Peak(s):  Culebra Peak  -  14,047 feet
Date Posted:  06/25/2006
Date Climbed:   06/25/2006
Author:  talusmonkey
 Culebra Peak/Red Mountain - Std Route - group  

This Culebra trip was the brainchild of Wyo_MtnMan. Wyo proposed this trip back on April 3rd. The trip quickly took off with amazing interest from many members. Skasgaard assumed the coordinator role with the Cielo Vista Ranch. Finally, June 25th arrived!

The final count of people signed up for this trip was 22. Many chose to camp at various locations north of the Cielo Vista Ranch. Eight of us stayed at the San Luis Inn in the small town of San Luis (the oldest town in Colorado). The San Luis Inn group included TalusMonkey, Wyo_MtnMan, Jeff_F, CODave, BillyGoatGruff, Husker01, Troy@smv, and swturner. This was a rowdy bunch...


We highly recommend the San Luis Inn to future Culebra climbers. It was clean, remodelled and had a hot tub! We ate dinner, had a few drinks and went to bed early.

On Sunday morning we met in the lobby at 0520, as agreed. There was quite a little lightning show going on above Culebra and we worried that our trip might be affected. However, we loaded up and headed to the ranch in the growing morning light. Luckily, the lightning subsided and the summits, although still in cloud, appeared safe.

We arrived at the ranch gate about 0545 - just in time to follow other vehicles in as the gate was opened by the ranch staff. After some quick introductions in the parking lot, we filed into the ranch office and paid our fees for Culebra (and Red Mountain, for those doing the combo). Carlos gave us some simple instructions for the road and we piled into the 4x4s for the drive up to the upper trailhead at 11,650.

Several Culebra climbers at the ranch office at 0615. Front row: Dan, Jeff (Jeff_F), Scott (swturner), Dave (CODave), Scott (Wyo_MtnMan). Back row: Sarah (SarahT), Troy (Troy@smv), Shawn (Husker01), Clint (Billy_Goat_Gruff), David (TalusMonkey), Randy (congrats Randy on bagging your last 14er!):


After everyone rigged up their gear, we headed off for Culebra. The climb from the trailhead to the 13,350 high ridge northwest of Culebra is on a gentle grass and rock covered slope, and the front group managed to gain this 1,700 in about 1 hour. After a short break, we dropped 150 feet to a saddle and began a class 2 boulder hopping climb along Culebra's northwest ridge. We gained the false summit at 13,900 and cruised on over to the true summit less than half a mile away. Unfortunately, it was somewhat breezy and the summits of both Culebra and Red Mountain were shrouded in cloud.

Because of the logistical realities of a 20 person mass climb, climbers naturally formed into groups during the climb. Most of the Red Mountain option climbers were in a strong group which reached the Culebra summit at 0820 - only 1h50m after starting at 0630. We rested and took photos, despite the drifting cloud cover on Culebra.

The first team on Culebra (Left to right: CODave, Dan, TalusMonkey, BillyGoatGruff, Wyo_MtnMan, Husker01, SarahT):


After greeting additional arrivals on the Culebra summit, the Red Mountain option group began their 600 foot descent to the Culebra/Red Mountain saddle. This involved easy class 2 talus/boulder hopping. On the other side of the saddle we realized that Red Mountain's north ridge had appeared deceptively gentle. The 400 foot climb to Red Mountain's summit was actually a steep (but thankfully well switchbacked) scree and dirt climb.

We reached the summit of Red Mountain and again congratulated each other, had refreshments and took photos. The Red Mountain option group. Left to right: CODave, Husker01, Dan, JCWhite, TalusMonkey, SarahT, Wyo_MtnMan, Randy:


Although it was still early and we had made excellent time to both Culebra and Red Mountain, there was a consensus among our group that it was time to make a hasty return to Culebra and descent back to the upper trailhead. The first of our group returned to the vehicles at the upper TH at about 1100. As all of the hikers returned, we rested, exchanged farewells and departed to return to homes in various parts of Colorado and other states.

Congratulations everyone on summiting Culebra. This trip was a great opportunity for members to meet and form new friendships. Many of us will hike together again!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

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