Ascent of Open Hollow North on 2012-02-21
|Other People:||Solo Ascent|
Only Party on Mountain
|Date:||Tuesday, February 21, 2012|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
|Peak:||Open Hollow North|
| Location:||USA-New Mexico|
| Elevation:||6535 ft / 1991 m|
Ascent Trip ReportCarlsbad Caverns National Park high point is on the west side of the park. Getting to the trailhead is an adventure that requires 4WD, high clearance, and good tires. The place to start is in the settlement of Queen on paved Hwy 137 west of the park. Queen is located along a high ridgeline and is a nice area with no services.
Zero your odometer in Queen and go 3.6 miles south of Queen, turn left on Guadalupe Ridge Road 540. Go another 0.7 miles and if you want the short easy way to the trailhead go left on Cougar Road. If you do what I did stay straight to Klondike Gap, then turn left on Dark Canyon A412 Road. Follow this road through about 6 miles of 4WD multiple wash crossings until you reach the bottom end of Cougar Road. If you drove through Dark Canyon, then follow A412 up about .7 mile to gated road 527 on your right. If you took Cougar Road down from Guadalupe Ridge Road, then follow it about 4.4 mile to gated road 527 on your left.
Go through the gate and shift into 4WD. Follow road 527 2.2 miles to signed road 5523 on your right and then follow road 5523 another 1.5 miles where it ends at Cottonwood Well where there is a cow trough and some solar panels.
I had an adventurous hike and I would not recommend my route to anyone. I climbed the hill behind the solar panels and on the right side of the creek. I followed the ridge until it intersected the old jeep road (now an occaisionally used ATV track) on the ridgeline. I follwed the jeep road until I was north of the pint marked 6535 on the topo. Here I left the road and bushwhacked along the ridge to the park boundary where I found a barb wire fence and a register in a Nalgene bottle next to a fence post. I bushwhacked back to the old jeep road and then followed the jeep road northeasterly all the way otu to the park boundary where it ended on a little hill just inside the park. My topo didn't show the jeep road going out to this spot, but it does and it also splits with the right leg going down to the Putnam Cabin.
Now I had about an hour of daylight left, so I picked up the pace. I came back and over point 6632 and down to the saddle marked as "Open Hollow". I could still see a drainage below and I thought it was the drainage back to my truck. I should have checked my GPS and map closer because this is the wrong drainage. I missed my route by just a couple hundred feet. I was in the dark (thankfully I had my headlamp) descending the drainage until I neared the bottom and realized I had to go around the end of the hill to get back to my truck. It was kind of miserable bushwhacking in the cactus in the dark. I wish I had found the road a hundred feet below. In any event, I got back to my truck safely well after dark. I would do this one differently next time by allowing more time for the hike and drive.
|Summary Total Data|
| Elevation Gain:||1656 ft / 504 m|
| Distance:||9.1 mi / 14.7 km|
| Route:||Cottonwood Well|
| Trailhead:||4879 ft / 1487 m|
| Route Conditions:||Road Hike, Open Country, Bushwhack|
|GPS Data for Ascent/Trip|
GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks: climbed and unclimbed by Dennis Poulin
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