Peak(s):  Hunts Peak  -  13,071 feet
Date Posted:  12/12/2010
Date Climbed:   12/11/2010
Author:  luckyzsquirrel
 Hunts Pk. N tip of the Sangres   

This peak offers one of the best 360 views I've yet seen. An the northern end of the Sangre de Cristo's you get a great view of the Sangre's the S Sawatch, the S. Mosquito's and even Pikes Peak.

Climb Stats:
5.1 miles, 3100' gain

Conditions: few inches to a foot of snow (not bad at all), the road was quite passable with a good EXCEPT for a few hills where there was a sheet of ice under the snow.

I was originally planning on hiking closer to home, but as the N. half of the state had a very nasty forecast.I headed S. to the Sangres. After skimming trip reports decided to do Hunts Peak.
Driving through S Park on the way there

Way nicer near Antero Junction

Hunts Pk from Poncha Pass

To get there drive 4.75 miles S of Poncha Pass to a turn off on the left over a cattle guard (thanks to DHatfield trip report for this detail). From here follow the sings to Rock Creek. Up to the crossing of S Rock Creek the road wasn't bad at all. But around the creek crossing there was a sheet of ice under the snow.
follow the signs

road in the open

road in the tress

icy spot near the river crossing, basically a controlled slide

Where I have "trailhead" marked on the map is where another road heads up S Rock Creek, the 1st part of the trail actually a pretty rough 4x4 road. I was able to drive up it a little and save me a mile or so round trip (and about 500' in elevation gain). In the summer you could probably get up even further, but there is a large tree in the road (on the map).

Basically follow the road till a tight switch back and head straight up the hill ~1000' vertical (the road actually continues just a little further but doesn't get you much higher). Its a very steep climb to the ridge, but I don't think there's anyway around it.
heading up the hill to the ridge

winter wonderland

looking down at the ridge

Once on the ridge the remainder of the route is obvious and Hunts Peak is in view (though over 1000' gain still left).
Hunts Peak from the Ridge

up top

Up to reaching the top of the ridge it was nice enough for me to wear nothing but "fleece" gloves, a soft shell jacket and pants. The ridge itself was quite windy and I needed to add a hard shell jacket and pants and beefer gloves.

The views up top are AMAZING. Pictures are better than I can describe.
Hunts Lake

Looking N up the Arkansas Valley. Salida

Looking S down the Sangres

Pikes Peak in the distance

Buffalo Peaks (S end of the Mosquito Range)

Shavano and Antero

Mt Ouray



Driving out I took a different route (to avoid the river crossing), there unfortunately was a bit of ice this way too, and once you are out of the trees there is a lot of social trails to make finding your way out confusing.

My advice driving would be to come in the way I did but stop BEFORE the icy river crossing and leave the way you came. In the summer of course this wouldn't be an issue.

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

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Comments or Questions
always more peaks to consider
12/12/2010 21:34
thanks for the report, will keep this one in mind

Love the Sangres!
12/13/2010 03:28
Great stuff - love the pics.
Sounds like an excellent choice with the current conditions.
Spent some time in the Sangres this summer when the monsoon flow was hitting the San Juans and Elks - excellent, often drier, alternative. Agree with you, the northern Sangres are fabulous!
Thanks for posting!

Nice Pics.
12/13/2010 14:50
Great pics/route map. Doesn't look as snow covered as I imagined it would in December. Did you see anyone else out on your hike? Just curious how many others are out this time of year...

Jesse Peterson
12/13/2010 15:37
Cool TR, thanks for posting. I climbed Hunts this summer and was in awe of the views as well. Thinking of a multi-day trip in Sangres next week, conditions look vastly different from the Tenmile/Mosquito.

SWEET pics!

12/13/2010 16:23
for all the comments.
Greenhorn: I did not see anyone else on the hike, there were some tire tracks already in the snow on the parts of the road up to the trees, but it the road through the woods was tire track free. I tend not to see anyone on 13er hikes unless its one by a 14er .
Jesse: A multi day in the Sangres is always worth it, one of the most dramatic ranges in the state.

12/14/2010 03:24
Nice photos and perspective - I flew over the Sangres this evening en route to Albuquerque

That ice...
12/14/2010 14:51 deep water in the springtime, especially during the runoff. I clearly remember probing with our poles to make sure we could cross it, and we *barely* squeaked through without soaking the floorboards, or sinking into mud! Just a word of caution for folks venturing out via this route - check it out before you commit to it :-) Great report, and yeah, those views! Looks like you made a great choice and avoided the usual quad-burning trail-breaking that comes with high peaks this time of year.

Very nice ..
12/15/2010 22:59
What a beautiful day you ended up having! We opted to do this peak from the other side of the range (our vehicle could not make the creek crossings) ... your route looks much more direct. Thanks for posting. Happy trails!

Photo 15
12/16/2010 16:49
Love that shot looking down the SDC range. Beautiful!

It was also neat to see the lake - I used to fish some of the lakes in the Sangre in winter - still have a backpackable ice auger I made for the purpose. I've never drilled the ice on Hunts, but been up there a few times in summer - would love to see under the surface at that deep end - looks like the ice is solid up there - likely 2-3' thick on the lake where the cracks are. You can usually see right through it. I need to get up there.

Nice report, thanks. Good to see current conditions in the Northern Sangre. We were down south on Sunday and it was dry.

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