Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks known as “14ers” offer a unique challenge to amateur hikers and seasoned mountaineers alike. Adventure seekers come from all over including within the Centennial State to “bag” or ascend the summits. Reaching all the peak of all fifty-four 14ers has become a challenge to many with checklist T-shirts and even decks of cards to help spur on the challenge.
Now one of those heralded summits could be yours if the price is right. Recently one of the state’s 14ers, Culebra Peak, was listed for sale for $105 million. The mountain comes as part of a massive wilderness estate in the San Luis Valley that borders the Colorado-New Mexico State border. The 8,300-acre estate is known as the Cielo Vista Ranch which roughly translate to “View of Heaven.”
Are these types of real estate transactions out of the ordinary? They according to local experts. “Rarely do you see a private tract of land that has that type of mountainous areas,” said Pat Lancaster, broker for the Mirr Ranch Group selling the property. “Just the alpine country, with all the 13,000-foot peaks, let alone the one at 14,000 feet, it really doesn’t happen in the lower 48 (states), or anywhere that I know of.”
In addition to Culebra Peak, the Cielo Vista ranch also encompasses eighteen individual “13ers” or peaks whose summits crest above 13 but below 14,000 feet. The property spans twenty-three miles of ridgeline of the eastern boundary of Sangre de Cristo Range.
The property rights of the land date back before Colorado had even become a state. Early records indicate the land was sold to a French-Canadian trapper by representative of Mexico. The property would then be deeded to both Mexican and Spanish settlers.
The next several years saw bitter negotiations over the rights to the land. The Mexican and Spanish settlers argued that they should retain their legal rights to the land which had since been purchased by Colorado’s first territorial governor, a North Carolina-based logger, and most recently Texas-based rancher and land speculator Bobby Hill. The arguments reached the Supreme Court of the United States.
The next owner of the property no longer has to worry about any arguments or ongoing negotiations and can decide to carry on commercial enterprises on the land – or keep it for the people.
“That is the whole thing, they can continue on or do their own thing and keep it a private sanctuary for family, guests, business associates — however you’d like to do it,” said Lancaster. “But just the fact that ranch is what it is and the wildlife there, that’s more of a selling point than the commercial operation.”