Peak(s):  West Spanish Peak  -  13,626 feet
East Spanish Peak - 12683
Point 11,594 - 11594
Date Posted:  11/07/2010
Date Climbed:   11/05/2010
Author:  Furthermore
 Gaining Prominence on E & W Spanish   

West Spanish Peak 13,626
Point 11,594
East Spanish Peak 12,683

November 5, 2010
Trailheads: Top of Cordova Pass and Wahatoya TH (4WD)
Total Mileage: ~16.7 Miles, Total Gain: ~6,500

Hiking toward West Spanish during sunrise.

The alarm went off earlier than I would have liked at 3:00 AM and shortly thereafter, I was driving to Colorado Spring to meet up with my climbing partner Al. After I met up with Al at 4:30 AM, we made the drive to La Veta where we followed Colorado 12 to the top of Cucharas Pass. From the top of Cucharas Pass, we made a left turn and followed a Forest Service road for 6 miles to the top of Cordova Pass.

We geared up and we were hiking up the excellent West Peak trail by 7:30 AM. From all of the other 13eners I have been climbing lately, it was a nice change to have a great trail. Eventually, we broke out of the trees and started our way up West Spanish Peak's southeast ridge. Again, the trail was quite a delight as we worked our way toward to the top. Al had read a trip report of someone complaining about some loose obnoxious talus on this route. That wasn't the case and that chap needs to go climb some San Juan 13eners and report back.

Getting closer to West Spanish

In the shadow of West Spnaish

The southeast ridge of West Spanish.

Al working his way up West Spanish.

The last bit to the summit of West Spnaish.

With perfect weather and little wind, we topped out on West Spanish Peak at 9:40 AM. Wow. Some of the best views in the state. We followed the well traveled trail back to the car arriving at 11:20 AM, took a short break, and continued directly south to the top of 11,594. The views weren't as good and we returned back to the car at 12:00 PM.

Al making his way toward the summit of West Spanish.

East Spanish from West Spanish.

Neat dikes.

360 view on West Spanish.

Now for the most complicated part of the day. Finding the Wahatoya trailhead. I had some "good" directions and if street signs existed, the directions would have been good. Here are some updated directions to the Wahatoya Trailhead. If you have a decent map La Veta, navigation isn't a problem. We did not have a good map of La Veta and Delorme conveniently puts La Veta right at a page change.

Take Colorado 12 south through La Veta. When you are on the very south end of town and about to leave town, Colorado 12 bends right (3 orange right turn arrows). Take a left turn (east) on Cuchara Street (UNMARKED) which is just past the closed Blue Rooster Bar and Grill, a wood building. Follow Cuchara Street for .2 miles where it will bend right (south). After the bend, follow this road for .9 miles and make a left turn (east) where there is a sign for Huajatolla Valley. Take this road for .4 miles (if you continue straight, there is a Dead End sign) and then make a right turn (south). Follow this road for 5 miles and look for a 4WD road on the right. There is a small wood sign marked Wahatoya Trail at the beginning of the 4WD road. Follow the easy, narrow 4WD road to the start of the Wahatoya Trail.

That might save you 30 minutes or more of driving in La Veta. I now know the back roads well on the east side of La Veta.

After 30-40 minutes of frustration, we finally found our way and made it to the Wahatoya trailhead (~9,800) at 1:20 PM. Shortly thereafter, we were hiking our way up the Wahatoya trail at 1:30 PM and after about 2 miles up trail, we reached the saddle, marked by a wooden post and a cairn, between East Spanish and West Spanish. From the saddle, we took a left onto a climbers trail and followed the trail up the west ridge of East Spanish.

First good view of East Spanish on the Wahatoya trail.

Although the trail wasn't as traveled as West Spanish's, it was fairly easy to follow and between ~10,400-11,000 the trail steepened dramatically. The trail pretty much ended at treeline, and from there was a stable talus hike to the summit. Unfortunately, the last .3 miles were very deceiving and we arrived on the summit at 4:30 PM with perfect weather. I think East Spanish had better views from the summit than West Spanish.

West Spanish at ~10,400 on East Spanish.

Out of treeline on East Spanish. West Spanish in the background.

Al working his way up the talus on East Spanish.

Last bit up East Spanish.

It is only .3 miles.

Al making the final steps up East Spanish.

Al making the final steps up East Spanish.

360 degree view on East Spanish.

Since daylight was limited, our break was short and we returned on the route we ascended. Once we hit the trail, we hustled back to the car arriving just before dark at 6:30 PM. This was perhaps one of the best November ascents I have had with no snow, very little wind and crystal clear skies. I dropped Al off in the Springs and arrived home at 10:15 PM and passed out.


Sunset over Blanca.

Route Map.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
cool report
11/08/2010 02:50
thanks for posting. the weather looked great - beautiful area, too

Beautiful area
11/08/2010 17:49
I've been up West Spanish Peak a couple times, but it sure looks like I need to return for East Spanish Peak. Thanks for the beta. Such a beautiful area with great views.

Chicago Transplant
Nice Stuff
11/09/2010 18:05
Great day, and some very useful information on the routes, thanks! I hope to be spending some time down there next spring/summer as we are working on a project in the area, so I will be putting your La Veta driving directions to the test!

Thanks for the trail info and pics
11/10/2010 17:59
definitely on the to-do list for the next year.

11/10/2010 20:41
Where is the great pictures of you on that 11er?

11/11/2010 22:53
Mike - Hopefully those driving directions will not let you down like mine did.

Al - Um.. yeah... not a real big fan of the ”tree” photos. The others were much more exciting.

spokes of a wheel
11/12/2010 19:13
Those rock dikes are cool! I first met Gladbach years ago when he lead a CMC trip up there, and I remember him describing the dikes looking like spokes of a wheel.
You sure do get around and out a lot Furthermore!
Thanks for posting, I might have to revisit the Spanish Peaks someday.

One of my favorites plus beta
01/19/2011 03:38
Even though it's an easy hike, W. Spanish would be one of the five peaks I am most happy about experiencing and making the summit of in 2010. It's a magnificent mountain with amazing views.
Thanks very much for the driving direx and info on East Spanish. That's a non-14er P2k that wont be hard to find partners for.

Super report - it works!
09/05/2011 22:13
Thanks for posting this report, this weekend I hiked both peaks exactly like you did except I came Friday Night, slept in Cordova Pass and stayed in Wahatoya TH till sunday morning. I also did not hike the 11594 pt. Your report helped me a lot to organize the trip for one day hike and also to find the CR360 in La Veta. I was always thinking of those two peaks driving around them and finaly hiked to their smmits and it was worth of it. The views are just amazing and the area had much less people than the most of 14ers.

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