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 Peak:  Cottonwood Peak A (13er)
 Route:  Hot Springs Canyon Trail
 Range:  Sangre de Cristo
 Posted By:  Wyoming Bob
 Date of Information:  02/03/2013
 Date Posted:  02/04/2013
 Report

First the stats, 2wd dry road to the TH, then 6" or so up to the canyon mouth, good swale and now a set of tracks. Then 6" goes to 1" by the time you get up to the Wilderness Boundary, four pass trench from here to the saddle. Then in the darker tighter parts, the depth goes from 18 to 24 inches, powder and no crust. It stays deep and loose all the way to the treeline and that means just about the saddle. Then rocks, ice and some wind hammered patches, good enough for heels on the way down but not quite enough on the way up.

This trail is merciless as to vertical gain but it never comes out and tells you that you are getting worked. It just climbs with every foot, no step ups, no steep sections, just a gentle lead upward that ends up exhausting the quads and suddenly leaving you at 13k and looking back down a rather steep course.

The rest of the story is we bashed our way up through the snow for 7 hours to just get to the 13,047 point to see the summit, another mile along the ridge, at 3 p.m. A peak that we realized was too far and we were just beat to heck by the 5 miles up through the snow. 3 p.m., quads gone, scud on upper San Juans, getting cold and then the wind started and the temp started to drop. We read the cards and it was clear that the gig was up. Enough was enough and we were outbound to arrive at the TH at 6 p.m. No sour grapes as to the 8 a.m. start, we got two summits in January and this proved to be the beating that comes with winter climbing.

*** Cough *** P. >> I scoped out you and W.W.'s 13‘er liss which are as shy of Cottonwood as mine is shy of White. If you and W.W. have playing hookie in mind, there is a good trench the whole way to the saddle. As for White . . . and Mamma, I was literally thinking "I wonder if anyone has taken a snow machine or stomped a trench up that road?" as I drove south on Saturday evening to Salida.



Photos (click for slideshow):
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  • Comments or Questions
Papillon


Heck of an effort...     2013-02-04 21:44:00
I was talking to a friend in early January and we agreed that if you go to a 14er TH in winter there is a good chance somebody will have been recently up there. If it is a centennial, there is a slight chance. Bicentennial or lower? You're on your own.

Thanks for the tip on the trench but we're stuck in Denver all week.



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