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H-Files for Sept 10, 2009

Mt. Blanca: Sacred or Scary?

by Jaye Sudar

HUERFANO- Mt. Blanca is the fourth highest mountain in Colorado and is considered sacred by the Native American tribes of the southwest.  The Navajo creation myth says that First Man and First Woman came into the world bringing sacred soil to build the four mountains that mark the boundaries of the Navajo Nation.  Mt. Blanca called Tsisnaajini′ is the sacred mountain of the East.  Tsisnaajini′ means White Shell or Dawn.  The mountain is one that people treat with respect as a place of vision quests and mystery.

    The pyramidal shape of Mt. Blanca, while treacherous to climbers, appeals to those who see the mountain in a different light.  That part of the San Luis Valley is a hot spot for UFO sightings.  One of the early Spanish explorers wrote of the lights and odd humming noises heard near the mountain in his diary.  In April of 1996, a week-long UFO sighting was reported by a couple who said a bright globe of light was seen maneuvering the eastern flank of Mt. Blanca.  This happened every night between 8:30 pm and 10:30 pm.

    In February of 1998, a unit of military Special Forces supposedly stormed a secret underground alien spaceport located in caverns deep inside Mt. Blanca.  The troops apparently lost the battle even after using nerve gas.  Numerous livestock mutilations have been discovered on the southern flanks of Mt. Blanca as well.  Added to UFO sightings are sightings of skinwalkers and Sasquatch in the Blanca Massif area.

    Considering that the Massif has claimed its share of lives over the years, many climbers carry tobacco as an offering to leave at the top.  This gesture of respect is given for a safe decent of the talus slopes.  A climber from France who had climbed the Matterhorn was found literally crawling along the ridge line by local climbers one spring.  He swore that Mt. Blanca was the most terrifying mountain he had ever climbed, and that it was trying to kill him.  The climbers helped the man to the summit and shared the tobacco they had carried with them.  No one wanted to take chances on offending the mountain.  They all descended safely.

    Mt. Blanca sits at the head of the Upper Huerfano Valley.  It is an area where your compass will spin, and a GPS can′t get a lock.  The amount of ferrous iron in the geology of the area might be the cause. Or is it something else?