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The approach to Culebra Peak
(Culebra Peak)
Summary

Culebra Peak Elevation 14,047ft. (July 23, 2005) "Northwest Ridge", trail from Cielo Vista Ranch Road, this class 2 trail runs (5 miles rt. with 2,350ft. gain). The start of Saturday morning and this climb begain with waiting with other climbers at the Cielo Vista Ranch Gate. We were met at the gate by one of the ranch hands, and then processed to the ranch office to exchange money and waiver information. After finishing up the paperwork and receiving a map of the property we proceeded to the trailhead. The road to the trailhead is not difficult but high clearance would be recommended to get over some erosion barriers. Also low gearing is essential (so 4x4 low) so that you can climb of the steep grade of the road. From the TH, the trail goes up to a ridgeline and then along the ridgeline to the left or south. You can avoid extra climbing or elevation gain by staying to the right of the main drainage on the grassy slopes. By skirting around the to south side of this part of the ridgeline you can avoid any extra climbing.

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Trip Schedule break down
Friday 6:30PM -left work home.
  10:00PM -arrive in Ft. Garland.
Saturday 5:50AM -At Cielo Vista Ranch Gate.
  6:15AM -Exchange money and wavier at Ranch Office.
  6:33AM -leave TH.
  8:27AM -summit Culebra Peak.
  9:30PM -leave the summit.
  11:04PM -arrive back at TH.
  3:30PM -back at home.

Trying to find an establish trail on this peak is a little difficult, however it could be said that you can follow the over grown jeep road up to the ridgeline on the left of the large grassy slopes to the Northeast. Once on the ridgeline you could follow a sparsely cairned route along the ridgeline to the South. If you decide to take in the entire ridgeline you will loose about 400ft of elevation when the ridgeline dips before making a straight shot for the summit of Culebra. If you take this route you will no doubt pass a tall and slender cairn placed on the ridgeline.

The summit is fairly small and therefore you truly feel like you have summited something. From the summit there are good views to the North and the Blanca group and then to the South and Red Mountain. Also from this vantage point you can view the entire San Luis Valley below.

In closing, I finished off the fourteeners with Culebra. This peak, although not difficult, can not by said to be ugly; for the lush grassy slopes and undisturbed/lightly travel peak remains pristine.