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Tag: sangre de cristo mountains

Sangre de Cristo Mountains: Hermit Pass Peaks

Rito Alto Peak & Hermit Peak | Saturday & Sunday, September 4-5, 2021

After spending the last couple days hiking high points in Arizona and New Mexico, it was now time to start heading back home through Colorado, but of course I planned to hike at least a couple more peaks on the way back! As I followed the Sangre de Cristo Mountains north out of New Mexico and into Colorado I thought it would be a good time to hike some peaks in that range since it’s been quite a while since I’ve spent any time there. Originally, I was considering continuing my quest of the The Four Sacred Mountains of the Navajo by hiking Blanca Peak, but didn’t think that would be a good place to find much solitude now, especially in the middle of a holiday weekend. I think I’ll save the last two Sacred Peaks for a little road trip next summer. Instead, I decided to head up the road to Hermit Pass near Westcliffe so I could not only hike some high 13ers, but also so I could drive up to a pass that I had never been to before. The road was not difficult or dangerous, but it was very bumpy, slow and annoying. I found a place to spend the night above Horseshoe Lake and then spent the rest of the evening relaxing at camp and watching the clouds move through the sky as sunset approached.

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The Highest Peak in New Mexico: Wheeler Peak

Finishing the Four Corners State High Points | Friday & Saturday, September 3-4, 2021

After climbing Humphreys Peak on Thursday, and then spending this morning on Mount Taylor near Grants, it was now finally time to finish off the Four Corner state high points with Wheeler Peak in New Mexico. Following my short visit to the La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs near Santa Fe this afternoon, I continued north to Taos and then headed up to the trailhead in the Taos Ski Valley. I was hoping to find a place to spend the night along the way, but the Taos Ski Valley was not really my kind of place to visit and camping options were very limited. Luckily, just before leaving home I had thrown my backpacking gear into the Jeep, just in case, so I thought it would probably be a better idea to just backpack up to Williams Lake in the late afternoon and then hike to the summit of Wheeler Peak first thing in the morning. The weather forecast for the rest of the evening was looking good, so that’s what I decided to do. The hike up to Williams Lake is not very long, just under 2 miles with about 1,000 feet of elevation gain, so it didn’t take me long to reach the lake, but like the other hikes I had done earlier in the day, it was still very humid out.

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Mount Ouray & Old Chipeta Mountain

Friday & Saturday, August 25-26, 2017

After climbing my first two 13ers of the year last month and realizing that I really haven’t climbed any high Colorado 13ers yet, I thought it would be a good idea to get one in this summer. Since Mount Ouray (13,971) has been high on my list of peaks to hike for a while, I thought it would be a good one to go for this weekend. Mount Ouray is located at the very southern end of the Sawatch Range just off the Continental Divide and is the 5th highest 13er in the state, being just 29 feet short of 14,000 feet. I had actually wanted to climb this peak last year during my fall trip, but I didn’t end up making it there.

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The Serpent of The Sangres: Culebra Peak

Culebra Peak | Friday – Saturday, July 28-29, 2017

Last year after hiking my first 14er in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains I thought it would be nice to come back again this year for another one. After looking at my options earlier in the year I decided to try and get two permits to hike Culebra Peak (14,047) at the southern end of the range within Colorado. Culebra, which translates to serpent or snake in Spanish, is most likely named for the long snake-like ridge that leads up to its summit which is visible from the west. For those not familiar, Culebra Peak is the southernmost 14er in Colorado (only about 9 miles from the New Mexico border), the highest point in the Culebra Range, and is completely on private property which was originally part of a large Mexican Land Grant that dates back to 1844. This area of Colorado has a very unique and controversial history and I highly recommend that you check out this page on Summit Post to learn more about the timeline of this property. What pushed me over the edge to try for Culebra this year was the fact that the ranch it is located on has been for sale for a while and there is no guarantee the future owner of the property will continue to allow access. I figured that I’d like the opportunity to try and climb this peak now with it’s uncertain future.

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Backpacking The Great Sand Dunes

Friday – Sunday, June 2-4, 2017

This year I have been trying to cross things off my to-do list that have been on there for way too long. One of the items on my list that I have been looking at for a number of years was backpacking into The Great Sand Dunes. Earlier this year I decided that this was finally the year I was going to go for it! After some research it looked like June would be a good time to go. Even though Great Sand Dunes National Park is usually pretty busy in June since Medano Creek is typically at peak flow, I figured it wouldn’t matter much for us since we would be hiking and camping deeper in the dune field than most visitors go. Looking at my calendar, my only free weekend in June was the very first weekend (It’s going to be a busy month!), which was a little earlier than I would like to have gone, but since it was our only option that’s when we decided to go.

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