Sangre de Cristo Range 14ers: Complete Guide

Are you up for the challenge of tackling the peaks of the Sangre de Cristo range? With 10 14ers to choose from, this mountain range is sure to test your skills and provide stunning views. Explore our comprehensive route guides, safety information, and Leave No Trace tips to ensure a successful and sustainable climb. Select a peak from the list below to view its route in detail and start planning your climb today.

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Explore Colorado's Spectacular Sangre de Cristo Range 14ers

The Sangre de Cristo range is a remarkable array of mountains nestled in the heart of Colorado, USA. Aptly named ‘The Blood of Christ’ in Spanish, this range is renowned for its crimson-hued peaks during sunrise and sunset, creating an awe-inspiring spectacle for all who witness it. What sets this range apart is the ten majestic mountains each standing over 14,000 feet, famously known as the “fourteeners”. These mountains not only dominate the skyline but also pose a thrilling and rewarding challenge for hiking and climbing enthusiasts.

Beginning with the tallest, Blanca Peak stands at an impressive elevation of 14,351 feet. This is followed by Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle at 14,300 feet and 14,197 feet respectively. Kit Carson Peak and Challenger Point are next in line, towering at 14,165 feet and 14,080 feet respectively. Humboldt Peak and Culebra Peak stand proud at 14,064 feet and 14,047 feet, closely followed by Ellingwood Point and Mount Lindsey, both peaking at 14,042 feet. Last but certainly not least, Little Bear Peak stands at 14,037 feet. Each peak offers its unique blend of natural beauty and challenge, making a trip to the Sangre de Cristo range an unforgettable experience for mountaineering enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Getting to Know the Sangre de Christ 14ers

Our route guides include all the info you need to have a safe ascent. Start planning your trip to the Sangre de Cristo range below. If you aren’t sure where to get started, consider climbing a peak in the Front Range like Mount Bierstadt which are better options for beginners.

Blanca Peak

Blanca Peak, located in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains, is one of the highest peaks in Colorado, standing at an elevation of 14,351 feet. The mountain’s distinct white peak is often covered in snow, and it is considered a challenging climb for experienced hikers and climbers. Blanca Peak is also known for its stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the San Luis Valley below.

Ellingwood Point

Ellingwood Point is a popular 14,000-foot mountain peak located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Colorado. The trail to the summit features stunning views of the surrounding mountain ranges, including the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The climb to the peak is challenging but rewarding, with rocky terrain and steep inclines that require hikers to possess some experience and skill.

Little Bear Peak

Little Bear Peak is a 14,037-foot mountain located in the Sangre de Cristo Range. It is a destination for experienced hikers and mountaineers seeking a challenging climb with exposed ridges and steep terrain. The Hourglass Gully on the northeast face of the mountain is one of the most dangerous on any peak, requiring careful navigation and skill. Climbers should prepare for loose rock, difficult route-finding, and high rockfall risk.

Southern Colorado 14ers: Mount Lindsey

Mount Lindsey

Mount Lindsey is a majestic peak located in the Sangre de Cristo Range of Colorado. It stands at an elevation of 14,042 feet and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Unfortunately, due to landowner liability concerns (the peak is on private land), Mount Lindsey is currently closed to the public. Visitors are encouraged to check back for updates regarding its reopening.

Southern Colorado 14ers: Culebra Peak

Culebra Peak

Culebra Peak is the only 14er that is on private property and charges a fee for admission. In exchange for a $150 payment, you get to experience the only class two fourteener standard route without a trail. Thanks to the limited number of people who climb, the entire route has remained in its native state, providing a rustic route-finding adventure unlike any other class two Colorado 14er.

Crestone Peak

Crestone Peak is a majestic mountain standing at an elevation of 14,294 feet in Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo Range. This class three peak is one of the more challenging 14ers in the state. It attracts avid hikers and mountaineers from all over the world. The route involves a hike to South Colony Lake, up and over Broken Hand Pass, and up the ‘red gully’ to reach the peak. It’s a long but rewarding climb.

Crestone Needle

The Crestone Needle is one of the state’s most famous 14ers, and one of the most difficult to climb. It was the last of the Colorado 14ers to be climbed due to the rugged and exposure nature of the peak. Just a half mile away from its twin, Crestone Peak, the traverse between them is one of the four great traverses in the state.

Kit Carson Peak

Kit Carson Peak is a 14,167-foot mountain in the Sangre de Cristo Range of Colorado. It is the 23rd highest mountain in the state and is named after Kit Carson, a famous American frontiersman. The peak offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys and is a popular destination for hikers and climbers.

Humboldt Peak

Mount Humboldt is a 14,070-foot mountain in the Sangre de Cristo Range of Colorado. It is the 26th highest mountain in the state and is named after Alexander von Humboldt, a German scientist and explorer. The class two peak offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys and is a popular destination for hikers.

Challenger Point

Challenger Point is a 14,087-foot (4,294 m) mountain in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. It is located in Saguache County, Colorado, United States. The mountain was named in 1987 in honor of the lost crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Challenger Point is a challenging climb, but the views from the summit are well worth the effort.

Getting Ready For the Sangre De Cristo Range 14ers

Tackling these 14ers requires rigorous preparation, a high fitness level, and a profound respect for nature. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your journey.

  1. Physical Fitness and Acclimatization: Ensure you are in good physical condition before attempting to climb a 14er. These peaks demand a lot from your body. Additionally, allow yourself time to acclimate to the altitude if you’re coming from lower elevations. Altitude sickness is a real concern when hiking at these heights.

  2. Start Early: Weather can change rapidly in the mountains, and afternoon thunderstorms are common in Colorado. Aim to reach the summit and start your descent before noon to avoid being caught in a storm at high altitude.

  3. Proper Gear and Clothing: The temperatures can fluctuate significantly, and weather can be unpredictable on 14ers. Dress in layers and ensure you have rain and windproof clothing. Bring a sturdy pair of hiking boots, a topographical map, compass, headlamp, first aid kit, whistle, and a multi-tool or knife.

  4. Hydration and Nutrition: High altitudes can cause dehydration quickly. Always carry plenty of water, and drink frequently, even if you’re not thirsty. High-energy snacks can also help maintain your energy levels throughout the climb.

  5. Stick to the Trail: The trails are there for a reason. Staying on them not only prevents you from getting lost but also helps protect the environment from damage.

  6. Know Your Limits: It’s important to understand that not every attempt to summit will be successful. Listen to your body. If you feel unwell, turn back. There’s no shame in prioritizing your safety, and the mountain will always be there for another day.

  7. Emergency Plan: Before your hike, inform someone about your route and your expected return time. Carry a fully charged phone or a two-way radio for emergencies. Be aware of your surroundings and know how to act in case of lightning, wildlife encounters, or injuries.

Leave No Trace and Protect the Peaks

Preserving the natural beauty of the Sangre de Christo Range 14ers is a responsibility we all share. Adhere to the principles of Leave No Trace, which include disposing of waste properly, leaving what you find, respecting wildlife, and being considerate of other visitors in the outdoors. Learn more.

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A: The Sangre de Cristo Mountains, translating to “The Blood of Christ” in English, received their name due to their striking red appearance during sunrise and sunset. As the sun’s rays strike the peaks, they often take on a deep, blood-red hue. This dramatic display led early Spanish explorers and settlers to christen these mountains as the Sangre de Cristo range.

A: The highest peak in the Sangre de Cristo range is Blanca Peak, which stands at a majestic 14,351 feet. It’s a significant draw for climbers, offering both a challenging ascent and awe-inspiring views from the summit.

A: The optimal time to climb the Sangre de Cristo fourteeners is typically from late June to early September. These months offer the most stable weather conditions. However, mountain weather is inherently unpredictable, and snow can fall even in the summer, so always check local forecasts and conditions before your trip.

A: The Sangre de Cristo range is home to diverse wildlife. You may encounter mule deer, bighorn sheep, black bears, mountain lions, and various species of birds. Remember, it’s important to respect all wildlife, maintain a safe distance, and absolutely do not feed them.

A: Climbing a fourteener requires a moderate to high level of fitness and some experience with high-altitude hiking. Conditions can change rapidly, and the terrain can be steep and rugged. Beginners should consider starting with a less challenging hike and working their way up to these peaks.

A: Essential items include sturdy hiking boots, layered clothing, a rain jacket, plenty of food and water, a map, compass, first-aid kit, headlamp, and sun protection. Remember, it’s crucial to prepare for various weather conditions and potential emergencies.

A: In addition to general hiking safety, such as sticking to the trail and informing someone of your plans, it’s vital to be aware of altitude sickness symptoms when climbing these peaks. Start your hike early to avoid afternoon thunderstorms, and always be prepared to turn back if conditions worsen or you’re not feeling well.

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