Peak(s):  El Diente Peak  -  14,159 feet
Culebra Peak  -  14,047 feet
Date Posted:  08/04/2008
Modified:  08/05/2008
Date Climbed:   08/01/2008
Author:  areedhay
 Ranges Apart- El D & Culebra  

El Diente

I foolishly left El Diente as one of my remaining mountains; I should have climbed it when I did Wilson or Mt. Wilson. So, I paid the price by climbing from the (dreaded) Kilpacker side.

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Kilpacker Trailhead and Delores
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El Diente from the trailhead

The route through the trees was pretty straight forward, and I reached the upper basin without a hitch.
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Upper Falls and the terrible scree

After following the south face up, it was a quick jaunt from the ridge to the summit.
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South Slope- Route zigs right, zags left, and then gains the ridge through an obvious gully
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Ridge
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Wilson Pk. and Sneffles from the summit

Coming down this mountain is an absolute pain . After a few miles of heinous scree, your legs become jello. It reminded me a lot of the West Slope on Snowmass. Don't get me wrong this route was gorgeous, but I have a feeling I might not be back this way for some time. I cursed the scree as I painfully limped back to my car. Well, from the westernmost fourteener to the southernmost.

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Blanca Group on the road

Culebra

If it hadn't been for the $100, this mountain probably would have been one of my favorites. I found myself with six other people who all lined up at the gate around 6am. Carlos came, collected our money, and sent us on our way (it's best to close your eyes as you hand him the money-it makes the process less painful). This climb went pretty quick from Fourway; it's fairly straightforward when you see the ridge you must gain. About half of the way up the initial slope, I was greeted by about one hundred head of Elk. A large bull Elk came bounding about 75 yards above me with a very careful (and intimidating) glance in my direction. I let him pass.

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Elk in bad light

When I gained the ridge I could see a small black bear in the adjoining basin. This place is amazing!

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Mega-cairn and false summit

With a leisurely stroll from here, the summit comes quicker than you think. I sat on top for a while, taking in the views of the Blanca group, New Mexico, the Spanish Peaks, and Red Mtn (summit pictures to be developed). I think"what with the past history of this mountain's closures"one hundred dollars is a small price to pay for this beauty. Sure, we'd like it to be free, but with such seclusion comes the added bonus of no trails, no wear and tear to the mountain, and the ability to see parts of Colorado as it might have been years ago.


Anyways, one left (Uncompahgre)!

P.S. Sorry the pictures contain no people. I found pictures are fairly lame when you're solo.



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

Screefest
08/05/2008 05:07
My friend and I just did El Diente last week via the Navajo Basin side. I don‘t think the word heinous comes close to describing the round trip conditions of this peak. I would recommend this trip for early spring or do Mt Wilson first then move on to Diente. Congrats to you!:


thop
Water?
08/13/2008 02:08
I think the pics are great! I am going up on 8/31 and really looking forward to it. Any water along the trail? I can‘t find any reference to any.

Do you plan to finish out with Uncompahgre this year? I am considering going from Culebra to Uncompahgre and Wetterhorn. What will you do after Uncompahgre and the 14er‘s?



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