The Lonely Latirs:
In 2010 I walked through the Latirs for the first time. I couldn't stop picking out all the ski lines I hoped to do. It was in the early fall of my first year in New Mexico, September I think. There was no snow, and the sheep and elk were plump from a summer of grazing the high grass lands. I had seen some pictures of this sweet place online and made a point of hiking the bowls and taking pics of the couloirs in their rocky, snowless state.
Latir, itself, means 'beat or pulse' in Spanish, and is most likely a reference to the heart of the Sangre de Cristo ('Blood of Christ') Range in which this group is found. The altitude and elevation gain does get the heart pumping, and to get up into the alpine zone certainly isn't the easiest approach around. Rather, its an all morning job. And, as the map below shows, the approach from Cabresto Lake is either steep, or long, or both.
I chose a reasonable day loop that excluded the premier northern peaks and couloirs, but that gave a taste of what was out there. Being early November (in an El Niño year) there was some fresh and superb snow, yet the avalanche danger had not taken hold do to the lack of layers, wind effects, and the like.
I started off bushwhacking up a ridge that was never easy, but that became less brushy towards the top.
|Finally at full snowmen at 12k|
|This is looking down my first line, into an unnamed drainage with what looked like an old rock glacier. I dubbed it Rock Glacier Bowl.|
|My first line is the one in the left center, and the turns were great, even with the sharks...|
|An amazing face on unnamed Point 12456' with 6-800' of drop and plenty of lines for spring.|
|crystals were already starting to form just a few days after the storm|
|After hiking back up (line on the right) the entire Latir group came into view again. Wow!!! This is looking into Bull Creek (where I rode a trail out to the main trail and trailhead).|
|Second lap down into Bull Creek. The snow was variable but good for early November.|
|The trail was well cleared and led me neatly down to where the snow stopped and the hiking started.|
|The Bull Creek trail is blazed and cleared!! Good for the up or down.|
Finally back after 7 hours out. Cabresto Lake was still and cold. I hadn't seen anyone all day... Life was good, and I was good and tired.