Peak(s):  Lakes Pk  -  13,375 feet
Date Posted:  08/15/2014
Date Climbed:   08/12/2014
Author:  goingup
 Special me time in the Sangres  

Part 3......The Sangres

I have a friend Brian who owns a home in Crestone (Baca neighborhood) so I decided to go visit before heading home. I have passed through Crestone once before and found its eclectic charm worthy of exploration. I was mentally exhausted after the point fest so, Monday night I ended up staying in an RV park in South Fork due to the enticing .75 cent showers and my eye lids involuntarily closing.

Tuesday morning rolled around and I procrastinated by watching The Price is Right while drinking tea and stretching. RV parks are just as weird as RV's but by going directly into the belly of the beast I became a bit (not a whole lot) more tolerable. Brian's house is in a confusing mess of dirt roads, he had to come find me. Property in Crestone is cheap, I don't know how with the Sangres being the back yard but this place is a loop hole...a million dollar view at a reasonable price, his house is incredible. The Peak to Needle traverse is the view from his living room couch and a step outside revealed Kit Carson's prow in all its glory. He showed me around town, took me on a tour of the most environmentally friendly homes I have seen (they are all solar powered and work with the natural landscape), and we went to the mineral hot springs. It was a most enjoyable day.

Brian's backyard, jealousy inducing view.


A Ziggurat with Crestone Peak and Needle behind.

The town free-box...I picked up a little sovnienier here.


I had mapped out California Peak from the Zapata Falls TH as the mountain I wanted to climb in the Sangres and I am sure it would have been a fine choice but it was rather far away from Brian's and in the opposite direction I needed to go so I started entertaining other ideas. A few people recommended I do Mount Adams but a little research revealed it a bit spicy and I was craving bland. I really wanted to run something. I had had my fill of spicy off trail peaks and wanted a simple solitude soul searching get lost in thought trail run. I ran my finger down a map and saw Electric Peak and Lakes Peak, after reading one trip report either or both sounded perfect. You know what I LOVE about the Sangres? The extra low elevation of the trailheads, it really made me feel like I earned this summit.

15.5 miles
5,500 feet of gain
4.5 hours

The weather was unfavorable for Wednesday and I slept in late (6 a.m.), oh well, guess that means I will have to move faster. I got completely lost trying to get out of Brian's neighborhood and getting to the Major Creek Trailhead took some time. It was a good dirt road to the 8,600 foot start and I was on the trail by 8:30 a.m. And I ran, oh did I run, wild and free...trail running is my favorite activity. The trail gains elevation and then loses about 600 feet as it drops down into the Major Creek drainage. Though most would not enjoy the mandatory gain on the way back, I looked forward to it. I love pushing myself when I am exhausted.

At mile three I fell hard directly on my right hip bone. I laid there for about 10 seconds before getting up and running harder. The trail was narrow, rocky, flooded, over grown with thorn bushes, and there was a downed tree every fifty feet. Every time a large mountain revealed itself it served as a reminder of how far I had to go. It was absolutely perfect.

Beaver Pond.


Run wild.

There were two fields where I completely lost the trail. It took a little work and a few curse words to get back on track.

What the F? Field #1

Am I getting closer?

The "trail" skirted a run out and entered what the F? Field #2


Wrap around the trees to the right.

The trail was rolling up and down, up and down, by Major Creek for about 6 miles until it begins to climb steeply out of the trees and switchback up to the saddle between Lakes Peak and Electric Peak. The gain was invigorating.


The side of the mountain was riddled with these complex little shop of horror plants. The creepiest stinging bugs found residence in their thorny thickets. As I would run by them I was engulfed in a cloud of bzzzzzz, bite bite, sting, sting. I am still covered in itchies.




I got to the saddle around 10:30 a.m.

Looked left...
Lakes Peak

Looked right...
False summit 13,220

Without much thought I started climbing 13,220 thinking it was Electric Peak but quickly realized how wrong I was. Having watched storms build over the Sangres and shoot bolts of lightning down the day before, with a much harsher forecast, and the reality that Electric Peak was not close, I decided to go for Lakes Peak.

From saddle to summit was an 800 foot climb on grass than talus. I made the summit around 11 a.m.


Electric Peak in the far left distance.

Clouds building rapidly.

The summit had a register and some thunder. Still I sat, had a snack, watched the clouds swirl, and reflected on how wonderful the past 6 days had been. I would run big mountains every day if I could.





Moving off the talus the threat of a storm was real; not to thrilled with the thought of getting hit by lightning, satisfied with my summit, and looking forward to the run out I decided to head back to my car.


A few pieces of grapple pelted me in the noggin as the mountains growled me off. The run out was so much fun as I leapt over logs and dodged pricker bushes. I met the gain at the end with a fierceness I have developed through months of training and returned to my car a happy sweaty mess by 1 p.m. I never saw another person. Complete. Solitude.





This mountain, this trail, gave me exactly what I was looking for and was a fantastic end to a fantastic adventure.

I know this will be one of my least read trip reports but oddly enough it was one of the most fun to write and my favorite day of the road trip. There is something so primal about running through the forest to the top of a peak and back down. Running is better than therapy, nothing else in my life has filled the restless void, and to be able to combine running and mountain climbing, well........ it's perfection. Mountain running has my heart and is why I will always like summer the best.

As my summer comes to an end I look back to June 23rd of last year and remember my first 14er, Mount Bierstadt. I thought I was in decent shape but it took me eight hours round trip from the standard route. I remember the struggle, followed by the addiction. It is incredible what I have accomplished in fourteen months and I do not mean the summits I have attained. The accomplishment I speak of is much deeper, it comes from facing myself, my fears, and my laziness (something we are all born with). I made an active decision that I wanted to run up and down big mountains. My run up and down Lakes Peak was the collective cumulation of fourteen months of hard work. Do you know where I was at 6 a.m. every winter morning before differential equations class? Running up and down the Jeffco mountains, freezing my ass off. Do you know where I was until 11 p.m. every night? In the climbing gym practicing lead falls, something I am terrified of. I had one hour free in the middle of my busy school day, I was in yoga class. Hard work pays, if you want something and you put in the time, it will be yours.

As I made myself food at my car I did not think of the summits, instead I thought of the person the mountains have made of me; strong and independent.

Now, I know most of you do not know my sorted past (we all have one) but to call myself strong and independent and mean it is a big deal. I will never climb mountains to conquer or check a box or finish a list or get approval, I will continue to climb because it is making me the best possible version of myself and really that is the secret to happiness. It's taken me a while but I think I am starting to figure this whole life thing out

I am a here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand. Henceforth will I apply all my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy. ~~ Og Mandino

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions
Jon Frohlich

Well, this should be read...
08/15/2014 20:55
The last part was beautifully said and expressed. Congrats on being who you want to be and finding this awesome hobby that gets you there. A lot of us have reasons to be out in the mountains that we don't talk about much but being out there makes us happier people and that's an amazing thing.

The best sort of trip.
08/15/2014 21:32
A goal, a challenge, an adjustment, a metaphor. Very pleasant TR.
The mountains offer a lot. Congrats on what appears to have been a successful series of summits.


Gettin After It
08/15/2014 21:35
Way to make a good run of peaks this summer. Enjoy the recent TR's, as well as your sentiments throughout. Peaks have a funny way of helping us all figure 'it' out (whatever 'it' is), don't they? Thanks for sharing and your openness.


Cool trip!
08/15/2014 22:01
The mountains are a great place for reflection.....or diff-eq homework!


mountains suck
08/16/2014 05:42
quite a thrill to see hard work pay off both in life and fun.


best report yet!
08/16/2014 09:55
great read, and amazing photos! As someone who's seen how strong person you are I can totally relate to the sentiment. Princeton sparked a desire to climb, to do more, to be more and to most importantly play an active role in my own life. I picked up my life and came here to be in the mountains and learn from them. here I am, high on thin air.
Thanks for sharing K


Thank You !
08/17/2014 02:44
What a splendid source of motivation you are! I've looked at that valley many times and wondered about it......Now I've added it to my quiet little bucket list. Not to conquer....just to savor.


08/18/2014 03:32
...there is a better reason to climb mountains than what you so beautifully described in your closing words, I certainly am not aware of it. This TR and your perspective on life are an inspiration at so many levels!


08/19/2014 02:18
Thank you all for the kind words...I honestly thought this report would be overlooked so I let my emo-fountain spew. Meant every word.


Love them all, Kay
08/19/2014 03:46
Not much more to say than that.


TR Read
08/19/2014 23:27
Your TRs are fantastic! Are you serious about your 1st 14er? Wow. Congrats on where you are now!!


08/20/2014 02:45
Thank you Jay.

@quackquackcolorado I am dead serious. I worked really hard to get where I am at right now

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