Culebra Peak  
Condition Updates  
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2019-06-24, By: bludwig
Info: Leave your skis at home! The snow is virtually 100% avoidable. (Except for a wonderful glissade on the way down). I did the hike with two other climbers that I met at the gate on Friday night. Carlos came to the gate right around 6:00AM and let us in (the process is very quick and efficient) and we drove to the trailhead. The road is clear all the way to the upper trailhead, we started around 6:45AM and cut to the far climber's left (Photo 1, from above) to avoid the remaining snow. Once we caught the ridge, we cut over to the massive cairn (Photo 2) and headed straight up (Photos 3 & 4). The wind was sustained 30-40mph all day so we opted to skip Red Mountain. I didn't get any great pictures of it but it was very dry. We hit summit (Photo 5) around 9:10 and hung out for about an hour and then headed down. We intentionally went to the snowfield for the glissade on the way down (Photo 6). We got back to the trailhead at 11:50 and drove out. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2019-06-24, By: ElConrado
Info: Did Culebra last Friday with 21 other individuals. Conditions were superb with one minor issue - 35+ mph winds! Most snow was avoidable and will not be present by the weekend's climbs. Road open all the way to Trailhead. Ranch crew was helpful, polite and accommodating. As people who've experienced the drive down from Princeton radio towers and the terror of the Lake Como (Blanca) road, we really appreciated the well maintained road to TH. Worth every penny of the fee. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2019-06-21, By: douglas
Info: About 10 cars at the gate. Snowshoes definitely not needed. I used microspikes in a few areas which helped but not absolutely necessary. Staying to right or left of big snowfield on the initial west slope avoids snow. Once I hit the ridge the wind was crazy and pretty much stayed that way to the top and all the way down. At least it was sunny! Looks like a few people (not me) climbed Red but I heard the wind was even worse there. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2019-06-21, By: Ptglhs
Info: You can do this route without snow gear if you stay to the left of the creek/snowfields from the 4wd TH and then cross over above. Very windy today, hope it will abate by tomorrow! 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2019-06-16, By: spaceman_mort
Info: Started from the Four Way just after 6:00 a.m. with eight or nine other folks, I was hiking solo. Hiked one mile up the road to the start of the snowfield on the NW slopes and put my splitboard and skins on around 11,700'. The ascent to the ridgeline was hardpacked in the early morning but good coverage, then back to hiking once on the ridgeline and on Culebra summit by 9:00. I headed over to tag Red Mountain and was able to descent around 250' of the saddle both ways on the board, speeding things up a bit. Ended up getting into a bit of class 3 scramble on the return because I was trying to avoid gaining elevation again towards Culebra's summit. Hung out on the ridge around 13,250' for about an hour waiting for the sun to soften the snowpack and then hopped on the board once again and had a great descent down the easy slope to 11,700'. Photo 1: Looking up the NW slope at the start of the snowpack Photo 2: Right after gaining the ridgeline Photo 3: Probably at around 13,900' just before the summit Photo 4: Looking back at Culebra from Red Mtn Photo 5: Class 3 crud that I crossed because I didn't go high enough on the way back Photo 6: Dry road from Four way up to 4WD parking area Photo 7: On the drive out, looking back at Culebra 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2019-06-08, By: Will_E
Info: Did Culebra and Red Mountain today. I messed up in the morning and didn't realize that I was supposed to be at the gate *specifically* at 6am. I got there around 7:30, realized my mistake, and decided to just walk up the road to the office and ask if I could still climb. Not only were they nice enough to let me still use my reservation, but even drove me up to the TH in one of their ATV's. Only downside was that after climbing I had to walk all the way to the gate where I left my car (hence my much longer mileage). Overall conditions were pretty good, but snowshoes or skis are necessary from treeline to the ridge in both directions. After the first ridge you can pretty much navigate around the snow, including the hop over to Red Mountain. Super windy up there today. 
12
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2019-06-02, By: djacobson
Info: We took the line to the ridge then over to the right instead of the direct approach. Route was straightforward. Brought spikes but never used them. Route was manageable without snowshoes on the way up as things were still frozen. We absolutely needed them on the way down. Glissaded down the direct route (highly recommended) then put on snowshoes from there. Still post holed around 12k even in snow shoes. It's melting really fast. Kept snow shoes on until around the Four Way on the hike out. For more TH into see the updated report. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2019-03-25, By: CaptainSuburbia
Info: The 4wd road had not yet been packed down since the last storm. We were able to boot the first few miles of the road, but eventually needed snowshoes as we got higher and the snow got deeper. From the summer TH to the ridge snowshoes were necessary and you could pretty much pick any line through the bowl. We went right and up and hit the ridge at the large cairn. Wore microspikes from here to the summit. Surprisingly, the ridge had a lot of snow on it. Postholing was minimal though except in a few short sections after false summit. It was extremely windy on the ridge and the weather conditions made it impossible to attempt Red. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2019-02-18, By: JtheChemE
Info: The storm from 15/16 completely covered the old trench with 8-20" of new or drifted snow (drifted particularly deep above 4way). With some hunting, I was able to stay on top of buried trench and refresh it. The 4x4 road was not packed down by CV staff, they indicated it can take them a few days after a big storm event to do so (so dont count on it). Keep in mind a major storm today 2/18 and tomorrow 2/19 will add a significant amount of snow, so expect a strong trenching effort. 
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2019-02-10, By: daway8
Info: Be ready for the potential of a lot of wind exposure: once we made it up on the ridge, the wind was pretty much non-stop and heading up the final stretch it got so strong we decided to bail at about 13,400ft since we weren't certain we could fight the wind and make it back by the 6pm cutoff (turns out I made it back to HQ at 4pm, wishing I had made the final push...). This peak is doable in winter and without skies but given the imposed time restraints, if you're not a real fast hiker, you may need to push yourself and make sure you carefully pick your line for the shortest route (don't get lured up the 13er along the way...). Snowshoes mainly only needed from upper 4WD trialhead to the ridgeline (getting across that section is the hardest part). The road was fairly well packed and the ridgeline has so much wind ripping it that boots would likely be ok (but I left my snowshoes on anyways). A few sample photos of the road and ridge included: 1=early along the road. 2=windblown section of road. 3=4WD trailhead (time for snowshoes!). 4=final stretch to the summit (2 figures in center right for scale). 5=turning back. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2019-01-28, By: supranihilest
Info: Carlos and his sons pack the road from the ranch HQ to the upper trailhead with snowmobiles, which makes for quick progress whether booting, snowshoeing, or skinning. To Carlos and sons - thank you! From the upper trailhead you will be almost entirely on snow to the ridge. We avoided the bowl and broke left/north to the ridge on a faint trench, probably the one Ben Pulver and team put in. It looks like a very faint snow fin, if you can still see it. Stay on its right side and the snow is solid enough to snowshoe up; boots will still punch through. We wore our snowshoes until we were across the basin on the summit ridge proper, so down the first dip and up the other side, where we stashed them at a large pile of rocks. We did not need or use our microspikes, but the snow on the summit ridge is in pretty poor shape. Don't be discouraged, just keep moving and you'll get there eventually. It was too windy for us to continue to Red Mountain but it was almost entirely dry all the way over and would go quick in good weather. Photo 1: the bowl from the upper trailhead. Photo 2: note the faint, filled in trench to follow (the snow fin). Photo 3: typical conditions on most of the mountain. Photo 4: the ridge in full. Photo 5: the saddle between "Punta Serpiente" and Culebra. Photos 6 & 7: looking up and down the summit ridge, respectively. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2019-01-21, By: benpulver43
Info: Roads are lightly snow covered all the way to the gate and there's a nice area to park by the gate to car camp. Carlos arrive right before 6am to let everyone in. Road is snowmobile packed all the way to the upper trailhead and I was able to make great time in just boots. Snowshoed from the upper trailhead to the summit. Stuck to the left side of the bowl and made for the ridge as the snowpack was questionable and deeper in the bowl. Definitely be cautious if you are going to ski it. There's a really nice trench now from the trailhead to the ridge, but I don't know how long it will last. Ridge was mostly hard packed snow and could be easily done in just boots with microspikes. 
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-06-22, By: WildWanderer
Info: Summer conditions for both Culebra and Red Mountain. NEW CHECK IN AND CHECK OUT PROCEDURES started today. Carlos has his sons working with him this summer, and they're helping check people in (very nice young gentlemen, just like their father). To check out you sign out at the office and you're given a code to unlock/lock the gate. Also, I had a rather husky cinnamon bear run in front of me as I drove back down the 4WD road on my way out. Not something I usually see mid-afternoon. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-06-17, By: DevonK
Info: FYI: If you are using GPS to get there, Google Maps takes you to the wrong location. Follow the typed directions from 14ers.com to get to the north gate where they let you in. It is summer conditions on the peak. As has been stated in previous reports the new owners are very responsive. I got an immediate response to my email and hiked the mountain 2 days later. 
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-06-10, By: desertdog
Info: I had been out of action for 5 weeks. My climbing partner called, and said lets go get Culebra Red Mountain to get you going again! Its was the perfect easy climb. Great weather and a beautiful day. Although you could see fire smoke in the distance, it had had had little effect on the air quality. No snow to speak of. The support at the ranch is so much better these days. We made our reservations with two days notice. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-06-09, By: jonandmalia
Info: Perfect day on Culebra. The folks at Cielo Visa were super. All snow is avoidable (just a little going up to ridge). Don't follow Waze or Google Map directions to the place, you'll end up at the wrong gate. If the gate you arrive at doesn't look like the picture, you're at the wrong one ( I know because I was lol, plus some others). 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-06-03, By: DrNoe
Info: Up on Culebra Peak today. Had to deal with grapple, snow, wind, and static electricity surging through arms and top of head as nasty weather moved in mid-morning. Moved down quickly. Snow on the route was completely avoidable. The folks at Cielo Vista Ranch were super hospitable. 
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-05-27, By: Gatsby
Info: Some mud and moisture in the bogs directly above the parking lots - all of it can be avoided by following the creek up (east) for ~80 yards, then taking a right to gain the north slopes. Some snow patches persist here, but all can be avoided - no traction necessary. From the top of the north slopes to the summit of Culebra, it is full summer conditions. 
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-05-21, By: Moogie737
Info: The road from the ranch HQ was completely dry. One steep section of the road prior to Fourway defeated a Honda CR-V but otherwise all of the other vehicles made it to the 4WD TH. We made it to Culebra Peak, Red Mountain and even Punta Serpiente without stepping on snow. However, there were still patches of lingering snow close to the eastern edges of saddle areas. Winds on our day were steady at 15-20 mph. 
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-05-19, By: mtnklmbr
Info: Beautiful day on Culebra and Red Mountain! Windy up high. Can easily drive to the 4WD trailhead in a high clearance vehicle. Some snow is left for short glissades down the slope, but you can easily miss it all on the route. 

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