Spread Eagle Peak (13,423')
"Peak of the Clouds" UN 13,524
Rito Alto Peak (13,794')
Hermit Peak (13,350')
June 1, 2013
10.9 mile loop
My goal was to get in the jeep and disappear for three or four days. My climbing partner Jake wouldn't be free until Monday, and we hadn't yet decided on a plan, so I packed the kitchen sink in preparation for anything - car camping, snow climbing, ridge running, hiking in, you name it, I was ready for it. As I 'waited' for Jake over the weekend, I thought it might be a good time to head to the Sangre de Cristo Range and dip my toes in the water. After all, I hadn't been above treeline since December. The Sangres, as usual, are closer to snow-free than their northern counterparts.
Alarm went off at 2:00. After a bit of dilly-dallying, I was on my way out by 3:30, and in Westcliffe by 5:00. I finally settled on a group of peaks - I would park at the 9,800' Taylor Road "trailhead" (if you can call it that), ascend 13,423' Spread Eagle Peak, circle around to the west and south, hit peaks until I got tired, then drop down to the Rainbow Trail and take it north back to the jeep.
|Taylor Road TH, 9800'. The last mile of road is pretty rough. The TH is more of a dead end than anything else, but if you're looking for solitude, you'll find it here|
|It was a nice trail...really!|
|Living tree, Spread Eagle Peak, Dead tree|
|Living up here is tough|
|Spread Eagle's SE ridge|
|Spread Eagle's summit, looking west. Hermit is on the left, Rito Alto in the center, and "Peak of the Clouds" (UN 13,524) is on the right|
|Rito Alto's east face, seen from the UN 13,524/Rito Alto saddle|
|Rito Alto's summit. Looking south to the Crestones...the view that never gets old!|
|Spread Eagle, UN 13,524', Rito Alto, Hermit from Taylor Road TH|
Once back at the jeep, it was time to regroup. I managed to eat an entire large pizza at R's in Westcliffe. I then made the quick drive to the Comanche/Venable TH to prepare for Sunday's adventure.