Peak(s):  San Luis Peak  -  14,023 feet
Date Posted:  01/24/2016
Modified:  01/25/2016
Date Climbed:   01/23/2016
Author:  Yikes
 San Luis - A path less traveled   

Mileage: 16 RT
Vertical: 5700
Time: 15 hours (you can probably do it quicker)
Team: summitlounger (Greg), mickey's grenade (jeff), yikes (Jim)

Playing the wait-and-see game of Winter 14ers, we were able to coordinate a last minute trip before the arrival of a forecasted storm. We considered both single day and camp-out options, settling on a single day push to take advantage of the beautiful weather on Saturday (and Jeff and I were reluctant to haul a heavy overnight pack down into the basin). Since Greg was heading from Crested Butte, Jeff and I met him at the trailhead at 5am. Note: the Bachelor Rd was well plowed and had a huge parking area.

The valley up to the Equity Mine sees a fair amount of snowmobile traffic, so no trail breaking was required until we started to head up to the saddle.
Jeff ready to leave the beaten path

Greg breaking trail to saddle

Nice views

San Luis from the saddle

Let's NOT go that way

Jeff had setup camp low in the trees on the prior weekend, having to cut the trip short due to a storm. He had planned on climbing up a rib to gain the 2nd saddle.

We expected a fair amount of snow down in the basin floor and our expectations were met. It was a very steep drop through the trees in deep snow. It wasn't too bad trenching the deep snow since we had gravity on our side (having to trench up that steep hill would have been awful). Once we reached the bottom (11200), we made a traverse around the hill trying to avoid losing any unnecessary elevation. A few spots of waist deep snow were challenging, but otherwise we made slow but steady progress.
Greg dropping off the saddle

Heading to the trees

Down in the valley floor

Deep snow trying to escape the creek

Once we reached the base of San Luis proper, we fought our way out of the creek bed, climbed up increasingly steep snow, and eventually gained the ridge. The ridge provided a snow free ascent.
The start of the LONG climb

Starts out relatively smoothly

Taking a breaK

Climbing up

winter "bypass" down at lower right

Enjoying the views

topping out

After a quick stop on the summit (a little longer for Jeff and Greg), we descended off the mountain back to the valley floor.
Greg teaching Jeff how to lounge



I was struggling with foot pain, so made my way slowly back up the steep hill side and back to the saddle (1100' gain on the return). The hike down the road to the vehicles was a death march, but these things typically are.


our route

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Excellent Report
01/24/2016 22:32
Congrats on getting the summit. A question for Greg: Do you feel the tail fins on your Lightning Ascent snowshoes help? I have the exact snowshoes and am wondering if getting the fins is worth it.

Strong effort!
01/25/2016 09:34
Way to go Jim, Greg, and Jeff...on getting the most remote 14er in winter. That's a long haul back there! Good job!

01/25/2016 13:09
Surprised to see Greg wearing a coat, and pants, and gloves as I'm pretty sure he spent the night in shorts and a T last winter outside my tent....

Strong work fellas!

Nice work team
01/25/2016 15:31
But now I feel like a bit of a wuss! Maybe we should have just sucked it up and tried this as a day trip a couple weeks ago.

Way to be
01/25/2016 22:42
Getting after it and visiting the most remote 14er in January.

"The hike down the road to the vehicles was a death march, but these things typically are."

Well said.

Well done!
01/26/2016 08:51
And nice pics

Summit Lounger
Winter 14ers are always fun......
01/26/2016 17:10
youngk2844- I am glad I brought the tails. I think once the trenching is more than knee deep it is worth it. Jim has the same shoes, and I was floating better. He claimed I was lighter than he is, but it was the tails. In hindsight, Jeff probably would have brought his 36" shoes knowing what was in store for us. It is hard to know how much or how deep the trenching will be at the TH. Is it worth it to carry the extra weight? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It was worth it on San Luis- it has a reputation.
Abe- if I were to wear my birthday suit on the summit of my winter finisher, would you attend?

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