West Spanish Peak (13,626′) | CO Rank: 183/637
Sangre de Cristo Range | San Isabel National Forest | La Veta, CO
10/12/19 | 7.46 miles | 2,655′ gain | Class 2
West Spanish Peak was Allie’s and my last snow-free summit of 2019. And to make it even more special, it was my very first peak in the Sangre de Cristo Range! One of my goals for 2019 was to climb a peak in each of the Colorado mountain ranges that I hadn’t climbed in before: Sawatch, Elk, Gore, San Juan, and Sangre de Cristo. I was only able to climb in 2 of those ranges this year, but that leaves only 3 new ranges for 2020, a very attainable goal.
West Spanish Peak is a majestic looking mountain, the 12th most prominent in Colorado. I was so excited to climb it!
We made the 4.5 hour drive and started down the West Peak Trail off Cordova Pass at 9:30am. A late start, but we had a full day of perfect weather ahead of us. We were a little worried about being cold in the wind so we bundled up, but then almost instantly stripped back down to our normal hiking clothes. It was WARM!
The view of West Spanish from the meadow along the trail is both gorgeous and daunting. I could NOT believe how far away it looked, and so STEEP! We plunged back into the forest, gaining minimal elevation over the first few miles of trail. Soon we arrived at the base of the talus slope, which marked the “real” start to our journey. Hello rocks.
Allie is a monster on talus, just crushing everything that comes before her. And I piddle along behind, huffing and puffing, expecting death at any moment. But we plugged along and the slope grew longer behind us.
Every now and again we’d take a break and check our elevation. We’re getting closer!
We knew there was a false summit that we’d hit first, and it snuck up on us. Only 150′ more now! We slogged up the final bit to the summit, but then there were some more bumps a bit farther that looked higher…so we trekked to those as well.
The first bump was the highest of course. The big cairn marks the summit. But the short walk along the summit ridge offered us some special views.
The dikes around West Spanish Peak were formed when magma rose up from below, filling fissures in the existing bedrock. Erosion then wore aware the surrounding rock, exposing lines (or dikes) of hardened magma. Geology rocks.
The wind picked up while we were at the summit, so we took only a short snack break before heading back to the car. What a perfect day for my first 13er in the Sangres!