August 25-26: San Luis Peak
School was starting the next week and work has been stressful, so we thought we would climb another 14er. This time we took aim on a much easier objective; San Luis Peak in the San Juan Mountains.
Kessler, Shaylee and I left late morning from Craig to drive to the Stewart Creek trailhead. The drive took longer than expected, so we didn’t get there until evening.
It was raining right when we started the approach. We made steady progress up the trail, especially since we didn’t take any rest in the rain. I was planning on camping somewhere near the highest beaver ponds shown on the topo map, but the trail has been recently rerouted leaving much of it near timberline to be high and dry.
Once at timberline, the creek was far below, but we weren’t worried since I could make a run down to water if needs be and there was still a lot of daylight available to backtrack if we didn’t find a campsite.
We ended up finding a nice little stream and a sheltered place in the willows well above timberline at 12,350 feet; about 100 feet above the trail and next to a lone tiny little stunted tree, about the highest little tree in the basin. The willows provided shelter and since it was a small semi-flat place in the middle of a steep slope, lightning danger would be minimal (less than in the trees around timberline). The ground was lumpy and the high altitude would make sleeping a little harder perhaps, but the views were great, the clearing skies meant that the stars would be in full view, and the sun would reach this place much sooner than it would back in the forest.
After a nice night (we could hear the wind at night, but the willows provided shelter and the wind didn’t blow the flaps of the tent much) we woke up just before sunrise. It was 34F. We took our time getting ready in the morning since it was a bit chilly and windy. We then hiked back down to the trail and started up the mountain under completely clear skies.
We made steady progress up the mountain and stopped to watch a marmot not far below the saddle. The rest of the climb went smoothly and we had the mountain to ourselves until we reached the summit at 10 am where a few other climbers had also just reached the summit from the other side.
We spent 35 minutes at the summit before heading back down. When we reached the summit of San Luis, the skies were clear, but by the time we left the summit there were some small puffy clouds. We hiked back to camp and packed up under skies that were getting cloudier as time went on.
We headed down the mountain and eventually the rain and thunder came around noon, but we were well below timberline and back in the thick forest. It rained most of the way down, but that didn’t bother us much. It was a nice little getaway.
Beautiful day and Hike. Thanks CFI for working on the trail.
Climbed this peak with Dustin Kelley. Weather good, long drive in on dirt road. Straight forward relatively easy as far as 14ers go. #46 Colorado 14er with 12 to go! First 14er of this season...slow start.
Hiked up from the West Creek Trailhead, via the Colorado Trail and the south ridge. This was my 30th 14er. Was joined by Rich Woessner, his 22nd 14er and my 6 month old Golden Retriever, Loki - his 3rd 14er.
The end of a long week in Colorado. My tenth peak, over 27,000' of vertical at the peak and over 70 miles on return to the trailhead. I can't wait for next year..
This was a great day despite the wind. The beginning of the traverse from Baldy Alto is a little grungy, but otherwise ok. The traverse looks longer than it is. Didn't see anyone else the entire day. I headed to Stewart afterwards.
Nice hike, more up and down than I expected!
From the West Willow Creek 4x4 parking, nice hike, beautiful scenery and views.
Got a late noon start after the long drive to the TH. Made it to the summit just before 4, which was an island of clear sky surrounded by T-storms. Made it back to the TH by dusk and drove home in the dark, watching out for the many elk. First time I saw a beaver, which made it worth it. Challenging for being such a long hike. Gravel pile of a summit isn't seen till almost the end. Feels very remote.
I only hiked this one because it was on a damn list. Up Yawner gullies in an OK cirque of early season snow. The butresses on the neighboring 13ers, though, look much cooler.
30 miles of dirt road just to get to the trailhead. The hike is fairly long as well, 12 miles round trip. The valley is full of stepped beaver ponds, and is beautiful. Didn't see another person all day.
First 14er and the first time using Summit Post as a trip planning resource. Trail head status and the numerous Trip Reports really made this an enjoyable experience. No surprizes / walked right up to the summit. Trip highlight - Love those Cochetopa Hills!
Took up a 14er virgin for a successful trip. Great day.
Quick hike up to the summit of San Luis from Stewart Creek TH. After summiting San Luis, traversed to the summit of Organ Mountain. Nice hike, beautiful weather, gorgeous views.
We found some delightful, un-ruined camping off of the FS road for a great night's sleep. In the AM, shortly after leaving camp for the Stewart Creek TH a mountain lion crossed the road right in front of my Jeep! The scenery along this route was better than anticipated. I loved the creek and the beaver ponds. There was still a lot of snow in the gully above timber line prior to hitting the steep uphill to the saddle. Higher on the peak, the snow was minimal. Beautiful day. I was dragging a$$ a bit, but enjoyed this plenty. After a quick lunch on the summit we descended, had a celebratory beer at the Jeep, cleaned up, and headed back to the Front Range.
Climbed from West Willow Creek and a high camp at 12,500. Ben, Jordan and I continued over Baldy Alto, to Stewart and back...
This was a short trip from the adjacent saddle the Colorado Trail traverses over.