstorms all day. There was no snow on the road up or on the climbing route.

The Cielo Vista Ranch manager, Carlos DeLeon, was professional, punctual and courteous to all. The day before the climb he stopped by the camping area at the gate and was concerned that our 4WD camper was too tall, at 9.5 feet, to make it under the overhanging branches on the very steep road to the trailhead. He offered to take us up to the trailhead in his ATV to decide for ourselves. After seeing the road I agreed with him that we were too tall for the section from the Four-Way parking area to the 4WD parking area.

Carlos opened the gate at 6 AM sharp the next morning and then, after a check-in and briefing, we drove up to the Four Way parking area and hitched a ride for the last mile up with one of the 25 hikers allowed on the peak that day. We were hiking by 6:40 AM. There is no trail so you get to tromp through the beautiful tundra flowers until you reach the rocks. After years of avoiding walking on the tundra I felt like I was walking through someone's garden flowers most of the way! There is almost no erosion from hikers and so no poor footing all the way to the top. I imagine that most 14ers were this nice before they became so popular to climb. In addition to a plethora of wildflowers we were treated to seeing dozens of nesting American Pipits, a handful of Brown-capped Rosy Finches, the usual Pikas and a dozen or more of the most unconcerned Yellow-bellied Marmots I've encountered. We could walk within a few feet of them without concerning them.

This is a fabulous peak and well worth the entrance fee to be able to experience it.


19564_01
Deadwood on Culebra Peak "Pipit Meadow"
19564_02
My Shadow with Moon over San Luis Valley, Culebra Peak


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Culebra Peak's False Summit


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Sky Pilot (Polemonium viscosum) wildflowers on Culebra Peak


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The route up the false summit
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Yellow-bellied Marmot


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Culebra Peak after the false summit (photo by Mike)


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Me at the top!


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View West from Culebra Peak Summit with Red Mountain on left


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Wildflowers - Alpine Sunflowers, Moss Campion and Cinquefoil


19564_10
Mike with friendly Yellow-bellied Marmots


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Yellow-bellied Marmot (photo by Mike)






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

So Cool!
08/22/2019 13:50
Excellent pictures! I love the final picture of the marmot!



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