Ascent of Redondo Peak on 2015-06-19

Climber: Phil Robinson

Others in Party:Just me
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Friday, June 19, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Redondo Peak
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:11254 ft / 3430 m

Ascent Trip Report

My original plan was to hike Redondo Peak, elevation 11,254, and Redondito Peak, elevation 10,898 on Wednesday morning. I was traveling under clear skies that morning but could see a massive thunderstorm in the distance with flashes of lightning every few seconds right where I was going to hike. The whole range had a massive thunderstorm! I decided to return home to do the peaks another day. I have not seen such a massive storm so early in the morning while peakbagging. It was a beautiful and awesome sight! Two days later, Friday June 19, 2015, I left the house at 4:00 AM and drove to the New Mexico Jemez mountains to hike the peaks. I had optional plans of where I was going to park. After leaving Jemez Springs on highway 4, just past the intersection of highway 126, the road makes a big horseshoe going from north to south. I pulled onto a dirt road heading ESE. I could see a closed gate in the distance so I returned to highway 4 and went a little further south to park at Redondo Campground. I camped there several times as a kid with my parents. I found a space and paid the $10.00 fee to park for the day. It was an absolutely perfect morning, clear skies and neither too hot nor too cool. I started hiking at 5:50 AM and made a direct beeline for the peak. My starting elevation was 8140 and I headed a little up hill to an elevation of 8200 before dropping into a beautiful green valley with an elevation of 7950 feet. It was a beautiful morning. I crossed little streams and lush green meadows before arriving at the base of the mountain, elevation 8150. It was now 6:35 and I had traveled 2.1 miles. As I was crossing the meadow I was scouting the best way to climb the peak and I picked a ridge that looked good to go up. I have found that it is almost always best to hike a peak using a ridge rather than a valley. I was expecting the hike to be brutal, and I was a little apprehensive about how hard the day might be, and it was the first peak of the year, so I was a little adrenaline pumped. I bushwhacked straight up the mountain. I felt energized! The hike to the top was hard, but did not feel brutal. Some past hikes have felt very brutal! On the way up I heard an odd “bark.” It was some female elk. I have never heard that sound before. A little later I saw a deer and a number of large birds that I thought were grouse, but the back tail made a fan, so I do not think they were grouse. Maybe prairie chicken? I arrived at Redondo peak after hiking 3 hours and 20 minutes and 4.6 miles. I could hardly believe it was only 9:10 in the morning. On the way up there was lots of evidence of a forest fire from several years ago. The top still had a nice forest. I was hoping for some views of the surrounding area but it was too tree covered to see the grand vistas. I continued on to the north to Redondito Peak. I dropped to an elevation of about 10,580 feet before climbing the peak. The hike from Redondo Peak to Redondito Peak had some very nice views. I was able to get some nice pictures of the peaks and see the Valle Caldera in the distance. This stretch of the hike was one of the hardest parts because I had to cross several boulder fields and lots of downed trees. I arrived at Redondito at 10:20 AM after hiking 6.1 miles from the start. The total hike time at this point was 4 hours and 30 minutes. There were some nice vistas from the peak, but trees blocked most of the views. I was now at the farthest point from the start and planned to backtrack the exact way I came. I dropped back down to the saddle then 674 feet up to re-climb Redondo Peak. It was now 11:50 AM. I had hiked 8 miles in 6 hours. There was a nice log to sit on at the top, so I stopped for the first rest of the hike and had a small lunch of an energy bar and trail mix. I could see the perfectly clear skies changing and deep black clouds coming from the north. I headed straight down the same way I came up. I could hear the thunder rolling in the distance. As I was heading down, I looked back up the hill and was amazed how steep it looked. It did not feel that way going up, and I pondered why the hike did not feel brutal. Maybe because I had a little adrenaline charge going up. Some years ago, I was a rafting guide for 10 seasons on the Taos Box and Race Course, and the adrenaline rush used to be part of each trip. On the way down, I came to a ridge intersection and pondered going a different way, on the ridge to the south, but decided to go down the same way I came up. As I continued to hike I studied the ridge to the south, and after seeing lots of steep boulder fields felt I made a good choice. I arrived at the bottom, crossed the beautiful meadows and little streams. I felt a few rain drops and was now so warm that I would not have minded getting a cool drenching, but it was only a few drops. I arrived back at the SUV after hiking 12.3 miles in 9 hours and 40 minutes. The total elevation gain for the day was 4593 feet. It was kind of a steep, slow go coming down. It took about the same time coming down as it had taken going up. This was my first hike after turning 60 last January. I felt in better shape and with more energy than when I used to hike in high school and college. I have to work on it a lot harder now than then though, making sure I get 3 good cardiovascular workouts every week all year long. I usually don’t come back through the Jemez after peakbagging, so it was a very pleasant drive back through the forests and red rock canyons.

Extra Note: Access into the area is in the process of change and one should check the requirements before going.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:3351 ft / 1021 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:3351 ft / 1021 m
    Extra Loss:247 ft / 75 m
    Distance:4.6 mi / 7.4 km
    Route:From campground straight to the peak
    Trailhead:Redondo Campground  8150 ft / 2484 m
    Time Up:3 Hours 20 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Route:North to Redondito Peak
Ascent Part of Trip: Redondo in Jemez

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Redondo Peak2015-06-19 a
2Redondito2015-06-19 b
3Redondo Peak2015-06-19 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. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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