Ascent of Picuris Peak on 2018-09-08

Climber: Phil Robinson

Others in Party:Richard O.
Jeremy K
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, September 8, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Picuris Peak
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:10801 ft / 3292 m

Ascent Trip Report

A fellow outdoor enthusiast, Jeremy K, contacted me about hiking a peak. He then contacted another peakbagger, whom I have hiked with 3 times before, Richard O. We decided to hike Picuris Peak south of Taos, New Mexico. Much of my peakbagging this year has been alone. I have been doing some difficult peaks and family and friends have had little interest in hard bushwhacking. It was a great pleasure to hike with 2 other enthusiasts!

I left the Albuquerque area at 6:15 AM, September 8, 2018. I drove north of Espanola, then turned west on Highway 75. I meet them at about 8:45 where Forest Road 114 intersects that road. We then drove northwest on very rough FR 114 for 3.6 miles. Forest Road 114 is extremely rough and needs a strong, high clearance 4WD vehicle. Richard was driving a Jeep and I was driving a Land Cruiser so things went well. There were massive pot holes filled with water along the way and the backend of my SUV bumped several times. We arrived at a nice meadow just before an open gate and parked. We were hiking by 9:25 AM. The starting elevation was 9000 feet. There were no clouds in the sky and it was crystal clear blue. This was a nice contrast from some other hikes this year, when forest fire haze blew in from other states. We hiked up the dirt road. We could have driven further but wanted to put some miles into this hike. It was a beautiful forest setting with aspen, fur, and spruce mixed with a green forest floor. This would be a spectacular hike around the first week of October when the Aspen trees are turning golden. The higher up one goes, the more incredible the views. The top has solar panels, an old fire lookout, and radio antennas but they can be looked around to see from south of Albuquerque to the Colorado border. Wow! The views were so inspiring it kindled my peakbagging spirit! We arrived at the top of Picuris Peak, elevation 10801, after hiking about 4 miles. It took 2 hours and 10 minutes and we had an elevation gain of about 1800 feet. We stayed at top for about 50 minutes; eating a bite, talking about distant peaks, and enjoying the views. We started down at 12:35 and could see the afternoon clouds beginning to fill the skies. Nice hiking, nice conversation, and we could all 3 walk on the road together. It took us a little over an hour and a half to hike down. The total hike was 8.2 miles with an up-down elevation gain of 1826 feet. We parked at the intersection of FR 114 and FR 469. I decided to drive down FR 469 to compare the difference for this trip report. Both roads are equally bad. FR 469 is about a half mile longer and there is a 50 foot stretch that is worst of all! In one area I roared through a large puddle and water splashed on my distributor cap and I was dead in the water. That is a terrible feeling on a road with no cell phone reception, and that no one goes on. I know you have to wait about 10 minutes for it to dry. That was a hard wait! I tried to start it many little times not wanting to drain my battery. I did have a battery back-up but did not need it. After 10 minutes it started. That felt good! No sooner than I was going again and a small log lodged under the SUV. I had to use a rock wedge and SUV movement to get it free. I carefully, tenderly, drove the rest of the way to Highway 75. Because of that terrible 50-foot stretch, I would recommend, to date, that one goes by way of FR 114, but these roads are always changing. It was great to get on the paved road and great to peakbag with like-minded hiking companions………..Today was my 200th peak not counting repeats!

See almost 1500 NM peak pictures....
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1826 ft / 555 m
    Total Elevation Loss:25 ft / 7 m
    Round-Trip Distance:8.2 mi / 13.2 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1801 ft / 548 m
    Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Route:Hiked up Forest Road 114
    Start Trailhead:Forest Road 114 & Forest Road 469  9000 ft / 2743 m
    Time:2 Hours 10 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:25 ft / 7 m
    Gain on way out:25 ft / 7 m
    Distance:4.2 mi / 6.8 km
    Route:Hiked down Forest Road 114
    End Trailhead:Same as start  
    Time:1 Hours 35 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Phil Robinson
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
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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