Culebra Peak & Red Mountain
Date:July 18, 2011
Elevation:Culebra Peak - 14,047'
Red Mountain - 13,908'
Trail:Roach Route up - Ridge Route down
Distance:6.69 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:3,618 ft
Difficulty:Class 2
Time it took us:6.5 hrs with birthday celebration!
($100 Culebra - $50 Red Mountain)

Last year for Lindsey's birthday we hiked Mt. Lindsey. We decided to keep the tradition and picked another Sangre de Cristo mountain to hike this year. We decided to hike Culebra Peak. Culebra is the only privately owned 14er in Colorado. In order to hike it, you must make a reservation in advance and pay to hike. They usually book on weekends, but if there is enough interest, they'll let people hike during the week. Lucky for us there were enough people wanting to hike on Monday the 18th, so we added our group of 4. The max number of people allowed on the mountain in one day is 25 people. We camped out at the ranch gate Sunday night, grilled up a wonderful dinner and relaxed. The gate opens at 6:00am, everyone signs liability waivers, gets a briefing, then hikes! We usually start hiking by 5:30-6:00am, so this was a late start for us at 6:39am. The mountain has limited hikers on it, so there isn't really a trail to follow most of the way. We followed a road for the first 1/4 mile, then we started up a big grassy slope. We then followed the ridge all the way to the summit where we had a fun birthday party that involved mini bundt cakes and canned champagne! Travis and I decided to hike Red Mountain while we were there, so we took off for the 1 mile traverse to the peak. It's one of Colorado's top 100 peaks. After Red Mountain we hiked back towards Culebra, skirted the summit, then headed back along the ridge. We stayed higher on the ridge this time so we could see the massive cairn that everyone talks about. It was definitely big! When we got to the cairn we started getting pelted with hail, so we took a couple quick pictures, then continued off the mountain. Travis and I made it back to the car expecting Beth and Mariah to be there, but they weren't! We tried calling and Travis went out scouting the trail. After about an hour - they made it back! They took a wrong drainage off Culebra and ended up hiking more than they planned. Even with their detour, we all had a great time and are looking forward to the next birthday 14er!

Base camp at the gate to the ranch

Pre-hike dinner: Tri-tip steak, potatoes and asparagus.

Morning briefing by Carlos

Lindsey, Beth and Mariah starting up the trail!

The trail disappears and hikers go up the green slope

Marmots warming up in the morning sun

We diagonaled across a rock slide

Low clouds moved through all morning

Another marmot on the lookout

On the ridge headed towards Culebra's summit

Lindsey headed up the last pitch to the summit

The valley on the back side of the mountain

Group summit birthday party!

Strike a pose!

Looking at the route to Red Mountain

Summit shot on Red Mountain with Culebra in the background

Hiking back towards Culebra - Red Mountain in the back

Beautiful wildflowers

Travis by the mondo cairn

Lindsey dwarfed by the cairn!

Hiking back down the grassy slopes

Finally on a trail again almost to the car

GPS + Google Earth view of our route

Final GPS elevation profile