Peak(s):  San Luis Peak  -  14,014 feet
Date Posted:  07/14/2009
Modified:  07/15/2009
Date Climbed:   07/12/2009
Author:  dcbates80911
 Beautiful day on San Luis  

Team: Solo
Distance ~ 13.0 miles
Route: Stewart Creek

San Luis is remote!!! Took me close to four hours to get to the trailhead with about 45 minutes traveling on a forest service road.

My original plan was to do the Decalibron. Three weeks ago we were forced to turn back after my son quickly showed signs of altitude sickness. Figured I would get them done, but wasn't too excited. Thursday night, I started to think of something different (and less crowded). Redcloud/Sunshine or Uncompahgre became options. I contacted Zach (Eatinhardtack) to see if he could go, but couldn't. Finally, I started to review a trip report on San Luis and it became my goal.

Camping at the trailhead was not bad. Only other people was a group of three camped out in the parking lot. At 11:30PM I awoke to a big, loud diesel truck that chose to drive in and around the small parking lot. Then awoke again to a 3:00am rain shower that entered the open windows, hitting my face. By the time 5:00 came around, I had second thoughts about getting out of bed, but did anyway. I packed up and hit the trail at 5:35.

The first four miles were pretty gentle. Only complaint was the wet grasses and willows that had me drenched by tree line. When I started it was pretty cloudy, but cleared up quite nicely. Everything warmed up and I dried out.

SPOT Tracks

Sun appears in the valley

Can always find a fixer upper

Along the way, I looked at all the wild flowers in bloom. This is when I want Greenhouseguy with me. He gave some good lessons last year, which I tried to remember.

As I approached tree line, I examined what I thought was my goal. Something didn't look right, but I kept thinking this peak in front of me was San Luis. It wasn't. I don't feel too bad now after running into other people on descent asking the same question.

This is not San Luis

The most difficult was up to this saddle

Looking back on the valley - Very green

On the saddle, first view on San Luis about 800 vertical feet left

The last part of this climb was slow, but steady. Only complaint was the breeze the cooled me a little. I made a stop to put on a layer and was passed by a man and his dog. Also, I looked back and could see the three who had camped next to me making the saddle. Started to move again only stopping for short spurts until reaching the summit. The views were awesome. It was kind of hazy to the East, but North and West were fairly clear.

Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre - I believe that is Sneffels on the left

Tried to take my own picture and decapitated myself

I spent quite a bit of time up there. The man who passed me was 70 years old and from Durango (sorry - I am bad with names). I hope I am still doing this at 70. The other three had joined us and we quickly found out we were all part of Along for the trip was JB99, Centrifuge, and I believe mtnpearl. I gave mtnpearl my camera to take a real summit shot of me. She continued and got some good candid ones of us talking.

L-R: Centrifuge (taking Picture), Mr. Durango, Me, and JB99

JB99 and I trying to pick out the different peaks

We all talked, ate, and watched the weather. The clouds were consolidating and it was time to go. We headed down separately, but met up again at the trailhead. The last couple miles were pretty warm with the sun.

Heading back down

Elephant Head Flower

At the trail head, we said our goodbyes and went on our ways. This was a fun climb and relatively easy. Weather turned out great and it was nice to put some names to faces. San Luis was a great remote, yet gentle hike. My only suggestion would to bring the mosquito spray.

 Comments or Questions

Beautiful Day & Pics!
07/15/2009 02:59
What a beautiful day you were treated to Dave! Super nice pics...I forget you have the sweet lens! PM me with other hikes on your radar for the summer - and heck fall for that matter - I‘m looking to grab 1-3 fall climbs in as well if we can have weather like we did on LP last Oct! As for summer - we are looking at Longs and Holy Cross in August likely the 2nd 1/2...KG


You‘re right...
07/15/2009 18:58
Greenhouseguy has some great plant and flower lessons! I think I learn something new everytime I hike with him.

Nice write up, and I like your self portrait I have to laugh cause I have so many pictures just like that...although sometimes all I get is my head and sky. (Maybe if I combine them.... )


Great TR
07/26/2009 19:54
Thanks for the TR. I‘m up here in Montrose right now and my friends and I have decided against Sneffels (after a grueling day on Diente yesterday) and are excited for a nice, gentle hike up San Luis tomorrow I hope we have as nice a day as you did earlier this month! See you back in the Springs soon!

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