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#70 / 13,908' Red Mountain

Quadrangle › Culebra Peak
Summit Location › Peak Route Icon N 37° 06' 44.51", W 105° 10' 52.10" (Not Field Checked)

Peak Summary

Red Mountain is a summit located a little south of the 14er, Culebra Peak. Both are located on private property, which over the years has made access difficult if not impossible at times. In August of 2017, the property changed hands again. Leading up to that exchange, the ranch was being called the "Cielo Vista Ranch." Before that, most referred to it as the "Taylor Ranch." To reach Red Mountain, most climbers will likley summit Culebra first, then make the short run over to Red Mtn. For what you pay to climb Culebra, if the new owners are allowing access, you may as well climb Red. The hike over from Culebra is a Class 2, rocky, rubbly walk. The "Four-way" trailhead is accessible by passenger vehicles with better than average clearance so some crossover types may be able to make it. The upper trailhead, if access is allowed would be better driven in something with higher clearance. Access to these peaks will all depend on the policies of the new owner. Once we obtain reliable information, we will post it ASAP. 

Red Mountain North Ridge Route

Class 2
Medium Day // Take a Lunch
RT From Culebra Peak Access - Cielo Vista: 9 mi / 4,100'
  • Trailhead
    • Culebra Peak Access - Cielo Vista Trailhead

      The Cielo Vista Ranch (translation - "View of Heaven") was previously known as the Taylor Ranch. Total acreage of the property now exceeds 83,000. Be advised that as of August 2017, the ranch property changed hands again. Any information provided here may change dramatically depending on the new ownership. The eastern boundary of the property is the central ridge of the Sangre de Cristo range from De Anza Peak in the north all the way to State Line Peak on the New Mexico border to the south. All of the land on either side of that central ridge is privately owned from Maxwell Mountain on south. Trespassers have been and will be prosecuted. As of the date of this writing, the only property owner allowing access is/was the Cielo Vista Ranch. One newspaper report indicated that the new owner did not plan to change the access policies previously held by the Cielo Vista ranch owners. The property is a virtual wildlife preserve, rich in its diversity. Under the previous owners climbing was allowed but arrangements had to be made in advance. A signed waiver was required along with a significant cash fee. The website for the ranch mentions that some limited winter climbing was allowed. The summer climbing season usually begins around mid-June and continues until about Sept. 1 when hunting season begins. The previous ranch website was: cielovistaranchco.com. They prefered to be contacted by email at: [email protected]. Climbing arrangements had to be made at least one month in advance. If you try to Google the ranch, there is currently a Google malware warning. If you become lost or injured while on the property, be advised there is no Costilla County Search & Rescue available.

      Since all climbers must report to the main ranch headquarters, that location will serve as the main trailhead, however, Whiskey Pass can also serve as a trailhead, after you have registered at ranch headquarters. We will divide access as follows: Use the main ranch entrance and the 4WD road up to "four-way" as the TH for Purgatoire, UN13,466, Vermejo, Red Mtn., Culebra, UN13,565, UN13,229 and Miranda. Use Whiskey Pass as the TH for Lomo Liso, Francisco, Beaubien, De Anza and Mariquita. (Note that Mariquita is not actually on CV Ranch property.) We also have a report that indicates some climbers were allowed access up Carneros Creek to climb UN13,229 and UN 13,565. We have no specific information however in regards to that access. Also, for peaks other than Culebra and Red Mountain, Cielo Vista has required climbers to have a hand radio which the ranch supplied.

      Driving Directions: From the small town of Ft. Garland, located on HWY 160 east of Alamosa and west of Walsenburg, drive south on HWY159 to San Luis - about 15.5 miles.

      Turn left on the P.6 Road (4th street) and drive 4.0 miles to Chama.
      In Chama, turn left on L.7 Road.
      Drive 3.5 miles on L.7, across a bridge and immediately turn right on dirt Road 25.5.
      Go 1/2 mile on 25.5 Road, stop, and turn left on M.5 Road.
      Drive another 0.9 miles to reach the North Gate of the Cielo Vista Ranch.
      The gates are usually closed and ranch representatives will meet you for an escort to the ranch headquarters.
      Once through the north HQ gate, continue 2 miles to the ranch headquarters for check-in.
      After check-in, reset your odometer and drive on an easy 4WD road to the upper trailhead. Stay right at about .1 mile and continue driving up the steepening road.
      You will reach "Four Way" at 3.4 miles with ample parking, 11,250 ft.  N 37° 08' 32.23"  W 105° 13' 57.08"
      You may be allowed to continue on to the highest point of the road at 4.4 miles. This is the upper trailhead and you may park near a stream. 11,670 ft.  N 37° 08' 20.38"  W 105° 12' 56.72"

      The following directions are provided by the Cielo Vista Ranch on their website:

      Find San Luis, Colorado. Begin in San Luis, at the Conoco station on main street. You will be driving southbound from Ft. Garland. At the Conoco Station, turn east (left). Drive 3 miles to stop sign. Right turn onto County Road 21. Traveling southbound on CR 21, proceed to County Road L.7. Left turn on L.7, you will be driving eastbound. Continue on CR L.7 to one of several county roads which go south from L.7. (Note that CR L.7 is also the "Whiskey Pass Road.") Each of these short roads will take you to County Road M.5, which parallels L.7, about 200 yards to 500 yards south. Take one is these roads (CR 22.5, 23.5, etc.) south to CR M.5. Left turn on M.5 sends you east. Continue east on M.5 until you reach the large heavy green steel gate, which is the entrance to the North headquarters of Cielo Vista Ranch. Watch for local dogs which are roaming the streets and county roads in the area, at will!

      To get to the Whiskey Pass road, once you have reported to ranch headquarters, reverse these directions back to CR L.7 which is the Whiskey Pass Road and head east. The road is drivable by 4WD to about 11,500 feet as reported by Dave Hahn. Once you are back onto this road, the distance to the end of the road will be over 10.5 miles. An overnight camp was allowed. Dave also reported that when he drove to Whiskey Pass in his own vehicle, he was accompanied by ranch personnel driving another vehicle. When you are done climbing peaks off Whiskey Pass, you will need to return to ranch headquarters to report out.

      The following link has some interesting history regarding this overall area:

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


      Camping

      Unless the ranch owners grant permission to camp on their property somewhere (which is unlikely), there is no close camping available.

    Peak Icon Route Map Photos

    Route Info Red Mountain North Ridge

    Route Description

    Year Climbed: 1995

    To climb Red Mountain, because it is located on the private property of the Cielo Vista Ranch and there is a price to pay for admission, it is most likely best to combine Red Mountain with Culebra Peak. Mileage and elevation gain assume going over Culebra and are measured from the four-way road junction. 

    From the four-way junction, hike along the road east for another mile to the road terminus by a small stream where there is additional parking for more capable vehicles and possibly camping if owners allow (not likely). From this location, you could head straight north and gain the NW, serpentine ridge of Culebra and follow it all the way to the summit. Below Pt. 13,436, there is a very old roadbed that can be followed as well for a short while. Most hikers however, prefer to take a more direct approach to Culebra by crossing the stream to the south side, then proceeding up drainage to the ESE, aiming for a saddle along the Culebra NW ridge where the ridge bends from north-south more to east-west. This saddle is south of Pt. 13,436. Once you've arrived on the ridge, then it's nothing more than a long ridge-walk to the summit with one false summit, about .4 mile from the true summit. While the lower portion of this hike is on a tundra/grass mix, the upper regions turn to sparse tundra interspersed with small rock, then eventually talus/rubble for the finish on Culebra. 

    From the Culebra summit, Red Mountain is south by a connecting ridge with a bump along the way to increase the elevation gain a little. Drop south from the Culebra summit on tedious, rocky rubble to a saddle. Gain 100 feet over the "bump," then drop to yet another saddle where the final ascent to Red Mountain will begin. There may not be much of a trail leading down from the Culebra summit because of all the rubble, but the last 300 feet going up Red Mtn. will see a well-used trail develop through more of the rubble and talus. The summit of Red Mtn. offers a nice view of the territory to the east and of the ridge that runs south to the remaining 13ers on this property. All of that ridge down to Vermejo, Alamasito and Purgatoire Peaks is relatively easy Class 1/2 walking on more tundra than rock once you get off the Red Mtn. summit cone. The opportunities for wildlife viewing along this section are superb, especially for elk. We spotted several distinct herds number 50 - 100 each. An amazing sight! 

    From the summit of Red Mountain, if not continuing on to the southern summits, return as you came. You could attempt to contour NW below the Culebra summit and eliminate regaining some altitude, but the relentless side-hilling may not save much effort. 


    Additional BETA

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