Peak #8 : February 12, 2016
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.
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.
Once at 4-Way, I knew that the summer 4WD road would take me to timberline and towards the peak to the summer trailhead.
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.
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!
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.
I congratulated him an then I skied back down and was at the headquarters by 245pm. The west face/ NW Face powder was good!
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-