#316 / 13,405' Mariquita Peak

Quadrangle › El Valle Creek, Trinchera Peak
Summit Location › Peak Route Icon N 37° 14' 15.40", W 105° 09' 09.92" (Not Field Checked)

Peak Summary

Mariquita Peak lies north of De Anza Peak B in the southern Sangre de Cristo. While the De Anza summit appears to lie within the boundaries of the Cielo Vista Ranch, Mariquita Peak does not according to the map source we have. Mariquita is not on government land however and hence, is privately owned. A portion of the peak may be a part of the Forbes-Trinchera Blanca Ranch which is now owned by Louis Bacon. Much of that land has been placed into a "conservation easement" managed by US Fish & Wildlife. We do not currently know if the current property owners allow access to Mariquita, therefore climb this peak at your own risk. Accessed from either the north or the south along the central ridge joining all these peaks on the El Valle quad, Mariquita is a Class 2 summit with a moderately rocky approach from either direction. 4WD is advised for access either from Whiskey Pass or the Purgatoire Campground and FR 437. You can learn more about this area at the following links, one of which contains some interesting history of the area. The third link leads to a page where you can select a pdf link to a map of both the northern and southern sections of the ranch.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanmac/2012/06/15/hedge-fund-billionaire-louis-bacon-to-donate-90000-acres-for-colorado-conservation-area/#3a17e9b778f5

http://www.trincheraranch.com/the-ranch/

https://cpw.state.co.us/things...

Mariquita Peak via Mt. Maxwell Route

Class 2
Peak Icon Peak Icon
Medium Day // Take a Lunch
Climbed with Mount Maxwell + "De Anza B"
RT From Mt. Maxwell Trailhead: 4.6 mi / 2,675'
From Mount Maxwell: 1.00 mi / 665' (One-Way)
  • Trailhead
    • Mt. Maxwell Trailhead

      This trailhead could be primarily used for access to Trinchera and Cuatro summits along with Mt. Maxwell and possibly Mariquita Peak and De Anza B. From Walsenburg, drive west on US 160 and take the turnoff for La Veta, on SH12. Drive through the quaint, small town and continue south toward Cucharas Pass. This very pleasant road takes you through gambel oak terrain, into ponderosa forest and eventually more typical higher elevation aspen and conifers. If you do road bicycling, this is a great ride! Drive on through the little townsite of Cuchara, past the turnoff for the old Cuchara Valley Ski area and continue over Cucharas Pass. About 6 miles south of the pass, the highway makes a sharp turn back to the NW to get around North Lake. It then turns back south. After that turn to the south, watch for the turnoff for FR34 to the Purgatoire Campground on your right (west). There are actually two possible turns to this road in case you miss the first. Drive west and NW up the improved, graded dirt road. About .6 mile before the campground, or 3.75 miles from the highway, watch for the turnoff for FR437 to the left. Head up this 4WD road which will become increasingly rocky, but not too difficult. (Last time we were on it was 2004.) The road switchbacks relentlessly for most of its 3 mile length to gain elevation. There's a good campsite at about 11,500 feet we estimated and then towards the end of the road, it flattens out some for some other camping possibilities. FR34 ends at the Purgatoire campground.


      Camping

      As mentioned above, there's a good at-large spot on the side of FR437 at about 11,500 ft. or higher and then further up where the road levels out around treeline, there's some other possibilities. You can also camp at the Purgatoire Campground, which is a National Forest fee area. There are about two dozen campsites, some in forest and some in open meadow. The sites have tables & fire rings. There are vault toilets and a hand pump for water. This used to be called "The Potato Patch" campground. Campground elevation is 9,800 ft.


      Campsite Locations

      Purgatoire Campground › N 37° 15' 16.58", W 105° 06' 33.85"
      9,750 elevation
    Approach Map Photos
    • From Mount Maxwell


      The mileage and elevation gain estimates are based on assuming a start from 11,600 ft. With 4WD, you can actually drive a little farther than that. From wherever you manage to park, continue up the road until it ends, then work your way up west to a bench of dwarf trees that will then open to the broad, lower, east ridge of Maxwell. Follow the ridge upward. It will progressively narrow. Much of the hiking will be over grassy tundra, but that will give way to more of an embedded rock - tundra mix and finally chiprock as you near the summit. A couple hundred feet below the summit, there will be some rocky outcrops that can be easily avoided on the south side of the ridge. Nothing need exceed Class 2. Time from car park to summit was well under two hours. In 2004, there was a small summit cairn and the remnants of a forest service sign, probably intended to mark the terminus of Federal land. Hiking north from here will keep you within San Isabel NF. If you turn south from Maxwell, you will immediately be off national forest land and will be entering private property. Do so at your own risk. Provision of the following information is not to construed as an endorsement to violate the private property rights of the landowners.

      On the west side of the main ridge, that property is part of the Forbes - Trinchera Blanca Ranch which is held as a "conservation easement" and managed by Colorado Parks & Wildlife. We do not know who owns the land on the east side of the ridge. It appears to us that the only people welcome on the Trinchera Blanca Ranch are paying guests, such as hunters. No mention is made of hiking/climbing. If you wish to inquire about access try the following: [email protected] or 719-379-3263. (There is also a "north" unit of the Trinchera Ranch which apparently includes Blanca, Little Bear and Mt. Lindsey, or the border of this property reaches the summits of these peaks on the south and east sides.)

      From Maxwell, it's .75 mile north on a connecting ridge to Cuatro. We have not done that ridge section so are unable to offer definitive information about the traverse. On GE, it appears that a descent to the connecting saddle will go easily and the first part of the upclimb to Cuatro will go at Class 2 on some tundra. But the upper part of the ridge is interrupted by a number of gullies and ribs that appear to offer some potential problems.

      From Maxwell to Mariquita, it is a fairly rocky traverse, but it's still Class 2 and takes under an hour. De Anza is yet another 1.4 mile south on mostly rocky rubble down to the saddle and then changing over to sparse tundra and embedded small rocks to the summit. Still Class 2. De Anza may lie within the boundary of the Cielo Vista Ranch and as such, it may be possible to make arrangements with them to visit this area since at one time they were allowing climbers access to the west side of Whiskey Pass and the peaks along the central ridge located near the pass.

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    Peak Icon Route Map

    Route Info Mariquita Peak via Mt. Maxwell

    Route Description

    Year Climbed: 2004

    This access from the east is presented here as the "trailhead" of choice and utilizes the road to the Purgatoire Campground and FR437. This is only a "proposed" route and is only offered because it provides the closest vehicle access to the peak. While you will be on San Isabel National Forest land up to the summit of Mt. Maxwell, anything south of there is on private property. Climb/hike at your own risk if you choose not to contact the property owners and obtain permission.

    There is a national forest boundary marker at the summit of Maxwell. Heading south along the main ridge places you on private property as previously described. If you choose to head south along the ridge crest to Mariquita, you'll lose about 275 to 300 feet elevation and will then regain nearly 400 ft. The ridge walk is almost all broken, rocky talus and hence slow. Class 2. From Maxwell to Mariquita and beyond, the west slopes below the ridge crest are impressive broken cliffs. The main ridge south from Mariquita continues rocky and slow to Pt.12,925, then finally relents to more tundra coverage the remainder of the distance to De Anza Peak. For a return route, it is advisable to return as you came, but it's possible to contour below the summit of Maxwell on the east side and avoid regaining some elevation, however, there are some short cliffs and plenty of rock to deal with.


    Additional BETA

    Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.
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