Buying Gear?  Click Here
Buying gear? Please use these links to help 14ers.com:

More info...

Other ways to help...
 Peak(s):  Culebra Peak  -  14,047 feet
 Post Date:  08/14/2012
 Date Climbed:   08/11/2012
 Posted By:  SurfNTurf
 Additional Members:   wildlobo71, RJansen77, MountainMedic, marciamallow, LuLuLuv, dillonsarnelli, BenfromtheEast, avidhiker123

 A Penn State alum walks into a bar...   

MOUNTAIN: Culebra Peak (14,047')
ROUTE: West Ridge
RT DISTANCE: 7 miles
RT GAIN: 3,200'
ASCENT TIME: 2.25 hours
TIME ON SUMMIT: 45 minutes
DESCENT TIME: 1.5 hours
CLIMBERS: Dillon (dillonsarnelli), Rob (RJansen77), Jennifer (LuLuLuv), Marcia (marciamallow/avidhiker123), Ben (BenfromtheEast), Bill (wildlobo71), Tyler (MountainMedic)

...just kidding. I'll save the off-color jokes for Dillon's text inbox.

Lots of things cost $100. A fleece jacket. Two weeks’ worth of groceries (I eat like a college student). A lower-level ticket to an NFL preseason game. And, of course, climbing the elephant in the Fourteener room: Culebra Peak.

Image
The $100 Peak.


Paying $100 to hike a 14er sucks, especially considering all the gas, food and gear costs that already goes into the hobby. It’s even more grating that Culebra is about as easy as it gets. I’d be more amenable to paying $100 to hike Crestone Needle or Wetterhorn, but I wasn’t exactly overjoyed to fork over the cash for Bierstadt Without A Trail. But hey, it’s on Cielo Vista land and they can do whatever they want. Including charging a surging pack of 20-somethings (and 20-somethings at heart) a significant portion of their biweekly paychecks for a four-hour hike.

The only way to make it tolerable? Good friends and the promise of beer and BBQ back at Fischer Fest in Colorado Springs.

After 49 prior 14ers, Culebra was a bizarrely unique experience. Instead of starting at your leisure, the 20-25 people allowed to hike the mountain on a given day all hit the trail at the same time. No defined, continuous path exists, but rather a loose connection of game and climber trails. The southern-most 14er has views more suited to New Mexico than Colorado.

Most everyone camps out the night before the hike in a crowded roundabout near the Headquarters Gate for Cielo Vista Ranch. Alarms blast sometime between 5 and 5:30 a.m., or in our case, around 4 a.m. when someone’s car alarm went off. Thanks yo. Coyotes howled throughout the night, though my prevailing thought wasn’t “how could anyone fear these graceful creatures (-THE LYNX),” but instead, “Man, I hope Dillon isn’t dragged out of his bivy.” We were also concerned with the presence of yetis per a briefly posted and now-deleted forum thread. We figured Dillon would be the tastiest yeti treat and thus slept soundly.

Once the gate is open, Carlos, dressed to impress, checks you in and you drive a few miles to the ranch headquarters. That’s where you turn in your waiver and $100. Since everyone was allowed through the gate at the same time, it felt almost like The Amazing Race. Subarus raced Xterras on secluded dirt roads for the ultimate prize: their $100 back. Just kidding. There's no prize.

After everyone's paid, Carlos gives a brief speech and once again the hikers speed off for Fourway (2WD) or the 4WD trailhead. Sticking with the race theme, people got geared up at alarming speeds. Our group was very nearly the last on the trail. Seeing everyone else heading up for the lefthand (Northwest) ridge, we followed an old 4WD road the opposite direction for a bit before turning onto the righthand (West) ridge.

The route really doesn’t need much of a description. We grinded up a steep grass-and-talus slope until we reached the ridge and the famous giant cairn. It turns out our way was a bit of a shortcut and we had already passed everyone else. From the cairn, you follow the ridge proper over a few false summits to the top. We kept our minds occupied during our ascent by cracking Penn State jokes to our two Nittany Lion alumni, Dillon and Marcia, and going for first ascents of precariously balanced boulders. We summited after about 2.25 hours. We skipped Red because most of us have decided to stop pursuing lists so vigorously after the 14ers. And also because 13ers are apparently for hipsters.

The top was windy and cold, far moreso than normal for mid-August. Ever prepared for emergencies, Bill brought out his flask of whisky to warm everyone up. It was also the anniversary of Dillon’s 25th birthday, so Rob had carried up a six-pack of Dale’s Pale Ale. For some undisclosed reason Dillon also brought up Miller Lite. At any rate, it was a veritable party on the summit despite the chill.

Image
The impeccably dressed Carlos.


Image
The pack starts for the righthand ridgeline.


Image
Looking down from whence we came.


Image
Typical terrain along the initial ridge.


Image
Ben notching a first ascent of the Widowmaker Pillar.


Image
The Blanca group.


Image
The only photo in recorded history of Dilly taking a rest break.


Image
Looking down the ridge from near the top.


Image
I have no idea why we thought this landmark was worthy of a group photo.


Image
Working along the ridge proper and the GAPING EXPOSURE.


Image
Another false summit.


Image
Me leading slowpokes Dilly and Tyler.


Image
Dillon properly celebrating the Culebra summit on his birthday.


Image
Rob awkwardly mounting the true summit, as Tyler leads a life of leisure..


Image
Blance group, again.


Image
Group shot. (L-R Me, Rob, Dilly, Tyler, Ben, Bill, Marcia, Jennifer).


Image
The two Penn Staters, with me posing as an innocent little boy.


Image
It was a rather uneventful summit.


Image
Looking down from the major false summit on the descent.


We took roughly the same path down, as did everyone else. The sun finally made an appearance and we lounged around the 4WD trailhead for a while, snacking, drinking beer and rinsing off in the creek. Congrats again to the man who finished the 14ers on Culebra!

Since we got down so early and weren’t due to be in Colorado Springs for Fischer Fest until 5 p.m., we went to a pizza place in Ft. Garland to kill some time. Dswink and Milan happened to be there as well, so we all piled into a large table and settled for the salad bar since we figured we’d only burned about 13 calories on Culebra. We also waited until Dilly was gone and asked the waitress to bring him a cake with a candle in it. They sang to him. It was glorious.

Image
Dillon's Embarrassment Cake.


We finally piled into the cars a little after 3 p.m. en route to Fisher Fest, where we met dmccool and gregory_fischer (plus their wives and children). The Fischers generously had us over to their home for a feast of BBQ, hamburgers, hot dogs and various side dishes, which we gratefully enjoyed. Sadly, our day was almost ruined by a freak two-minute rain storm that almost forced us to turn around at the saddle between Greg’s fence and backdoor. We survived by assuming the lightning position and drinking more beer. Once it cleared, we continued our game of Testicle Toss (I’m not sure this is the actual name, but it’s going to stick). Dan and I beat Dillon and Rob 2 sets to 0 to win the Fischer Cup. You may have seen the ESPN highlight of Dan retrieving a set of Testicles from a power line.

Image
Rob utterly exhausted from his long day on Culebra.


Image
Fischer Fest.


Image
McKayla is not impressed.


Image
Dan saving the day.


Culebra is a boring mountain that costs $100 to hike, but I’d be lying to say I didn’t love every second of it. Why? The mutual quest to complete the 14ers this summer has brought together a group of men I feel privileged to be a part of. The camaraderie the mountains inspire is a treasure, and I can’t even express how lucky I feel not only to have one “perfect partner,” but a whole freakin’ pack of them. I know we rub some of you the wrong way, but I encourage you to take a step back from your computer screen once in a while and have a laugh. God knows we do. You can only take 14ers, 14ers.com and yourself so seriously.

In conclusion, there’s nothing that these guys couldn’t make fun. Including Culebra.

Happy birthday Dilly!

Image
Oh, hey.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
dmccool


”A rather uneventful summit.”     2012-08-14 16:00:39
2 things. First, you were on my team in Testicle Toss. We won. Second, I'm pretty sure Miles is ”Erkeling” in the last photo. Congrats on A New Approach to Living, boys.


wildlobo71


$800 party...     2012-08-14 16:31:22
Excellent trip report for the BBQ and mountain we climbed, especially the Tuesdays with Morey-esque ending. Truthfully, that was a great way to spend a more leisurely couple of days in the pursuit.

Greg's house did have two bathrooms after all; just had to ask Miles to show me where the other one was.


MtnChick


Awwww.....     2012-08-14 16:49:35
How Bromantic!!!


kara


frightened...     2012-08-14 17:02:46
...to see what other articles of clothing Tyler is missing in other TRs (I've seen MonGoose's of Maroon! ). Happy Birthday again, Dillon.


Fisching


Toss-Up     2012-09-24 09:44:25
I can't decide what's more impressive about you, Jeffery, your climbing skills or your writing talents.


Fisching


Also     2012-09-24 09:44:25
I'm glad to see you and Avidhiker123 hugged it out.


RJansen77


I love     2012-08-14 17:17:30
Miles in the second to last photo. Watching his father ascend a 5.11b pitch to grab the two hanging ”objects.”


dillonsarnelli


WE ARE (Marcia that's your cue!)     2012-08-14 18:19:41
First off I would like to give a shout to my boy Miles for attending the festivus - That guy can party!

Jeff - thanks for going easy on the alma matter. Great report as always dude! However, if you ever touch my leg again, we are no longer friends. Greg - Thanks again for having us over for the fest. My vote is obviously for Jeff's writing skills. When you have a chance, could you please mail me my shoes, shirt, and soap? Tyler - Please don't ever take your shirt off again! Thanks. Dan - you really did set yourself up nicely for some birthday present picture retaliation retrieving the testicle toss buddy, haha - ”Look at Yourself!”. Bill - Hope I was a better copilot in the backseat than sleepy. Jansen - Culebra and Columbia in the same weekend?!?! do you not like yourself? Ben - you propositioned my grandmother with beer today on Facebook. I don't really know what else to say on that...

on a closing note - Testicle Toss > Ladder Golf and avidhiker123, thanks for playing.


emohr


Testi Toss     2012-08-14 18:38:45
I thoroughly enjoyed the PSU pic. With you acting as an innocent little boy

I'm glad the drinking beer tactic was successful for you guys in that saddle. Glad to hear you're safe


kushrocks


Nothing Beats     2012-08-14 18:40:27
The photo of Jeff posing as the ”innocent little Penn State Boy”

The one of Tyler posing as the 14ers.com shirtless Kurt Cobain is awesome to.

So . . . when they hell are we going to get out there and climb again?


MountainMedic


Posing     2012-08-14 19:55:39
My clothes only come off when necessary. Lately, it seems I have needed to remove one or more articles of clothing to make a point. Fortunately, Ryan seems to understand.


MonGoose


Making a Point?     2012-08-14 20:46:24
Exactly what point are you trying to make MountainMedic? The fact that you're equally pale all over your entire body?


MountainMedic


Making a Point     2012-08-14 20:54:11
If you look on the forum for even five minutes, it should become blatantly obvious what I am talking about.


milan


Hi     2012-08-15 01:15:39
Nice to meet you there gyus!


Tornadoman



I made the report!     2012-08-15 06:20:57
I can be seen on the right side of the 'topless photo' styling in my marmot precip jacket and greenish hiking pants! It looked like you guys were having a lot of fun on the summit, I was just trying not to freeze to death!


tmathews

No hipsters among you     2012-08-15 09:00:55
I can't believe none of you went over to Red Mountain!


FireOnTheMountain


You got a Litte red riding hood....     2012-08-15 14:54:48
thing going on in Image 10 there Jeff.

Enjoyed the read, nice work all.

BTW, Week 10, Broncos v Carolina......


vorticity


Entertaining Report     2012-08-21 10:39:01
I am slated to climb this one the last climbing day of the year. I was surprise to see such an entertaining report. Thanks ;-) Vort.



   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here


Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. 14ers.com and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 14ers.com and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the 14ers.com Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2014 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.