Rito Alto Peak  
Condition Updates  
Route: Spread Eagle South Ridge from Hermit Pass
Posted On: 2022-08-08, By: CheapCigarMan
Info: No sniveling, Continue forward motion, no sniveling. Took two hours to drive from Westcliffe to the top of Hermit Pass. From the top of Hermit Pass hiked up to Rito Alto, then over to "Peak of the Clouds", then on to Spread Eagle Peak. Took the so called scenic loop back. I wouldn't describe this as a loop, instead it's an alternate descent. Perhaps, I wouldn't even describe it as an alternate way back. Seems someone decided to come off of the slopes of Spread Eagle Peak as a short cut. This is no short cut. The "loop" description is pretty lacking. A long slope walk, though one could have stayed on the ridge longer before descending down to Jearene Lake (which is currently dried up). Follow the bottom of the red rocks, the bottom of the cliff band. A slog through some willows. A gully ascent, though not bad, as the rock is pretty stable. Then pick your path up the slope to the road. Depending on where you come out at on the road it's another half mile or so road walk up to the top of the pass. Making it about a 1,400' ascent from where you bottom out before you begin your ascent again, near Megan Lake to the top of Hermit Pass. This so called short cut is not just a bad idea but a miserable slog back, IMO. Which was disappointing after such a beautiful morning hike on these pretty gentle and beautiful peaks. 
Route: South Ridge
Posted On: 2022-06-29, By: osprey
Info: I drove my 4RUNNER up the 4WD Hermit Pass road as far as I could tolerate and parked at the pull out at the entrance to the Rainbow Trail just as the fillings in my molars started to loosen. It is a 6 mile hike from the parking area up to the Pass summit but it goes pretty quick. It is a 2 mile RT from the Pass summit to tag both Rito Alto and Hermit Peak. The memorial on the Rito Alto sub summit for PFC Christopher Horns is missing the flag. There is a large PVC pipe at the memorial which I could not open. I think it may contain memorabilia of Horns. Does anyone have any information on why his memorial was placed here? Hermit Peak is a quick ascent after descending back to the Pass. On the descent from the Pass I met a soloist who was planning on also adding on Eureka. And way below the Pass 5 other guys were going up heading for Hermit. The soloist and the group of 5 parked way below the Rainbow Trail. Parking no higher than the Rainbow Trail pull out is morally, ethically, spiritually and physically superior to driving higher. It took me 9 hours for the 14 miles RT. It is probably best to do this on a non holiday week day to avoid the ATVs etc which must buzz up constantly on weekends. 
3 2
Route: South Ridge
Posted On: 2022-06-19, By: thebeave7
Info: Climbed Rito Alto from Hermit pass. Other than a few snow patches to dodge the route is clear. Continued South along the ridge to Comanche peak, no issues with snow, but water was hard to come by at times. 
Route: South Ridge
Posted On: 2021-06-15, By: CoHi591
Info: Hermit road is dry almost to the top. There is some snow on top of the road and a decent bit of snow on the south ridge/summit area but it can almost all be avoided if you want to, trail runners were fine. No snow on the route beyond Rito Alto to Peak of the Clouds and Spread Eagle. 
Route: South Ridge
Posted On: 2021-04-10, By: supranihilest
Info: From Hermit Peak's summit I dropped down to the flat expanses of Hermit Pass. I dropped my pack near a Forest Service marker and continued up Rito Alto with just my axe, which I didn't end up needing. There's some Class 2 talus and boulders and lots of snow on Rito Alto, especially the upper half or so, which is entirely on snow. To descend return to Hermit Pass and follow the road down, or, for a bonus 12er (12,671) head down to where the road begins switchbacking into the basin and follow the undulating, rocky bumps to 12,671's summit. There's some loose rock, lots of snow, and a fair amount of Class 2+ to Class 3 scrambling along the way, but it's generally solid and fun. I dropped down a southeast facing avalanche chute from 12,671's summit and the snow in it was garbage, up to thigh deep slop at times. Probably best to find another way down, plenty of dry ground up there right now. Send me a PM if you want photos of 12,671, I didn't post any here. Gear: If doing Rito Alto alone you only need flotation for the approach. I didn't use traction and didn't find my ice axe useful but depending on comfort on snow you might want either or both. My axe was useful for 12,671 in a couple of spots. 
5 2
Route: South Ridge
Posted On: 2020-09-28, By: mikemalick
Info: Dry all the way to the summit from the pass. 
Route: South Ridge
Posted On: 2020-05-16, By: Reg0928
Info: I parked at a campsite at around 10,900 ft. There is one large, steep drift high on the shelf section of Hermit Pass Rd to deal with. I didn't bring my spikes, and I made it across. That being said, it's worth carrying spikes to deal with that drift, as you'd slide for a little ways if you fell. One other large drift in the final switchback of the road can be avoided using the social trail above/near the road. No other snow to worry about. 
Route: South Ridge
Posted On: 2019-07-21, By: cottonmountaineering
Info: The road up to hermit pass isnt crazy bad, just has a lot of "baby heads" typical of roads around here, slow going. I walked from around 11,200 up the road as walking is about as fast as a 4wd truck would be going. Hermit pass is snow free until about 100 ft below the pass itself. Some nice cutthroat fly fishing in horseshoe lake. Pretty area, not too crowded, great camping. 
4 1
Route: South Ridge
Posted On: 2018-06-11, By: desertdog
Info: No snow on the route. You can drive as far up Hermit Pass Road as your truck can handle. We had plans to also climb Peak of the Clouds from Rito but the 40 to 50 mph wind got us. We ended up dropping off Rito's ridge and climbed on the east side (class 2 +) to avoid the wind. 
Route: South Ridge
Posted On: 2018-06-01, By: Jon Frohlich
Info: Sangres are scary dry. No snow to really mention. There's one switchback on the road that has snow but there's a dry bypass trail and it's a short section. Looked like July up there. 
Route: South Ridge
Posted On: 2017-06-08, By: desertdog
Info: We were able to drive about two thirds the way up the road. Very little snow on the route. Snowshoes not needed. The last 100 yards of the ridge was still snow covered with a few small cornices to work around. We climbed Hermit as well. Snow was avoidable on Hermit. 
Route: ridge from Spread Eagle to Eureka
Posted On: 2016-06-20, By: illusion7il
Info: started at the Gibson TH, ascended Spread Eagle and traversed over 13,524-Rito Alto-Hermit-Eureka, descended Hermit road to rainbow trail connection. This route is all clear. Any snow is avoidable. 
Route: north ridge
Posted On: 2015-07-06, By: FireOnTheMountain
Info: cruiser, cruiser, cruiser. snow can be avoided easily if desired. get it 
Route: South Ridge
Posted On: 2015-06-25, By: brerrabbit
Info: Did a fun link-up on 6/24 starting from the Gibson Creek TH and heading up to Lake of the Clouds. From there I hit Silver Peak-Peak of the Clouds-Spread Eagle Peak-Rito Alto-Hermit Peak. Only snow difficulties were on the Northeast side of Rito Alto when approaching from the Peak of the Clouds saddle but you can gain the ridge early with some scrambling and stay on rock the entire time by staying on the NW side of the ridge. Everything else was dry, only had trail runners, no microspikes or axe. Descent was down the Hermit Pass road to the Rainbow Trail and back to the Gibson Creek TH. The Peak of the Clouds north ridge was really fun scrambling on a mini knife edge, would highly recommend it. 
Route: South Ridge
Posted On: 2014-10-04, By: SnowAlien
Info: Sangres ridge runs are still in! Did Rito Alto to Hermit to Eureka. Snow starts around 12k, ankle deep in spots, quite manageable. Southern aspects are mostly dry. Brought gators and microspikes, didn‘t use any. Still some foliage, esp lower in the valley. Unreal weather with no clouds. 
Route: From Hermit Pass
Posted On: 2011-07-07, By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: Hermit Pass road is dry all the way up to a small patch of snow below the pass. The south ridge up Rito Alto is also dry. 
Route: Asc=Spread Eagle and 13524, Desc=Nth Taylor Creek
Posted On: 2011-06-05, By: IHikeLikeAGirl
Info: Left the Gibson Trail at ~10,000 ft and landed on the ridge at ~10,800 ft. Ridge proper to Spread Eagle had spotty snow and we did not use (nor need) snowshoes or traction (despite having them). Ridge to 13524 was pretty much snow free. Ridge to Rito Alto was snow free until ~.10 mi (or less) from the summit of Rito Alto. Used an ice axe to ascend the last bit to the summit. Snow was soft and we just kicked in without traction. Used and needed snowshoes on the descent down North Taylor Creek Trail. Before gaining the trail at the Megan Lake, it was either deep, soft, snow or thick willows initially. Once down in the trees, we lost the trail, and the snow was very deep and postholing was a huge issue...even with snowshoes at times. The trail was mostly dry by ~10,600. Two creek crossings for North Taylor Creek Trail were relatively high. Log crossings had 2-3" of water over them. Water next to the logs was close to 2 ft deep, with a strong current. Too deep and fast for my 32 lb, knee high, dog to wade across, and she had to be carried. A large, confident dog, probably would be ok, but I suggest holding onto a leash with the current. And with all the snow still high in the basin, it will not be going down anytime soon. Long cornice on the ridge between Rito Alto and 13254. Parts of it were breaking off in the afternoon heat. 

Return to the main Peak Conditions page
© 2022 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.