Ascent of Mount Withington on 2019-06-17

Climber: Richard Hensley

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Monday, June 17, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Mount Withington
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:10115 ft / 3083 m

Ascent Trip Report

The North Fire of 2016 had a big impact on this route. You can see all the gravel washed into Monica Canyon as you drive in. I wasn't able to make it all the way to the gate below Switch Spring. From the Spring up the canyon, the old road/trail is mostly gone and the stream in a deep trench. It wasn't much trouble though to walk along the sides. But from where the old road switchbacked right to go up a ridge, the Monica Trail No. 91 became very difficult. No trail and a lot of deadfall. Upon reaching a very difficult downed tree to pass, I backed out and went up the old road. It still had a few deadfall, but it was easy to handle on the old roadbed. This was the best part of this hike.

The rest was on a boring well-driven gravel road (FR-138). When I got to where the Monica Trail did reach the road, it looked even worse. The bowl it came up through was thoroughly burned, and the trail was obliterated by aspen shoots. Glad I turned back when I did.

Next morning, I drove over to West Blue Mtn via the forest roads. From the spur going to Withington's tower, it was 5.1 miles to FR-96. Can't remember if FR-96 is signed as such; I do remember a sign saying it was washed out. At first I turned around, but then I remembered Fred Brown's report, so I went back to give it a try. I found it to be an okay forest road for my Wrangler. Locals have been sawing through the small deadfall. I do wonder what will happen if a really big, branchy tree comes down. The washouts mention come in the last 3/4 mile of the 13 mile road. Several small sidestreams have had their culverts damaged or washed out. Wasn't much trouble for my Wrangler, but you will need clearance and good approach/departure angles on at least one. Overall, I think it was an easy excuse for the local forest district to just shed responsibility for 13 miles of decent road. The best way to combine these is to come FROM West Blue Mtn. You'll need to know where FR-96 is because it's unmarked. But you'll find out within 3/4 mile if you can make it or not. The entire drive to Coffee Pot TH was 22.5 miles, moving time 1hr51min, avg mvg speed 12mph.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2135 ft / 650 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2135 ft / 650 m
    Round-Trip Distance:11.7 mi / 18.8 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail
    Weather:sct cu; viz 25mi smoke, vcsh; breeze; pleasant
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2115 ft / 644 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2075 ft / 633 m; Extra: 40 ft / 12m
    Loss on way in:40 ft / 12 m
    Distance:6 mi / 9.7 km
    Route:old road; FR-138
    Start Trailhead:Monica Canyon  8040 ft / 2450 m
    Time:2 Hours 24 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2095 ft / 638 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 2075 ft / 633 m; Extra: 20 ft / 6m
    Gain on way out:20 ft / 6 m
    Distance:5.7 mi / 9.2 km
    End Trailhead:Monica Canyon  8040 ft / 2450 m
    Time:1 Hours 57 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Richard Hensley
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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