Blanca Peak

Last updated
Blanca Peak
Sisnaajiní(in Navajo)
MtBlancaEast.jpg
View of Blanca Peak (left of center) from Mt. Lindsey
Highest point
Elevation 14,351 ft (4374 m) [1]
NAVD88
Prominence 5326 ft (1623 m) [1]
Isolation 103.4 mi (166.4 km) [1]
Listing
Coordinates 37°34′38″N105°29′09″W / 37.5772269°N 105.4858447°W / 37.5772269; -105.4858447 Coordinates: 37°34′38″N105°29′09″W / 37.5772269°N 105.4858447°W / 37.5772269; -105.4858447 [2]
Geography
USA Colorado relief location map.svg
Red triangle with thick white border.svg
Blanca Peak
Parent range Highest summit of the
Sangre de Cristo Mountains,
Sangre de Cristo Range, and
Sierra Blanca Massif [1]
Topo map USGS 7.5' topographic map
Blanca Peak, Colorado [2]
Climbing
First ascent August 14, 1874 by the Wheeler Survey (first recorded)
Easiest route Northwest Face/North Ridge: Scramble (Class 2/easy Class 3)
Blanca Peak Tripoint
Highest point
Elevation 14,326 ft (4,367 m) [3] [4]
Parent peak Blanca Peak [4]
Listing Colorado county high points
Coordinates 37°34′40″N105°29′07″W / 37.577824°N 105.48541°W / 37.577824; -105.48541 [4]
Geography
Location Tripoint of Alamosa, Costilla, and Huerfano counties, Colorado, US High point of Huerfano County. [4]

Blanca Peak (Navajo: Sisnaajiní) is the fourth highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the U.S. state of Colorado. The ultra-prominent 14,351-foot (4,374 m) peak is the highest summit of the Sierra Blanca Massif, the Sangre de Cristo Range, and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The fourteener is located 9.6 miles (15.5 km) north by east (bearing 9°) of the Town of Blanca, on the drainage divide separating Rio Grande National Forest and Alamosa County from the Sangre de Cristo Land Grant and Costilla County. The summit is the highest point of both counties and the entire drainage basin of the Rio Grande. Below the steep North Face of Blanca Peak two live Glaciers once developed, until extinction sometime after 1903. North & South Blanca Glaciers were located at 37° 35N.,longitude 105° 28W. Blanca Peak is higher than any point in the United States east of its longitude. [5] [1] [2]

Contents

The Blanca Peak Tripoint of Alamosa, Costilla, and Huerfano counties is located on the same drainage divide approximately 251 feet (77 m) northeast by north (bearing 30°) of the Blanca Peak summit at the boundary of the San Isabel National Forest. The Blanca Peak Tripoint is the highest point in Huerfano County. [4]

Geography

Blanca Peak is located at the southern end of the Sangre de Cristo Range, a subrange of the more extensive Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and is the highest peak in both ranges. It lies approximately 20 miles (32 km) east-northeast of the town of Alamosa. Approximately 15 miles (24 km) to the north-northwest is Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.

Blanca Peak is notable not only for its absolute height, but also for its great local relief and dominant position at the end of the range, rising high above the San Luis Valley to the west. For example, it rises nearly 7,000 feet (2,100 m) over the edge of the San Luis Valley in only 6 miles (9.7 km). [6] Blanca is also the third most topographically prominent peak in Colorado; it is separated from the higher peaks in the Sawatch Range by relatively low Poncha Pass at 9,019 feet (2,749 m).

Blanca Peak heads up three major creeks. Holbrook Creek is on the west, flowing from a basin including Crater Lake, Blue Lakes, and Como Lake. An extremely challenging four wheel drive road accesses Como Lake 11,750 feet (3,580 m), and provides the most common access to Blanca Peak. Most vehicles stop at an elevation of between 8,000 feet (2,400 m) and 10,000 feet (3,000 m) on this road. The Como Lake Road is a designated Alamosa County Road and runs to the edge of the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness just short of Blue Lakes. The Como Lake Road is rated as the most challenging 4WD road in Colorado. The Huerfano River flows from the north side of Blanca Peak. A road, starting out as a two-wheel drive road, then becoming a four-wheel drive road (less challenging than the Como Lake Road), provides access to the technical climbing on the North Face of Blanca Peak. Blanca Creek drains Blanca Basin under the south slopes of the peak, and Little Ute Creek descends from the Winchell Lakes on the southeast side. However these are not used to access the peak due to private property.

Three other fourteeners are nearby: Mount Lindsey to the east, Ellingwood Point to the north and Little Bear Peak to the southwest. Ellingwood Point is connected to Blanca by a short, high ridge, and is often climbed in conjunction with Blanca. Little Bear also has a high connecting ridge to Blanca, but it is a technical traverse, only recommended for highly experienced parties. [7]

The peak viewed from Smith Reservoir, south of Blanca Smith Reservoir.JPG
The peak viewed from Smith Reservoir, south of Blanca

Geology

The granite that makes up the Blanca massif is pre-Cambrian in age, dated at approximately 1.8 billion years old. The major part of the Wet Mountains to the east and the Front Range to the northeast are also pre-Cambrian, also about 1.8 billion years old. In contrast, the Sangre de Cristo Range to the north and the Culebra Range to the south are Permian rock between 250 and 300 million years old.

History

Blanca Peak is known to the Navajo people as the Sacred Mountain of the East: Sisnaajiní [8] (or Tsisnaasjiní [9] ), the Dawn or White Shell Mountain. The mountain is considered to be the eastern boundary of the Dinetah, the traditional Navajo homeland. It is associated with the color white, and is said to be covered in daylight and dawn and fastened to the ground with lightning. It is gendered male. [8]

Summitpost notes that "the first recorded ascent of Blanca by the Wheeler Survey was recorded on August 14, 1874, but to their surprise they found evidence of a stone structure possibly built by Ute Indians or wandering Spaniards." [10]

Historical names

See also

Related Research Articles

Sangre de Cristo Range American mountain range

The Sangre de Cristo Range is a mountain range of the Rocky Mountains in southern Colorado in the United States, running north and south along the east side of the Rio Grande Rift. The mountains extend southeast from Poncha Pass for about 75 mi (121 km) through south-central Colorado to La Veta Pass, approximately 20 mi (32 km) west of Walsenburg, and form a high ridge separating the San Luis Valley on the west from the watershed of the Arkansas River on the east. The Sangre de Cristo Range rises over 7,000 ft (2,100 m) above the valleys and plains to the west and northeast.

Fourteener

In the mountaineering parlance of the Western United States, a fourteener is a mountain peak with an elevation of at least 14,000 ft (4267 m). The 96 fourteeners in the United States are all west of the Mississippi River. Colorado has the most (53) of any single state; Alaska is second with 29. Many peak baggers try to climb all fourteeners in the contiguous United States, one particular state, or another region.

Sangre de Cristo Mountains Mountain range in Colorado and New Mexico, United States

The Sangre de Cristo Mountains are the southernmost subrange of the Rocky Mountains. They are located in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico in the United States. The mountains run from Poncha Pass in South-Central Colorado, trending southeast and south, ending at Glorieta Pass, southeast of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The mountains contain a number of fourteen thousand foot peaks in the Colorado portion, as well as all the peaks in New Mexico which are over twelve thousand feet.

Crestone Peak

Crestone Peak is the seventh-highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the U.S. state of Colorado. The prominent 14,300-foot (4,359 m) fourteener is the highest summit of the Crestones and the second-highest summit in the Sangre de Cristo Range after Blanca Peak. The summit is located in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness of Rio Grande National Forest, 5.0 miles (8.1 km) east by south of the Town of Crestone in Saguache County, Colorado, United States.

Mount Lindsey

Mount Lindsey is a high mountain summit on the Sierra Blanca Massif in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 14,048-foot (4,282 m) fourteener is located in the Sangre de Cristo Land Grant, 10.8 miles (17.4 km) north of the community of Fort Garland in Costilla County, Colorado, United States.

Kit Carson Peak

Kit Carson Peak is a high mountain summit of the Crestones in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. Officially designated Kit Carson Mountain, the 14,171-foot (4,319 m) fourteener is located 5.2 miles (8.4 km) east by south of the Town of Crestone in Saguache County, Colorado, United States. The name Kit Carson Mountain is used for both the massif with three summits, or to describe the main summit only. The mountain is named in honor of frontiersman Christopher Houston "Kit" Carson. The Crestones are a cluster of high summits in the Sangre de Cristo Range, comprising Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle, Kit Carson Peak, Challenger Point, Humboldt Peak, and Columbia Point. They are usually accessed from common trailheads.

Crestone Needle

Crestone Needle is a high mountain summit of the Crestones in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 14,203-foot (4,329 m) fourteener is located 6.9 miles (11.1 km) east-southeast of the Town of Crestone in Saguache County, Colorado, United States. The Crestones are a cluster of high summits in the Sangre de Cristo Range, comprising Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle, Kit Carson Peak, Challenger Point, Humboldt Peak, and Columbia Point. They are usually accessed from common trailheads.

Little Bear Peak

Little Bear Peak is a high mountain summit in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 14,043-foot (4,280 m) fourteener is located on the Sierra Blanca Massif, 8.8 miles (14.2 km) north by east of the Town of Blanca, Colorado, United States, on the drainage divide separating Rio Grande National Forest and Alamosa County from the Sangre de Cristo Land Grant and Costilla County. Little Bear lies 0.96 miles (1.54 km) southwest of Blanca Peak, the ultra prominent fourteener that is the highest point of the massif.

Ellingwood Point

Ellingwood Point is a high mountain summit in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 14,048-foot (4,282 m) fourteener is located on the Sierra Blanca Massif, 9.9 miles (16.0 km) north by east of the Town of Blanca, Colorado, United States, on the drainage divide separating in Rio Grande National Forest and Alamosa County from San Isabel National Forest and Huerfano County. Ellingwood Point was named in honor of Albert Russell Ellingwood, an early pioneer of mountain climbing in the Western United States and in Colorado in particular.

West Spanish Peak

West Spanish Peak is a high and prominent mountain summit that is the higher of the two Spanish Peaks in the Rocky Mountains of North America. The prominent 13,631-foot (4,155 m) peak is located in the Spanish Peaks Wilderness of San Isabel National Forest, 9.1 miles (14.7 km) south of the Town of La Veta, Colorado, United States, on the drainage divide between Huerfano and Las Animas counties. The summit of West Spanish Peak is the highest point in Las Animas County, Colorado.

East Spanish Peak

East Spanish Peak is a prominent mountain summit that is the lower of the two Spanish Peaks in the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 12,688-foot (3,867 m) peak is located in the Spanish Peaks Wilderness of San Isabel National Forest, 9.3 miles (14.9 km) southeast by south of the Town of La Veta, Colorado, United States, on the drainage divide between Huerfano and Las Animas counties. The Spanish Peaks are two large igneous stocks which form an eastern outlier of the Culebra Range, a subrange of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. East Spanish Peak is higher than any point in the United States east of its longitude; it is also the easternmost point in the United States over 12,000 feet (3,700 m), 11,000 feet (3,400 m), and 10,000 feet (3,000 m) feet above sea level.

Mount Adams (Colorado) Mountain in Colorado, United States of America

Mount Adams is a high mountain summit of the Crestones in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 13,937-foot (4,248 m) thirteener is located in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, 5.1 miles (8.2 km) east by north of the Town of Crestone, Colorado, United States, on the drainage divide separating San Isabel National Forest and Custer County from Rio Grande National Forest and Saguache County.

Tijeras Peak

Tijeras Peak is a high mountain summit in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 13,610-foot (4,148 m) thirteener is located 9.8 miles (15.8 km) southeast by east of the Town of Crestone in Saguache County, Colorado, United States, in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness on the boundary between Great Sand Dunes National Preserve and Rio Grande National Forest. Tijeras Peak is the highest summit in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Tijeras is Spanish for scissors, and refers to the double-pronged rocky tip of the mountain.

Mount Mestas

Mount Mestas is a mountain summit in the southeastern Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 11,573-foot (3,527 m) peak is located 3.2 miles (5.1 km) southeast of North La Veta Pass in Huerfano County, Colorado, United States. The mountain was known as La Veta Peak until 1949 when it was renamed in honor of PFC Felix B. Mestas Jr. who was killed in action during the Second World War.

Mount Zwischen

Mount Zwischen is a prominent mountain summit in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 12,011-foot (3,661 m) peak is located 32.1 miles (51.6 km) northeast of the City of Alamosa, Colorado, United States, on the drainage divide separating the Great Sand Dunes Wilderness in Great Sand Dunes National Preserve and Huerfano County from the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness in San Isabel National Forest and Saguache County.

California Peak

California Peak is a high mountain summit in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 13,855-foot (4,223 m) thirteener is located on the Sierra Blanca Massif, 12.1 miles (19.5 km) north of the Town of Blanca, Colorado, United States, on the drainage divide separating in Rio Grande National Forest and Alamosa County from San Isabel National Forest and Huerfano County.

Iron Mountain (Sangre de Cristo Range)

Iron Mountain is a prominent mountain summit in the southern Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 11,416-foot (3,480 m) peak is located 3.9 miles (6.2 km) west-northwest of the North La Veta Pass, Colorado, United States, on the drainage divide between Costilla and Huerfano counties.

Rito Alto Peak

Rito Alto Peak, elevation 13,803 ft (4,207 m), is a summit in the Sangre de Cristo Range of south central Colorado. The peak is 11 mi (18 km) west of Westcliffe in the Rio Grande and San Isabel national forests.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Blanca Peak, Colorado". Peakbagger.com. Retrieved January 2, 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Blanca Peak". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey . Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  3. The elevation of the Blanca Peak Tripoint includes an adjustment of +1.755 m (+5.76 ft) from NGVD 29 to NAVD 88.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 "Blanca Peak-Northeast Slope, Colorado". Peakbagger.com. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  5. The elevation of Blanca Peak includes an adjustment of +1.754 m (+5.75 ft) from NGVD 29 to NAVD 88.
  6. Blanca Peak on TopoQuest
  7. Louis W. Dawson II, Dawson's Guide to Colorado's Fourteeners, Volume 2, Blue Clover Press, 1996, ISBN   0-9628867-2-6
  8. 1 2 Robert S. McPherson, Sacred Land, Sacred View: Navajo perceptions of the Four Corners Region, Brigham Young University, ISBN   1-56085-008-6.
  9. Lapahie.com Archived August 14, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  10. "Blanca Peak on Summitpost". SummitPost.org. Retrieved 2011-05-07.