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Ascent of Cerro Olla on 2012-07-25

Climber: Phil Robinson

Others in Party:My daughter Christina and dog daisy.
Date:Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Cerro Olla
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:11932 ft / 3636 m

Ascent Trip Report

One of the things that I enjoy the most about peak bagging is seeing beautiful parts of New Mexico that I otherwise might never see. My 15 year old daughter Christina and I hiked two peaks in an area that I had never been before. The two peaks are sandwiched between the Wheeler Peak mountains to the north, highest peaks in NM, and the Truchas Peak mountains to the south, the second highest range. We hiked Cerro Vista, elevation 11,939 and further to the south on the same ridge Cerro Olla, elevation 11,932. We left the house 5:00 AM on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 and headed north to between Taos and Espanola. We turned east on highway 580 from the town of Embudo and continued until the road changed to highway 75. We traveled about a half hour from Embudo and came to Forest Road 76. We turned north on the well maintained dirt road. It is a beautiful green lush valley with a little stream flowing through it and lots of great camping spots all the way up. The first 10 miles are great for a passenger car. The last 2 miles are very, very rough and need a 4WD. After 12 miles on the dirt road, and about 30 minutes, we parked at a saddle below the peak. The distance to the peak was about two thirds of a mile, as the crow flies, and the starting elevation was about.11,100 feet. It was a beautiful, mostly clear, crisp, cool morning. We also took along our peak bagging dog Daisy. We started hiking at 8:45 AM and hiked straight up the hill to the peak. The entire area was beautiful, green and lush with many colors of wildflowers. You could tell that there was a forest fire in the area, maybe 75 years ago, and the forest was rebuilding. Many, many smaller blue spruces were growing amongst the old burned out logs. We crossed many logs, chugged a little and the views got better and better as we reached the top. The peaks in this “sandwich area” are more rolling than the rugged peaks further to the north and south. We reached the top and headed to the where the GPS said Cerro Vista. We found the forest service marker but looked further up the ridge and saw a stack of rocks and a pole. It looked higher than where we were so we hiked there. When we looked back, where we just came, it looked higher. I have never seen an optical illusion like this. It looked up hill each way?? The views are wonderful from the top and I guess that is why it is named “hill with a view.” We arrived at the top after traveling 1.3 miles. It took us 55 minutes to get there. We saw our next peak and followed an old road at the top. It was a beautiful hike. I love ridge hiking. We saw a deer scamper away. At times we were in the trees and at times there were expansive views. The old road got smaller about half way and it turned into a nice trail just about the right size for two to walk side by side. There were expansive views near the edge but the top of Cerro Olla was in deep trees. We had to carefully look at the GPS to find the top. We arrived at the top after traveling 3.7 miles it took 2 hours and 5 minutes from our SUV. We headed back the same way. As we hiked along you could see the clouds building. We followed the exact same route back so we re-climbed Cerro Vista again. We were back at the peak again, 6.4 miles from the start and 3 hours and 20 minutes. We stopped for the first time and ate a bite. Two other hikers joined us on the top . We all 4 marveled at the optical illusion of hiking uphill both ways to the apparent 2 high points. The two hikers we met looked strong and full of vigor. They hike many of the highest peaks in NM. One of them was going to turn 70 in September and the other was 74. It encouraged me to think that I might have lots of peak bagging years left at age 57. It also added more evidence to my theory that effects of age are more due to inactivity than age itself. My father was more proof of this. In his upper 80’s he was playing and walking 15 holes of golf 5 days a week. He was as strong as a bull ox until 90. He died at 92. Christina, Daisy and I headed down through the young blue spruce and the many wildflowers and arrived back at the SUV after hiking 7.3 miles. We arrived 4 hours and 10 minutes after starting. Driving back we took a little different way. We took the lower reverse half of the high road to Taos and came out south of Espanola. The “high road to Taos”, the old “Camino Real”, the “Royal Highway”, three names of one of the most beautiful roads in America. If you have never driven it, do it. Driving back we had a blizzard ice cream at the Dairy Queen and arrived back just in time so that my daughter could make volleyball practice. It was her 11th and 12th peaks!
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:232 ft / 70 m
    Distance:7.3 mi / 11.7 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack
    Weather:Cool
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:232 ft / 70 m
    Extra Loss:232 ft / 70 m
    Distance:3.7 mi / 5.9 km
    Route:From Cerro Vista Peak
    Trailhead:11932 ft / 3636 m
    Time Up:2 Hours 5 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Distance:3.6 mi / 5.8 km
    Time Down:2 Hours 5 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: Cerro Vista & Cerro Olla

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDate
1Cerro Vista2012-07-25 a
2Cerro Olla2012-07-25 b
3Cerro Vista2012-07-25 c
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Phil Robinson
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO resposibility or liability from use of this data.

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