IN the daily report you’ll find information on Wednesday’s presentation by Ronald Rael at Adams State University, a new completed trail in Monte Vista by SLVGO, and how local farmers and farm managers can apply to the Colorado Master Irrigator program.

San Luis Valley Climbers Alliance Hosts
Inaugural True Penitence Climbing Fest

The San Luis Valley Climbers Alliance put on a show in the climbing heart of the Valley over the weekend. With a host of sponsors and partnerships from around Colorado, the first True Penitence Climbing Festival provided local and travelling climbers a celebration unlike anything the Valley has seen before. 

The climbing competition was the talk of the canyon, but alongside it there were costume climbs, sunrise yoga sessions, vendors, live music, prizes, a screening of ReelRock15, and a photo presentation from Mike Anderson and Bob D’Antonio. 

Adams State Adventure Program students volunteered alongside other local climbers and enthusiasts looking to take part in the festivities. The festival may have had a strong human presence, but the leave-no-trace attitude of the SLVCA went above and beyond to ensure that the land they celebrated on was returned to normal. 

Penitente Canyon is home to more than 300 sport climbing routes. The volcanic tuff that makes up the routes destroys fingers but draws climbers from all over the world. Most of the routes were established back in the late 1980s and 1990s. Now a preserved site, new routes are prohibited from being put up, but maintenance of old anchors and bolts is an ongoing event.

Monte Vista Wetlands Trail
is Now Open to the Public

MONTE VISTA – A first-of-its-kind trail has opened in Monte Vista. The Monte Vista Wetlands Trail is a roughly 1.5-mile-long loop. The area allows seamless and picturesque views of the San Juan foothills, of Bennett Peak, Windy Point, and Greenie Mountain. This trail provides more access for local and travelling birders. Most of all, the trail gives the Monte Vista community a quiet walk to enjoy year-round. 

Located just off of Chico Camino, behind Big R and SLV Federal Bank, the Wetlands Trail is easily accessible for anyone in town. This trail gives the community an opportunity to get outside without having to go too far. 

Patrick Ortiz, operations director of SLVGO, presented the project in March to the Monte Vista City Council. He spoke on the plan, the history of its conception, and also provided the news that SLVGO had secured a grant from GOCO (Great Outdoors Colorado) to fund this project. 

This project is the first of its kind within the Monte Vista city limits, but with more conversations being had about the uses of different public lands, there are sure to be more projects like this. 

In the future there will be an interpretive sign at the trailhead to inform people about the history of the land and the trail, information on the nearby Star Ditch, and why the trail may close at times to ensure the safety of wildlife. 

Climber Recovered from Kit Carson Peak 

CRESTONE – Search and Rescue team members recovered the body of 29-year-old Madeline Baharlou-Quivey from below the Kit Carson Peak summit on Saturday. Through the use of technical rope-rigging equipment, team members made their way into highly dangerous Class Five terrain, near an area of the summit descent known as “The Avenue.” 

The standard route to the Kit Carson Peak is regarded as Considerable Class 3. However, with inclement weather, high wind, and dwindling sunlight, the route can become treacherous.

Baharlou-Quivey sent a text message Monday, Oct. 11, stating that she was cliffed out. Tuesday morning search crews began canvassing the area for her but were forced to pull out due to high winds and snow. On Wednesday, her body was identified by aerial crews. It was apparent that she had died from a fall. Due to increasingly worsening weather the search teams were forced to abort their recovery efforts. 

“Conditions up there were extreme,” said Saguache County Sheriff Dan Warwick. 

The recovery effort was suspended until Saturday. Beginning early in the morning, technical team members deployed with the assistance of DFPC Cañon Helitack. They successfully recovered Baharlou-Quivey, and made it out safely sometime around 1 a.m. Sunday.

“It was a fairly large-scale operation,” said Warwick. 

Search teams from around the state responded to this mission. Saguache County Search and Rescue, Alamosa Volunteer Search and Rescue, Western Mountain Rescue, Custer County Search and Rescue, Chaffee County Search and Rescue, Alpine Rescue Team, the National Guard, and Department of Fire Prevention and Control’s Cañon City Helitack Crew were all involved. 

Madeline Baharlou-Quivey lived in Denver, where she was a nurse at Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center.

Renowned scholar Ronald Rael
headlines Adams100 Speaker Series

University of California-Berkeley professor and San Luis Valley native Ronald Rael will kick off the Adams100 Speaker Series at Adams State. Rael, the Eva Li Memorial Chair in Architecture and Director of the Masters of Architecture program at UC Berkeley, will give a presentation “New Ways of Building” at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 20. The event is free and open to the public.

Rael is a world-renowned artist and 3D print innovator. His iconic border wall project, created with Virginia San Fratello, won the Design Museum Design of the Year Award in 2020. He is the author of “Borderwall as Architecture: A Manifesto for the U.S.-Mexico Boundary.” He has several projects in the works in his native Valley.

Ronald Rael Ronald Rael

Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area
seeks three volunteer board members

The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area (SdCNHA) is seeking to fill three volunteer board member positions from residents in Alamosa, Costilla, and Conejos counties. If you enjoy cultural preservation, heritage tourism, and historical work, then come and thrive in a friendly and collaborative environment. The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area (SdCNHA) Board of Directors provides the opportunity for local residents to become engaged in a leadership role. Volunteers in these positions represent the voice of citizens in support of local heritage, preservation efforts, and the community-oriented mission of the Heritage Area. Must be willing to commit to one meeting per month and participation on sub-committees.

Applications can be found here. Completed application, a letter of interest, and a resume should be mailed or hand delivered to SdCNHA at the address noted below:

Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area
Attention: “Board Application”
P.O. Box 844
Alamosa, CO 81101

Or hand-deliver application to 231 State Ave. in Alamosa, or email to

Deadline for applications is November 15.

Colorado Master Irrigator program
taking applications

The Colorado Master Irrigator offers farmers and farm managers advanced training on conservation- and efficiency-oriented irrigation management practices and tools. This program is the product of efforts led by several local producers, district management representatives, and others. Colorado Master Irrigator is modeled on the award-winning Master Irrigator program created and run since 2016 by the North Plains Groundwater Conservation District in the Texas panhandle and now customized to fit the educational needs of the SLV.

Over four sessions, this 32-hour program reviews water law and administration, history of water development, and gives participants the tools and strategies to improve water and energy use efficiency and conservation, soil health, and profitability on their operations. Those who complete the course will also receive a $2,000 stipend. To be eligible for this course you must farm in either Rio Grande, Alamosa, Costilla, Conejos, Saguache or Mineral County.

To learn more please contact Marisa Fricke, Master Irrigator SLV program coordinator,, or call 719-589-6301. Farmers can sign up HERE

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