Culebra Peak 14,047′ North Face 5/2/09

Joe and myself had been talking about trying to get down to the San Luis Valley since January. We had talked to the ranch in Februrary and had a green light for the 1st week in March, but with no snow on the mountain we decided it was best to hold off. $200 each for a winter trip is alot to pay for bad snow.

Things changed when the upslopes started rolling in, in April. We had good beta from Joes trip to the Crestones the weekend before. The North Face was in. A few calls were made and a date was set.

Joining Joe Brannen and myself were Caleb Wray (RoanMtnMan), Derek Dreschsel(drex27) and Jarrett Luttrell(EasyRider). We were going to meet at the south gate the night before and get a nice early start of 6am

Joe EXTREME Camping 🙂

Dangerous Oatmeal Making

On the trail/road

Up the Road

At the Four Way we got a good look at the climb to the ridge. The cloud deck seemed to be staying high so on we pressed.

Four Way

The Hike (by Caleb)


Things started getting ugly as we got closer to the ridge.

Nearing the ridge (By Joe)

Getting Closer (by Joe)

Dude You Look Like Mount Washington (by Joe)

On the summit finally. Not being able to see we mistook the 1st False summit for the actual summit. Caleb’s and my altimeter both said we were at 14070. We almost skied from the wrong spot

The Ski Ninjas (by Caleb)

On to the skiing. The photos can speak volumes of what it was like.

You can see me standing on the summit (by Caleb)

Turns 1 (By Joe)

Turns 2 (By Joe)

Turns 3 (By Joe)

Turns 4 (By Joe)

Turns (by Caleb)

Waiting to downclimb the cliffout

The line is blocked by a 50 foot cliff about 2/3 of the way down. The skiing above this was really wild with vertigo on many turns from the whiteout conditions. The couloir was getting cross loaded by 40 mph winds. It was really fun.

Hmmmm (by Joe)


Both Joe and myself carried rando ropes and harnesses but it was so cold nobody wanted to set up a rappel. Note to the next party, RAPPEL IT!

Sketchy (by Joe)

Hmmm (by Joe)

After the cliff there was another small step

Step 2 (by Joe)

Joe Takes a different route

Getting Thru the 2nd Step (by Jarrett)

The snow down to the lake was really nice

Jarrett ripping it (by Joe)

The skin out was horrible. My skins kept coming off every few steps. It ended up taking about an hour to go up 100 feet up. The snow below 11,400 was very collapsible. The out was one of the hardest I’ve ever been through but this day was truly rewarding.

OUT (by Joe)

The route


We ended up going 12 miles and 5400 vert

From Google Earth


Some people have said this hasn’t been skied. Others say they think it has but they don’t actually know anyone that did it.

I personally think it’s a 1st descent because it’s only been offered as a winter style trip 3 times, and the other 2 groups didn’t get it. The Sangres don’t hold snow very long and by the time they open for summer climbing that route would be in bad shape. The top section was in bad shape and it had snowed 4 feet 2 weeks ago.

I’d say we’re claiming it under this frame of thinking and if someone steps up and show the documentation then it’s theirs. There arent any tr’s on the web soooo…….

It seems after further research that a group from Taos may have skied this line around 1980.

One comment

  1. I really like your writeup man, that was a sick day. I am so stoked for the Weminuche!

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