California Peak – 13,849 ft.
Date: May 25, 2013
Team: Christy, Dav, Ted, Curt Hokanson, Scott Rinckenberger
Route: East Face
After a successful few days in the Sawatch range, the Spyder Land yacht set sail south for the Sangres. Our first stop was California Peak, a massive mountain in the southern part of the range near the 14ers Blanca and Lindsey.
After mooring the RV at a pull off along Huerfano Creek, five of us rallied at 4:15am and headed up the road to the Zapata Trail, setting off on foot up towards the long north ridge of California. Once we gained the ridge near treeline, about a mile and a half of climbing over numerous false summits eventually brought us to the 13,849 foot summit. California Peak has incredible views of the Blanca group, Mount Lindsey, and Huerfano Peak– a Centennial 13er that we’ll have to ski as well.
The more southern position of these mountains can on some years result in an earlier melt (we did hike to the summit without putting on our ski boots), but this year, despite being pretty late in May, there was still a good amount of coverage down the big east bowl that drops from the summit.
The five of us had a great ski back down to Huerfano Creek, seeming to time the corn snow pretty close to perfect again (it’s just that time of year). A short bushwhack down to the valley floor had us walking back to the truck at the Zapata trailhead, and then down to the RV by 11am. It was a fun, fast, straightforward day. According to the Trimble map, the total mileage was 6.7 miles– a pretty quick jaunt considering what skiing these peaks can sometimes entail.
And while we were up high, we caught a good glimpse of the still-snow-covered Crestone group of the Sangres, which showed clearly that our next goal– Kat Carson, a.k.a Mount Columbia– to be looking quite good for skiing.
So it’s off to South Colony Lakes.
Thanks for reading,