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Summit of San Luis 14,014'

Summit of San Luis 14,014′

Peak #24: Monday April 4, 2016.

Elevation: 14,014’

Ski Route: Equity Mine, Colorado Trail, South Ridge

Roundtrip Mileage and Vertical: 19mi / 5,200′  (Lots of up and down!)

Ski Partners: Solo Day

Start Time: 830a
Reached Summit: 1pm (1 hour on the summit)
End Time: 430pm

Roger and Anna headed home. I really didn’t want to go home, and I had one more day to kill, so I decided to rehydrate, rest, and see if I could go get San Luis done north of Creede. I ate some dinner and pushed my way over Slumgullion Pass to sleep for the night. I arrived several miles below the Equity mine pretty late, so I readied my gear and decided to sleep without an alarm.

Not a bad choice. It was a clear night and temps hovered in the twenties for the night, so I rested well. The sun was coming up and after a full 7 hours of sleep, I woke at 7am and got going by 830.

Starting 2.5 miles below the summer trailhead added 5 more miles total on this one.

Starting 2.5 miles below the summer trailhead added 5 more miles total on this one.

No wind and amazing morning of warmth with the sun coming up, so I enjoyed the slog up the valley and eventually past the equity mine.

Skinning up the initial valley above the none is long and flat.

Skinning up the initial valley above the none is long and flat.

Nice frozen snow conditions, so I quickly made the pass up a drainage to the Colorado Trail, marked by large poles.

San Luis from the southwest.

San Luis from the southwest.

From the pass I could see San Luis, it was pretty far away, about 5 miles or so to be certain. Here is where I used my knowledge of climbing this peak many times to guide me along the correct path.

 

I pulled my skins and skied down into a basin with tons of beetle kill trees and then emerged in a meadow. I next had to climb up and traverse over to the southern aspect of San Luis’ south ridge.

Heading in the basin towards the beetle kill forest.

Heading in the basin towards the beetle kill forest.

Fortunately there wasn’t too much in the way of avalanche danger on north facing slopes and the loading was minimal with the exception of two places on the way. In those situations I went fast and passed under dangerous zones very quickly.

 

The sun was out all day and there was very little wind. Such an enjoyable time all alone out there.

 

Reasonable coverage on the south ridge.

Reasonable coverage on the south ridge.

Around 1pm or so I moved up the south ridge and made the summit. This was my 5th summit of San Luis in my Career, and the second from this direction.

Looks fun!

Looks fun!

I had been up here in 1999, 2005, 2011, 2015 and now. Last time I was up here I joined my great friend Lynn Bailey on his 14er finisher last October. I might have just been the first person back up here since then.

Such a gorgeous day on my 4th 14er in 2 days!

Such a gorgeous day on my 4th 14er in 2 days!

San Luis is so isolated, and you could feel that from the top of this very much so.

Looking to the east where I hiked from in October, pretty bare that direction, glad I wasn't trying to ski that way!

Looking to the east where I hiked from in October, pretty bare that direction, glad I wasn’t trying to ski that way!

Fortunately when it was time to ski the south ridge had plenty of coverage, and I was able to ski the entire peak.

My tracks as I descended the south ridge.

My tracks as I descended the south ridge.

On the way back I contoured my line out of this high long section, skinned back up through the beetle kill forest,

Crossing the last avalanche exposed section in the warm afternoon sun.

Crossing the last avalanche exposed section in the warm afternoon sun.

and then skied the basin and the road back to my car at the trailhead by 430pm.

Spring is definitely here!

Spring is definitely here!

I had a ton of confidence after the huge day on the triple the day before, I covered 19 miles in about 8 hours and better yet, I didn’t have to come back to this corner of the San Juans again. What a great day!

Once more summit shot from the timer.

Once more summit shot from the timer.

Thanks for Reading,

 

Dr. Jon