UN13,229 is a basic Class 2 hike by the connecting ridge from UN13,565 on the privately owned Cielo Vista Ranch. Permission to climb is required and there will be a fee charged as well. Closest vehicle access will require 4WD.
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:
Unless the ranch owners grant permission to camp on their property somewhere (which is unlikely), there is no close camping available.
UN13,229 is part of the vast Cielo Vista Ranch which is all private property. The ranch property line extends down the west side of the central ridge of summits that stretch all the way from De Anza Peak in the north to State Line Peak in the south. You can download a Google Earth map of the property by going to this link and scrolling on the right down to the GE map link: https://www.mirrranchgroup.com/ranches/cielo-vista-ranch/. Permission must be obtained to access any of these peaks. For several decades now, the owners of this ranch property have been the only ones to allow access to these high peaks. CF&I Steel owns some of the land on the east side and has never agreed to any access and will prosecute trespassers. Policies by the ranch owners have varied in the past regarding access to which summits and routes to them. Before attempting any peaks, make sure you have a clear arrangement with the Cielo Vista Ranch owners/managers. See the "trailhead" description for more details.
As with any mountain, there can be numerous "routes." In this description, we will provide detail regarding one specific route and a few hint regarding another approach. The detail route begins with the 4WD vehicle park at 11,700 where the trail for Culebra takes off from. See the "Trailhead" section for driving directions to that parking area.
From the 11,700 vehicle parking, it is possible to reach UN13,565 and UN13,229 by dropping into the upper reaches of Carneros Creek. This is only a "suggested" route. If attempting to use this route, you should clear it with the ranch manager before attempting. We rate this hike as Class 2+. Head north and gain elevation to the ridge and cross at about 12,000 ft. From the crest, search out a way down the steep, north facing mountainside. Do not angle too far to the east as you descend or you'll get into rocky cliffs. Better to head more or less straight down. There are several shallow gullies, some of which lower down are filled with man-eating willows. Avoid at all costs. Hike down through sporadic trees wherever possible. This descent of about 800 feet will be the most difficult part of this approach. Aim for a small pond on the map at the base of this ridge at just below 11,200 ft. Once you reach the valley floor, the going will be much easier.
Hike east up the valley and at some point cross over to the north side of the creek. You may find more challenging willows in sections. Make your way SE through forest, open meadow and forest again to the beautifully situated Carneros Lake. There are reports of a trail you may be able to connect with on the north side of the valley. This is one of the most remote and seldom visited portions of the ranch. Chances of seeing elk and other wildlife are very good. Tread quietly. Above the lake, head east across mostly tundra, then NE, aiming toward the summit of UN13,565. You'll be going up the broad SW flank of the peak. Before beginning your ascent, you may want to search out the route with the most tundra and least amount of rock. This will tend to send you toward the UN13,565 - UN13,229 saddle. The initial 400 feet of gain up the flank will be the steepest. There's a rock and tundra filled gully that could be used, but if you see a better way, go for it. Ascend the tundra and rock slope and meet the west ridge at some point, which you can then follow to the summit of UN13,565 on fairly easy, but rocky terrain.
The mileage and elevation gain provided for UN13,229 are measured from UN13,565 with the assumption you will want to climb that peak as well while having permission to be in here. So from UN13,565, walk down the connecting ridge, losing about 600 feet elevation to the west on broken rock & rubble for a while. The rubble gradually changes over to tundra towards the saddle and as you approach the summit of 13,229. From the saddle, you'll gain appx. 330 feet in elevation. Time to cover this easy 3/4 mile should only be about a half hour. If you have used our suggested approach from the "Four-Way" junction & road, then the easiest way back is to drop back SE to the saddle, then head down on tundra slopes as best you can to the smaller, unnamed lake above Carneros Lake, avoiding the rocky cliffs. Hike back over to Carneros then follow the rugged return route back to your vehicle.
It's also possible to reach UN13,229 from Lomo Liso by way of a crossing of the upper reaches of Bernadino Creek and avoid the rugged ridge section north off Miranda. From Lomo Liso, walk SE, then south along the ridge crest to a saddle just north of Pt. 12,952. Begin descending SSW into the drainage, round a broad ridge at about 12,200 ft. and find a break in a cliff band and steeper slope that allows you to drop into the open valley. Hike, trip and scramble over a boulder field to a small lake at 11,660 ft., then ascend into a small basin immediately west of UN13,229. Continue over boulder type talus to the saddle west of the summit. From the saddle, hike ESE along the ridge crest to the summit navigating the loose, broken rocks & boulders to the rocky little summit. Class 2+. Because of all the boulder-hopping, this route really saves no time or effort compared to following the main ridge south over Miranda, then on to UN13,565, then over to Un13,229.