Ascent to near Cabresto Peak on 2011-06-26

Climber: Richard Oestreicher

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, June 26, 2011
Ascent Type:No Summit Goal
Place:near Cabresto Peak
    Elevation:3352 m / 11000 ft

Ascent Trip Report

I did this hike because the usual route into the Latir Wilderness via Cabresto Lake is closed for construction this summer, and an article in The Taos News recommended this as an access route from the west. From NM 522 I took a right to El Rito. The road makes a beeline uphill turning to gravel and appearing to dead end at a house with a big stone gate. A forest road swerves to the right around this house and then continues uphill. Road quality deteriorates rapidly. There are a couple of pull outs if you want to park and walk. At the end of the road I turned right, and continued for about a quarter mile before parking at a pull out. I have experience with rough New Mexico forest roads, but this one is very rough indeed. Having just spent $1500 on repairs to my Hyundai Tucson I decided not to risk further motorized progress. A high clearance, heavy duty, 4wd vehicle could make it to the wilderness boundary, slightly more than 2 miles ahead. I walked.

The road descends several hundred feet to Premero Creek. This unfortunately means an uphill climb on the return trip (when you'll be tired). It follows the creek up to the wilderness boundary at around 9300 feet. The route is easy to follow with good footing and only very gradual elevation gain (about 600 feet in two miles).

At the wilderness boundary the trail descends slightly. You'll have to climb many berms (to discourage vehicular travel) and hop over many fallen trees. I suspect that the forest service left some of these intentionally because there are far fewer of them after the first half mile. I ascended about 1700 feet in slightly more than 2 miles before turning around. Cabresto and Venando Peaks loomed ahead, so this route does offer potential access, but even if you have the appropriate vehicle to drive to the wilderness boundary (saving over 4 mi. from the round trip) this would be a steep haul to the peaks. The conventional routes via Cabresto Lake or Latir Mesa still seem like a better bet.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:880 m / 2889 ft
    Distance:14.7 km / 9.1 mi
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Stream Ford
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:880 m / 2889 ft
    Extra Loss:169 m / 555 ft
    Distance:7.3 km / 4.6 mi
    Route:Trail 87-Premero Canyon
    Trailhead:2641 m / 8666 ft
    Time Up:3 Hours 2 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Distance:7.3 km / 4.5 mi
    Time Down:1 Hours 36 Minutes

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