Exploring the Neighborhood – Pagosa Peak

Over the weekend I jumped in the car and headed for the cabin in Pagosa. I didn’t know what the plan would be given the forecast. Didn’t care. Worst case scenario I’d sit in a hammock all weekend, beer in hand, and catch a few sunsets. If I’m being totally honest, I really just wanted to test the new hammock. 🙂

Pagosa Peak had taunted me for all of 2015. I googled it a few times, but info was limited. Coming from Denver I had a hard time just figuring out the forest roads. Not to mention I wanted to hit it in winter and didn’t know whether or not that was even logistically possible. What could one see from up there I wondered?

Peak: Pagosa Peak (12,640′)
Where: Weminuche Wilderness
Participants: solo

  • August 7, 2016 – “Standard” route via the 2WD summer “trailhead” (8,700′): 11.5 miles, 4,000′ gain. (FYI – From the 4WD trailhead (10,170′): 3.5 miles, 2,500′ gain)
  • February 28, 2016 – From the winter road closure (8,200′), then standard route: 16.5 miles, 4,500′ gain.
Route Overview – winter and summer. (Click to Enlarge)

Friday, August 5, 2016: 


Saturday, August 6, 2016:

Full disclosure. I actually made a full weekend of exploring this area and also hit this peak on Saturday (the day before this TR) from the east via the Fourmile TH. Most, if not all humans, don’t go this way. I’ll save that trip report for another day after I get a do over. I fell in a stream, my camera crapped out, and I was lost in the Wemi for longer than I’d like to admit. Let’s call it Pagosa Peak via a tour de Fourmile Canyon.  You’ll be hard pressed to find any info from this side. To be continued…

Thought this was a solid shot to the east before I got completely swallowed by the inversion.

Sunday, August 7, 2016:

Back to this trip report. Finding the trailhead is more than half the battle. If you reach the end of Black Mountain Road, back up. Your as dumb as me and missed the official “trailhead” on your left after the last big curve. I’m putting “standard” and “trailhead” in quotes because even from this approach there is no standard route or marked trailhead on a map.

Trailhead. (Click to Enlarge)

Once you find the trailhead the only thing you need to know is that you’re going up, FAST. From the 4WD TH (10,170′), it’s about 1.75 miles and 2,500′ vert to the summit. If you begin at the 2WD gate (8,700′) add about 4 miles each way. Do it in winter and add another 2.5 miles each way.

Why go through all this trouble for a 12er?

Taken from the Summit of Pagosa Peak, August 7, 2016, looking back at the false summit. Pagosa Springs way down there to the south.
Summit of Pagosa Peak. Wemi and more Wemi. View to the northwest into some of CO’s finest.
Met the crew from Voormi clothing company (based in Pagosa) on the way up. This pup belongs to them. He approves.
Summit of Pagosa Peak – August 7, 2016. Thanks for the photo Voormi gang.

Rewind – February 28, 2016:

The winter outing. This was a 14 hour affair that kicked my @ss.

I actually never saw this dude, but it was damn nice to know that I wasn’t the only one who’d be eaten by Wemi Sasquatch on this day.
No trail. Just a B line for that big rock.
Summit of Pagosa Peak – February 28, 2016.
Took this shot for my mom with the timer. It was her birthday. Happy Birthday Mom! Summit of Pagosa Peak – February 28, 2016.
Back at the ranch. Sunset from the cabin – February 28, 2016.

Fast forward back to real time. Another trip down here in the books, each one a little better than the one before. From the little old lady in the coffee shop who always remembers my mug, to sipping on a post-climb Powder Day (or 6) at Pagosa Brewing, to the folks who still ride their horses to work, thanks for the hospitality, Pagosa! Until next time.

Pagosa Peak reigns tall over small town America.
The End.

Thanks of reading. It’s almost college football season. Get excited. Cheers!

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