Ascent of Dog Canyon Rim on 2009-02-07

Climber: Ryan Courtney

Others in Party:Jeff DeMoss
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, February 7, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Dog Canyon Rim
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:7480 ft / 2279 m

Ascent Trip Report

Jeff took leave of his wife and kids in Austin for a few days and met me in the desert. Following an uneventful but nice climb of Guadalupe Peak on February 5, we decided to approach Eddy County through the National Park on a 2-night backpack.

On February 6, we attempted a hill inside the park with no success. We turned around after bypassing lots of cliffs and the wind picked up, threatening to blow my glasses off my face. We loaded our packs and parked at the McKittrick Canyon parking area. We each carried over 20 pounds of water, which proved to be too little.

We camped that night at Wilderness Ridge, 4.2 miles from the parking area with about 2000 feet of gain.

We left camp at 8:30 am and followed the trail leaving the area, which is shown on the National Park map but not on the topo. There were beautiful views walking along the edge of North McKittrick Canyon. There is a turnstile at the New Mexico state line, as the trail enters Lincoln National Forest. We followed, in order, trail, horse trail, then road and arrived at the sign to North McKittrick Canyon mentioned in Edward Earl's trip report at about 10:30 am.

The horse trail and road are shown on the topo, following closely the words Camp Wilderness Ridge. We followed the jeep road (also shown) and hit the end at 11:00 am. It took us about 15 minutes to pick our way down the steep hill to the saddle - there were some cairns which helped us avoid cliffs. They are difficult to spot heading uphill but downhill was fine.

Heading approximately south, we side-hilled Point 7139 and stopped at the saddle for a hot lunch, which took about an hour. Jeff didn't feel great heading up to the cohp; in retrospect, a quick lunch of bars would have been wiser.

We left the lunch area around 1:00 and hit the summit at 1:55. We followed the ridge most of the way to the highpoint. On the way, we scaled an ~8 foot wall. This wall can be bypassed to the east, a route which I found coming back down.

The round trip from the North McKittrick sign was about 5.5 hours which included our hour lunch. The entire trip from our campsite took 9.5 hours and totaled 11.7 miles.

Whatever water you think is necessary - take more. Three quarts on the day hike left me very thirsty but we didn't have much in reserve at the campsite. All this with pleasant (70s) temperatures and cloud cover for over half the day.

The vegetation is ruthless, as there is a fair amount of bushwhacking. We both wore gaiters and both got stuck by some nasty cacti. After returning to our campsite, Jeff took his boot off and found a dried puddle of blood which had streamed down his leg. I was wounded on the knee.

We returned to our cars fairly quickly on February 8 and parted ways, with me heading for the Franklins and Jeff for home. After each drinking a gallon of water, of course. Beautiful desert hike!
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Tent Camp

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