Day 27 – Climbing San Luis

Today was an early alarm to climb our next fourteener – San Luis.

4 am

Our alarm went off at 4 am. The inside of the tent was of course wet, but there was no time to dry it – we were on a mission. Seeing the Milky Way overhead made it so much easier to crawl out of the tent in the dark. Wet shoes and socks made it slightly more difficult.

The Trail Up

By 6:45 am we made it to the trail up San Luis Peak. My unneeded items were in my Ursack tied to a rock- definitely above tree line. It turns out we could have camped right at the saddle where the trail starts. It would have been rainy and exposed, but would have saved us 2 miles.

Sunrise on the way there

The trail for San Luis was no steeper then the Colorado Trail has been on this section. Most of it is over rock, but they are small with a clear path. I only had to use my hands in one short section. Compared to Mt. Yale it was a clear, easy path. It about a mile plus up to the top.

At the top we were above the clouds (and had cell service).

Sadly there was no sign at the top- only the USGS marker.

It was much nicer at the top then Mt. Elbert, sunny with just a little wind. We could actually take the time to relax, eat a celebratory Reese’s Cup and chat with the day hikers. The couple who came up with us has hiked 18 fourteeners.

The Trail Down

Just like every other climb, the way down is twice as fast. The moment we hit a flat spot we stopped to dry our tent. It was the first sun we had seen in days, and a wet tent is no fun to sleep in. It ended up being more of a blow dry then heat dry- but it worked.

The Trail Back

Back on the Colorado Trail we ran into two women we’ve hiked with before. The advantage of touring the Colorado Trail at the speed of the thru-hikers is getting to see our friends again. The disadvantage is that most of our trips are out and backs. That means we now had to hike back the exact way we had just come that morning.

You have to understand the agony of putting on cold wet socks and shoes to understand the happiness when they dry during your lunch break.

Of course at 2 pm it started to sprinkle. We made a good choice in putting on rain pants too, because soon the sprinkle was stinging hail. Once over our biggest climb, the rain died down and we headed back to our camp from the night before. This time though we have friends to chat with and clear weather.

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