San Luis Peak

Date to Climb: July 13, 2009

Date Cimbed: June 22, 2009

Elevation: 14,014

Range: San Juan

Latitude: 37.98680, Longitude: -106.93110

Route: Northeast Ridge ll, Class 1

Round-Trip Mileage: 13

Pre-Climb Comments

A class 1 hike should be easy, but it still is a thirteen mile day. We will probably still feel the jarring from the drive to the trailhead. Not looking forward to the drive back out. San Luis is supposed to be the most remote Fourteener.

Post-Climb Comments

We left Leadville after a much needed rest day. It felt great to wash clothes, the car, and ourselves. Our plan was to go to the San Juan Range with hope that they would have less snow. To make the schedule work, we had to put four days of climbing into three days. We needed good weather for our plan to work. Monday was forecast as a perfect day without afternoon storms. We could climb San Luis in the afternoon.

San Luis is the most isolated of the Fourteeners. The easiest approach, which we took, involved a long dirt road. After two jarring hours we stumbled upon the trailhead. The drive had magnificent scenery. We hardly saw a soul and the only building were working ranches. The road to San Luis is the true ’out west’ experience.

At the trailhead we met a father and son who too had been searching for the trailhead. They lived in Lake City (our next destination) and told us about a shortcut to get there.

We left the trailhead as soon as possible hiking through a large meadow. The total distance was between nine and twelve and a half miles, depending on who you trust. It does seem to be odd that the distance can vary three and a half miles, that is close to two hours hiking!

A truck had been at the trailhead when we parked. When we saw the first hiker (3 total), Jake and I surprised him. On closer inspection the guy was walking down the trail carrying bear pepper spray in his hand. He was truly loaded for bear. We wondered why he seemed so worried about bears and then wondered if we should be concerned.

The hike to the summit was on a good trail, but it was long. For some reason the afternoon hike seemed harder than our usual morning hike. We had both hoped that after a day of rest and good food, we would be ready to run up the mountains. Not quite! We struggled every step of the way, much like when we first arrived.

San Luis

Amy descending talus field on San Luis

After touching the summit we hiked quickly down the graded path. The roundtrip time was only six hours and fifteen minutes. It was a hard day for us, but it was not over.

San Luis Peak - June 22, 2009 summit check