Culebra Peak  
Condition Updates  
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-05-13, By: BenThom11
Info: Super windy day, but climbed Culebra and Red mtn with only a few steps on snow. No need for traction or floatation. 
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-05-07, By: mtn_clmbr
Info: Car camped at the gate Saturday night. Hiked on Sunday 5-6. Any vehicle with decent clearance can make it past 4-way to 4wd lot. You'll encounter a little bit of snow on the way up to the large cairn, which should hold your weight but can mostly hike on rock/dirt staying to the right. Later in the day the snow was turning mushy on our way down. The ridge up is mostly clear. Started at 7a and back to car at 12p. you wont need snowshoes, but I would pack microspikes as there were a few small ice patches. 
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-05-06, By: ryefinegan
Info: Road was clear past four-way. We parked nearly at the normal trailhead which made for a quick morning. We used microspikes much of the day but never needed floatation. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-04-30, By: nmill64
Info: We Hiked Culebra on Sunday and were able to drive to the 4-way no problem in a Rav-4. Some people drove further up, but were not able to get too much higher and one guy had to reverse back down, so for now I would recommend stopping at the 4-way unless Carlos tells you otherwise! Our group had some that brought snow shoes and some skis, one face on the shoulder still ski-able for about 1,000 feet. Those that brought Snow shoes did not need them although there were some snow crossings that caused some deep post-holing. Extremely windy ridge, but otherwise easy navigation with all avoidable snow. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-04-16, By: alyannkar
Info: Like the trip reports from the day before, Culebra and the surrounding Spanish Peaks received a TON of snow. Carlos had us begin at Ranch HQ. Honestly, this is for the best. The road is thawing and is a complete mess of mud. You can clearly see where trucks and ATVs have gotten stuck or had a rough time on the road. On the peak, snow ranges from hardly any to a couple inches and even several feet. There is so much wind deposited snow. Like the posters from the previous day, watch out for wind slabs forming. On the ridge, snow was anywhere from ankle to waist deep. Snowshoes may be helpful, but the snow is so powdery that you should still expect to post hole. Microspikes also may be helpful early in the morning and on the ridge. 
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-04-16, By: benlen
Info: Culebra was a winter wonderland on Saturday. Very cold. The recent snow storm in the Sangres dropped some serious snow into the Spanish Peaks, even while further north at Humboldt on Sunday was practically bone dry and I was in hiking boots. Night and day difference between the two. Be prepared to start your hike at Ranch HQ, and be prepared for a long day. I was on AT skis and broke trail through 3 inches to in some places more than a foot of wind deposited snow. Be on the look out for wind slabs forming. I was in a group of two that included a snowshoer also. It took me about 12-13 hours to complete the hike, and her a bit longer. There was a lot of unconsolidated powder snow on the peak as well which made for tough going. I didn't ski so much as use the skis as a mode of transport. Also want to give a shoutout to the manager Carlos. Carlos was awesome, and used his truck to drive us up part of the road, shaving off at least a mile of the trip. Right now the ranch isn't allowing personal cars to go beyond HQ, and I can see why. Carlos' Toyota Tundra was spinning out in snow and mud. Moral of the story: Be nice to Carlos! He'll try and help you out and shave some of that mileage off the road. Also make sure to get the code to the ranch gate from him before you leave in the AM––it'll allow you to leave the ranch after 6pm if necessary. I was able to skin out a long distance on the road back to the ranch, but the snow lower down was rapidly melting. If temps remain high and no more snow falls, it won't be a fun skin up next weekend. You may be better off taking something like snowshoes so you don't have to walk in ski boots. 
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-04-15, By: Kcmartinez22
Info: All the snow in the Sangres is on Culebra...geesh. Started at the Ranch at 6. There is a ton of snow on the peak. I shoed all the way up the road to the large cairn and then wore my microspikes to the summit. You could get away with boots on the road, but heading up to the cairn from the TH you'd be miserable. I post holed even in snow shoes. The ridge traverse has knee to waist deep snow in a couple of spots. I had to crawl over a couple of them because the snow was so deep. The snow definitely adds a challenge on that ridge. It was a 13 Hour day, and we didn't spend any time in the summit but to take a couple of pictures. Beautiful day and peak. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-04-10, By: hberry
Info: As of Saturday 04/07 you have to start your hike from the Ranch HQ which according to my GPS watch was a round trip of 14.66 miles and close to 5000 feet of elevation gain. There is quite a bit of snow still on the road that will mean excessive post-holing if you hike on a sunny day. It will be a while before it all melts out. Once to the actual trail head you will encounter a large snow field that can be somewhat avoided until you reach the ridge around 13000 feet. From there you can rock hop or walk on some snow and some rocks. If you were ambitious and wanted to hump your skis up there, you could ski both sides of the ridge by the large cairn - however you do need to be done by 6 PM so you need to move quickly. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-03-19, By: dcruz654
Info: Similar conditions to KS Jude's report on 3/3/18. Snow starts right after leaving ranch HQ and is solid in the morning until the meadows (~11k). Even then it is not deep enough to need gaiters or flotation. I booted with microspikes (not required) until then, at which point I switched to skinning. Skinned from the meadows until about 12,500 nearing the ridge crest. Dropped my splitboard at the top of the crest, and booted the rest of the way to Culebra and Red (no traction/float needed). On descent I rode my board from the crest to 4way, skinned to just past the meadows, then rode down the rode as far as I could go. Could have made it up without traction/flotation but it definitely helped, I would not have had time to hit Red if I didn't get to save time by skinning and riding my board out. Wind was INSANE, seriously some of the worst I've been in. Can upload some pics if anyone needs. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-03-12, By: backpackeramericano
Info: UPDATED - Sorry, didn't realize my computer only saved the first 5 words of my report. Unhelpful. Anyway, we were able to drive up less than a mile before the snow that morning was too deep for our TRD 4Runner. We did use snowshoes from there up to the ridge with the large cairn, only because the boot pack at the time was pretty narrow and we really hate post-holing. It was also nice to walk straight up to the ridge from the upper trailhead without navigating around to avoid the snow. We didn't use any traction from the large cairn to the summit. Coming back down was a bit of a slog, especially as the last 2 miles of the road had completely melted out and turned into a muddy mess, which was even more fun in the 4Runner. 
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-03-05, By: KS Jude
Info: Myself and three others from Kansas had the idea to embark on a fool's errand to hike Culebra in the winter. And so it was, on the third day in March we found ourselves in front of the Cielo Vista Ranch gate at 5 30am, less than 18 hours after passing that Kansas-Colorado line. One other hiker, Whiley (sp?), was also hiking Culebra, her 14er finisher! It was a beautiful day with abundant sunshine. Two Kansans would use skis, the rest of us snowshoes, myself included. We found slightly improved conditions (from a hiking perspective) from Moogie737's conditions report one week ago. Thanks for the beta Moogie737! A quarter mile after leaving ranch HQ at 6:30, snow coverage started. I used micro spikes for the next couple of miles, but weren't required. Snowshoes were donned a mile or so away from the fourway, at the first clearing. You may be able to get by without snowshoes, as we experienced sections of both deep/powdery and wind-blown/consolidated/hard snow, but I was happy to have them. Two of us ascended the less direct northwest ridge on way up, and descended northwest slopes on the way down. Snowshoes were stowed shortly after beginning the ascent up to the northwest ridge, where wind-blown tundra dominated the landscape. Nearing the ridge, the winds fiercely greeted us and would be sustained for the duration of the ridge to the summit. We made it to the big cairn at 11:40 and Summited Culebra at 1:15. Neither snowshoes nor traction were required on any part of the ridge, but traction may be helpful in couple of areas. Everyone was back at ranch HQ before 6:00 ( I made it back at 5:53). All said 4 of the 5 hikers summited Culebra. It was a tough, but beautiful day to be in the mountains. Sidenote: Congrats on your 14er finisher, Whiley (sp?)! Sorry we couldn't help you celebrate on the summit, your pace was incredible. You absolutely crushed it. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-02-26, By: Moogie737
Info: I was one of the three climbers alluded to in the previous report for the 24th. Snow depth at the HQ was 2"-3"; we wore snowshoes from HQ and the depth increased steadily as elevation increased. At 4 way we were trudging through 6"-8" and it was more or less at least that much up into the broad gully above the 4WD TH. From the ice-encrusted cairn we could see the saddle, false summit and a portion of the summit itself. In the saddle there was a voluminous amount of blown snow but it looked as though one could avoid it by hugging the southwest edge of the saddle. Climbing through the half-buried rocks and boulders would be time consuming if not aggravating. The snow was sugary when we broke through and sometimes as hard as tempered steel. We turned around at the cairn, our pre-determined turn-around point according to the clock. I'll put in some photos. Participants included the Utah team of Lana, Nancy and myself, augmented from 4 Way by Allen and Kim. I should add that the forecast winds were spot on: 25-35 mph with higher gusts. Sixteen degrees at the start of the climb at 6:25 a.m.. Still 16 degrees when we returned at 5:45 p.m. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-02-24, By: mtnklmbr
Info: Recent snow added anywhere from a few inches near the ranch to some thicker drifts up higher. After five climbers snowshoe'ed across it, up to the 4WD lot, it should be packed down for anyone headed out soon, but wind will still cause more drifts. None of us used microspikes, as we ditched the shoes near treeline and occasionally postholed across a snowfield to get to the ridge. Three climbers reached the large cair, then we all turned back, as it was after 2:00pm. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-02-18, By: bmcqueen
Info: Aside from today's crazy winds, Culebra is in pretty good shape. The road is pretty well packed to treeline, then a decent trench gets you to the ridge. Everything above there is pretty wind blown. I never put on my snowshoes or spikes today, though I was close on spikes a few times. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-02-05, By: 81trucolors
Info: The road is actually driveable for another 1.5-2 miles but we were required to park at the ranch. 14 miles is a long day. No snowshoes required but microspikes were nice to have. .25 miles of postholing just past the 4WD parking lot. Very little snow after that. We went slightly left of the gully and found easier going on the windblown tundra instead of the hardpack snow. Extremely windy on the ridge. With windchill definitely below zero. Some minor glissade opportunities coming down. I usually can hike 31 R points per hour and but strong winds and generally being out of shape meant that I did 29.5 R points per hour. 11 hrs 10 mins for us, included about 20 mins at the top. 
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-01-28, By: Buddyboy27
Info: Cielo Vista Ranch used snowmobiles to moderately pack route from HQ to 4wd lot. At least ankle deep for 1st 4.4 miles. Quarter mile section near 4wd area is hard crust over sugar, post hiking knee deep for those .25 miles. Above tree line, snow was much thinner and hard wind slab. Ascended straight up the gully that the creek at the 4wd lot leads to and experienced 4 or 5 small localized whoompfs. I don't think the gully is steep enough to slide, but not confidence instilling. -10 at summit and not too windy. ••• 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-01-24, By: boredguy800
Info: After talking to Carlos about the low possibility of weather (or so we thought) we decided to head up the mountain. Started the hike at 0700 from the HQ building. Snow and wind Saturday night mostly covered the boot tracks from the hikers the day before, but the road was easy to follow however. About an hour into the hike we started getting snow. The higher we climbed, it seemed like the flakes got bigger and bigger. We turned around at approximately 4.6 miles and 12,000 ft. Visibility was less than 100 meters in most places and the snow was coming down ~6-8 inches per hour. Sections of the trail we had hike twenty minutes prior were completely snow covered and windblown. Snow depth is greater than ankle/shin deep for most, if not all of the lower section of the hike now. Not sure if snowshoes will be needed after the snow get some sun and freezes again, it was powder the whole way and a pain to trudge through. 
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-01-22, By: Randy1983
Info: Perfect windy day. Started from the Ranch around 6:15am. Road was hard packed snow pretty much the whole way to the upper TH. Maybe 1 or 2 fairly icy spots on the ridge up to the false summit. The wind killed our pace and we made the summit around noon. We never needed traction(snow shoes or spikes) the entire trip. But they might have been helpful in a couple spots. Another hiker did make Red Mtn. but we decided to not attempt it with having a deadline for returning to the ranch. Made it back to the Ranch around 4-4:15pm. All in all fun trip with great views. Glad we missed the storm system. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-01-18, By: globreal
Info: The snow storm on 1/15-16 completely missed this area as there was no new snow. We left HQ at 6:40 and taking the advice of these conditions reports did not take snowshoes. They were still not needed as there is a boot pack the whole way in shallow snow. We too took the left trench at the upper 4wd parking as this looked more compacted. The route worked great. Up on the ridge it is mostly windblown & dry. We reached the summit at 12:28pm with a sunny, windless, stellar day! We enjoyed 35min on the summit. The return went quick. Back to HQ in 3.5 hrs for a total RT of 9hrs:50min checking out at 4:26pm. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-01-14, By: johnfegy
Info: Mirroring the reports from yesterday: Had to start from the HQ today...making a 14.5 mile round-trip without Red Mtn. Conditions were excellent and no one brought snowshoes (there were 8 today I believe). A couple of spots perhaps warranted micro-spikes, but nothing scary. I took the route to the left of the main drainage and others went right. Not sure which was faster, but I found the left route very straight forward as a clear path was already set, and I only post-holed maybe 5 or 6 times total. Glad I finally pulled the trigger on Culebra...and it was quite an experience to do as a Winter Ascent. 
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