Ascent of Elk Mountain on 2012-05-19
|Others in Party:||My daughter Christina and dog Daisy|
|Date:||Saturday, May 19, 2012|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Location:||USA-New Mexico|
| Elevation:||11661 ft / 3554 m|
Ascent Trip ReportLast year I started hiking 11K New Mexico peaks because I have hiked all the 13K peaks and was running out of 12K peaks. I have 15 to go. The season for the 12K and above peaks is from mid-June until the first part of October because of snow. My son was stopped, because of snow, over Labor Day hiking the Pecos Peaks a couple of years ago. The 11K peaks extend the season and this is the first time I have hiked peaks in May.
My daughter Christina has a real joy for peakbagging. My other 3 daughter do not. We left the house Saturday morning at 5:45, May 19, 2012 and headed north to the Pecos Wilderness. Our plan was to hike 2 peaks. I took a 12 pound pack just to keep in shape and we took along our dog Daisy. Daisy has probably hiked more mountain peaks than any dog in New Mexico. We took NM highway 63 north of Pecos for about 15 miles then turned to the east on highway 646 (The maps say 645) It took us about 2 hours to get to this point from the Albuquerque area. The dirt road to the east definitely needs a 4WD vehicle. This road is about 14 miles long and took us an hour and 15 minutes to drive to our parking place. The total drive was 3 hours and 15 minutes from home. You can drive to the top of Elk Mountain but I have a little problem claiming a peak that I do not have to work for. We decided to park about 2 miles away, hike the road to skyline ridge, then up the ridge to the peak. We parked at the intersection of highway 646 (645) and 393.
It was a cool crisp morning with clear sunny skies. We started at an elevation of 11,236. We hiked up the road to skyline ridge then headed up the ridge to the south. There was quite a bit of snow on the north side of Elk Mountain and we found our feet sinking up to our knees at times. Still there were lots of places that did not have snow. It got much colder and we had to put on our heavy jackets. We reached an open area. There was no more snow. We hiked up a steep incline to the top of Elk Mountain, elevation 11,661. It was cold and windy. It was about 1.8 miles from the SUV and it took us about 50 minutes. We looked around and took some pictures then headed to Mt. Barker.
To the south was almost total devastation from a forest fire some years ago. We hiked at the edge of burned out area and headed to the ESE towards Mt. Barker. If it were not for the burned woods we would have had to have done lots of bushwhacking. Mt Barker did not get burned out and the last quarter of mile was an obstacle course of logs. I have never hiked a peak without a good view, but this was it. It was solid forest and we found the top by the GPS. No panoramic pictures. We took a picture holding out the GPS so we would know this picture was taken from the top of Mt. Barker, elevation 11,455. It took us 3.1 miles to get to the peak from the SUV and 1 hour and 45 minutes.
I saw on the map that there was an old road to the north of Mt. Barker, down a steep incline. We headed down. Being that it was the north side there was lots of snow and I went first, trudging deeply, and Christina following in my steps. About half way down we saw fairly fresh bear tracks and I took a picture of the tracks. After a steep hill, snow and log hopping we came to an unused road that was half covered with snow and the other half snow free and easy to hike on. We welcomed the flat ground. By now we were warm and it went from feeling like a winter day to a nice summer day. I am not usually fond of dandelions but they were spectacular with yellow color. Many other spring flowers were coming out. We reached the low elevation of our hike. 10,880. It was a nice hike back to the car on old roads. The total hike was 6 miles and it took us 3 hours and 20 minutes to hike. I felt God really blessed us, keeping us out of a mess. I noticed the lights were on, on my SUV. My other car has warning buzzers. The Land Cruiser does not. Right beside the dead SUV was an ATV. The car would not start and I asked if they would jump the car and they were happy to. It only delayed us one minutes. On the hour drive down I noticed there was no one coming up and I believe if they were not there I would have had to re-hike the peak to get phone reception and it would have been late at night getting help. I was grateful to God for the perfect timing! We had a double cookie dough blizzard at Dairy Queen and had a nice drive home.
|Summary Total Data|
| Elevation Gain:||425 ft / 130 m|
| Route Conditions:||Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground|
| Elevation Gain:||425 ft / 130 m|
| Route:||Skyline Ridge|
| Trailhead:||11236 ft / 3424 m|
|Ascent Part of Trip: Elk Mountain Loop (0 nights total away from roads)|
Complete Trip Sequence:
|GPS Data for Ascent/Trip|
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Peaks: climbed and unclimbed by Phil Robinson
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