To scale a "fourteener," it helps to possess
the body of a goat and the nerves of a test pilot. To climb
14,047-foot Culebra Peak in southern Colorado, you also need to
join a club.
Culebra Peak is part of the
77,000-acre Taylor Ranch near San Luis, Colo., which was sold last
year to Lou Pai of Western Properties Investors (HCN, 8/16/99:
Taylor Ranch sells). Pai changed the name to Culebra Ranch and also
denied automatic access to climbers. While ranch manager Jim Barron
says access to the peak "is still being defined," he adds that the
nonprofit Colorado Mountain Club will handle all requests.
According to club members, Barron may allow just one climb in July
for a limited number of climbers, and all must belong to the club,
which charges about $50 for membership.
has a long and controversial history. Originally part of the Sangre
de Cristo land grant, it was considered common land for hunting and
fishing by San Luis residents for generations. When the ranch was
bought by Zachary Taylor's father, Jack, in 1960, access was closed
off and decades of local protests and lawsuits followed. Another
blow to residents near the ranch occurred in 1994, when Zachary
Taylor allowed logging on the ranch.
To check on
how climbers are selected, and when to scale Culebra Peak this
summer, call the Colorado Mountain Club at 303/279-3080.