Peak(s):  Cuatro Pk  -  13,487 feet
Date Posted:  06/08/2011
Date Climbed:   06/08/2011
Author:  mikefromcraig
 Cuatro and Maxwell  

If you are coming from the north take I25 South to Walsenburg and then exit on to highway 160 west. Then exit onto highway 12 (aka highway of legends). Take this until you loop around North Lake on your left. Less than a mile after you drive by the lake take your first right. This road will dead end at pergatory campground. about 200 yards or so before you get to that campground there is a 4wd road to your left. It has a road number sign but I forget what it is. This road heads pretty much straight toward Mt. Maxwell and ends after 3 miles. There are a couple campgrounds in the first mile and a larger campsite to the right almost to the end of the 3 miles. I was in a Forester and made it up without ever bottoming out but it wasn't easy. It's really steep and has a lot of loose rock. I definitely wouldn't try it in any passenger vehicle. A 2wd suv with less than the 8.5" clearance I had might even be pushing it. Also, due to the steepness I wouldn't try it if the ground is wet. You can pull over to the left and park when you get to the fork at about 2.5 miles. If you are having a real hard time you should definitely stop here because the last 0.5 miles is the hardest. There wasn't a drop of snow on the road until about 300 yards away from the top.

I'm not sure what the rules are on how much elevation gain is required to summit a 13er but the 4wd road gets you almost up to treeline so if you are a stickler about that look it up and bring an altimeter.

If you pull up the map of all Colorado 13ers on and set it to "hybrid" and zoom in you can clearly see the road off of highway 12 and then, if you look more closely, you can see the zig zag 4wd road that takes you 3 more miles

Unfortunately I can't give any great advice for the hiking part. I never found a trail and I'm pretty sure my route was far from the most efficient. I'd recommend printing the topo map from and bringing a gps. I can say that from Maxwell to Cuatro is the hardest part but it's nothing more than class 2. Maybe class 2+. If I had been more intelligent about it I probably could have done the whole thing without ever going through more than a 15 foot stretch of snow. And it has been pretty hot down here so the snow is melting fast.

There is actually a sign in sheet/tube at the top of Maxwell which I was very surprised to find on a southern colorado 13er.

I never saw another person but it was a wednesday. I don't mind meeting a couple new people but I really don't like getting to a summit and finding a denver/colorado springs block party in progress.

I got lucky with not a lot of wind but southern colorado has some extremely high windy days. I'm 180 pounds and I've been knocked off my feet before on such days so you may want to check that first.

So if you don't want to drudge through all the new snow in the northern part of the state and don't want huge crowds this is definitely worth checking out. Although if you are coming down here to do 13ers and don't mind only doing one you should probably do west spanish peak. It's much more impressive.

I hope this helps. Email me with any questions.

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