Summit of Culebra

Summit of Culebra – 14,047′

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Peak #8 : February 12, 2016

Elevation: 14,047’

Ski Route: West Ridge/ NW Face and Bowl.

Roundtrip Mileage and Vertical: 16mi/6000′ from park headquarters and different than the summer 4WD approach!

Ski Partners: Solo Summit

  • Start Time: 5:30 AM
  • Reached Summit: Noon (spent a half hour on the Summit)
  • End Time: 2:45 PM

It was an early morning as Ron Z and one of his other ranch hands (shoot I forgot his name, such a nice guy!) came and let me into the Cielo Vista Ranch property in darkness. Once we filled out the adequate paperwork, I started 530am from the Headquarters.  Broke Trail after the Snowmobile track after 4 miles or so.

The winter track took a southerly path before I was able to head back towards the north to rejoin the summer 4WD road at 4-WAY after several miles.

Gorgeous morning colors on the way up.

Gorgeous morning colors on the way up.

Skinning through Aspens at sunrise.

Skinning through Aspens at sunrise.

The morning light was awesome and I was greeted by a bright sunrise in the Aspens as I ascended in a completely calm winter’s morning to 4-Way.

4-WAY

4-WAY

Once at 4-Way, I knew that the summer 4WD road would take me to timberline and towards the peak to the summer trailhead.

Fallic Cairn.

Fallic Cairn.

I then broke trail all the way to the large cairn on the ridge. By ascending the southern flanks of the western bowl above the timber.

Awesome views to the north and down into the NW bowl.

Awesome views to the north and down into the NW bowl.

It was such a gorgous day in the southern Sangre de cristos, and other mountains came into view. As I neared the summit ridge Wheeler Peak, New Mexico’s highest peak was visible to the south, and the Blanca Massif and the Crestones were clear to the north. I could even see Pikes peak way far to the north!

Peak #8: Culebra Peak, 14,047' - February 12, 2016

Peak #8: Culebra Peak, 14,047′ – February 12, 2016

I was able to Summit by Noon, and this was my 4th summit of Culebra in my long Mountaineering career (1999, 2005, 2011, 2016). I got ready to ski and proceeded to skied down a thin south facing slope on the ridge where I met up with two guys (Rob and his friend), and It was rob’s last 14er.

The thin ribbon on the south side of the ridge gave me just enough snow to ski!

The thin ribbon on the south side of the ridge gave me just enough snow to ski!

I congratulated him an then I skied back down and was at the headquarters by 245pm. The west face/ NW Face powder was good!

Creamy turns back to timberline in the NW face of the bowl.

Creamy turns back to timberline in the NW face of the bowl.

I also got to see some huge elk in the trees about 2 miles above the park headquarters, what a treat and fine day on Colorado’s southernmost 14er, where it honestly felt like Spring was coming soon!

 

Thanks for reading-

 

Dr. Jon