The West Spanish Peak

Las Animas & Huerfano Counties, Colorado

Bill hiking the West Peak Trail
Bill, my climbing buddy, on the trail between Cordova Pass and the rock face
Climbing face of the West Spanish Peak

This small group of photos commemorates days spent climbing up and down the side of the West Spanish Peak.

The first time around, Bill and I arrived at the trailhead on Cordova Pass (11,248') at 8:30 am in beautiful September weather. It was a two mile walk to the treeline where we came face to face with the rock slope. There is a trail going up but it is easily lost in the scree. The Forest Service has "improved" the trail: quite often it is completely lost. Most of the cairns we came across were leading straight into the scree and we knew better than to go there. Along the way we crossed several rock buttresses, a couple of them had water flowing down their faces and pooling at the bottom. By carefully picking our way through the rock and staying close to the edge of the rib we got to the top ridge pretty easily.

The ridge on top is ten to thirty feet wide but it falls away quickly to the north and south. The view is nothing short of spectacular. We looked around, shot film, ate lunch, toasted life, and then climbed back down. The return to the Pass took less than three hours, not because we were tired so much as because of the angle of the slope.

The climb isn't too bad, no technical expertise is required but you want to be healthy, unsmoking, and prepared for the air at 13,656' above sea level. Late spring into early fall is the best time to climb.

Pictured on the left is the climbing face from the Cordova Pass Trail. The trail goes along the ridge and then into the left side of the couloir that runs up through the center of the face.

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on the trail
On the trail
getting closer
Getting closer
getting closer
Getting closer
above treeline
Looking up just above treeline
rock buttress
A rock buttress along the way
closer to the buttress
Closer to the buttress
looking down
Looking down to the west
looking down
Looking down to the northwest
looking down
Looking down to the north
summit ridge
The summit ridge
looking down
Looking down to the north
looking back
Looking west across the couloir we just climbed
East Spanish Peak
The East Spanish Peak from the summit
looking south
Looking south from the summit
the summit cairn
Bill at the summit cairn
West Spanish Peak trail mapScenic Highway of LegendsScenic Highway of LegendsCordova Pass
West Peak Trail map logo
Photos courtesy of, CCA ShareAlike 3.0 License.
Map courtesy of National Geographic Topo!
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