OverviewThese two peaks are separated by a half mile and a minimum 336 ft. drop on the ridge between them. However, they share the same approach and are usually climbed together. They even look alike, from the west. Therefore, I have combined them on this peak page. Cyclone and Carbonate rise 2000 feet above the Cyclone Creek drainage, to the east. The climb and the descent are not as easy as it looks, because of a long, dense forest of willows on the approach, and an unending slope of unstable rocks above. But if you like solitude, good views of Sawatch fourteeners, and a chance to bag four peaks in a day, these are your mountains. Between 2001 and 2003, an average of 14 people per year signed the registers on Carbonate and Cyclone.
Carbonate Mountain is the higher summit, at 13,663' elevation. It lies directly west of Tabeguache Peak, in the southeastern section of the expansive Sawatch Range. Many of Carbonate's close neighbors are documented on SummitPost. Click on Nearby Mountains and Rocks, to the left. Cronin Peak, three humps to the north, is considered its "parent" (closest higher mountain). Cronin Peak was formerly known as North Carbonate. In this case the parent peak was named after the child! So... you can think of Carbonate as the ultimate "low-carb" mountain.
Cyclone tops out at 13,596', a half mile to the northwest of Carbonate. Cyclone Mountain must have been named for its conical shape and swirled appearance, from some angles. See photos.
Getting ThereThe shortest approach is from the Cyclone Creek trail.
Cyclone Creek Trailhead: The trailhead at 10,760' elevation provides access to Carbonate Mountain and Cyclone Mountain from the south and west. Drive 6 miles west on U.S. 50 from Poncha Springs. Turn north onto Chaffee County Road 240, which is well marked. Drive a little over 8 miles to the ghost town site of Shavano, also well marked. You will need a high clearance vehicle, but not four wheel drive, to make the last four miles of this road. Nice campsites are available along the road.
These mountains may also be climbed in combination with North Carbonate (Cronin Peak) or Tabeguache Peak. See those peak pages for various approaches.