Peaks Climbed: Trinchera Peak, "Leaning North Peak" & "Leaning South Peak"

Peak Heights: 13,517' / 13,100' / 13,203'

Route: North Ridge

Difficulty: Class 3

Location: Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Colorado

Trailhead: Forest Road 422

Mileage & Gain: 14 mi & 5,000 ft RT

Date Climbed: January 24, 2020

These peaks sit on the quiet southern end of the Sangre de Cristo spine and offer plenty of solitude. Trinchera Peak is the northernmost 13er in the Culebra Range, a sub-range of the Sangres whose centerpiece is 14er Culebra Peak. They're a fairly long haul in the winter, as none of FR 422 is plowed. I was able to drive approximately one mile mile up the road. An old snowmobile track continued for several miles but disappeared well below treeline.

On a previous late spring ascent of Trinchera I hiked the standard northeast slopes route, but today I opted for the north ridge to avoid any avalanche risk. The ridge looked like a walk from the approach, but it ended up having a nice little surprise in store. A short section of 3rd class rock covered with rime provided both eye candy and entertainment as a large bighorn sheep watched me from up high.

The ridge run from Trinchera to "Leaning South Peak" is a simple stroll, but I was starting to lose steam. It was tough to not continue south to nearby Cuatro Peak, but I knew I already had enough miles to go just to get back to the car. Cuatro would have to be tackled separately tomorrow. I returned to the saddle between Trichera and "Leaning North Peak" and from there descended east on steep, mostly windblown scree. Once in the basin below it was easy to traverse north and reconnect with the Trinchera Peak Road for the long slog out.

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