Ascent of Baldy Mountain on 2019-08-23

Climber: Will Wente

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Friday, August 23, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Baldy Mountain
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:12441 ft / 3792 m

Ascent Trip Report

This trip I climbed Touch-Me-Not and Baldy Peaks without Zeus. Zeus is still recovering from being bitten by another dog about two weeks ago-- turns out he’s not a very good fighter and was wearing the cone of shame for a week and a half.

Departed Albuquerque at about 5:30 am and drove to the turn-off past Eagle's Nest. The dirt road was a bit rutted early on, certainly bumpy, and steep enough that it made it easier to put the 4Runner in 4x4, but I probably could have made it with only a high clearance vehicle. I parked after ~4.3 miles at the TH (~10,750') where a separate road turns off. The trail follows this old dirt road (descending/flat) for 0.78 mi. before a well marked trail (cairns and tree markers) picks up and begins climbing steeply.

I started running ~9:20. This trail is not good for running, especially compared to some of the other trails I have done recently (e.g. Gold Hill), because the trail climbs or descends steeply, has treacherous footing (e.g. talus fields or no trail). The road makes a switchback that should be taken. I jumped over a tree placed to encourage hikers to take the switchback and ended up descending back to the road through the woods. I was pleasantly surprised to find a marked trail all the way to Touch-Me-Not Peak. Whoever made the trail did not believe in switchbacks and it climbed like a bat out of hell. After 1.5 mi. the trail enters the first of two talus fields. The cairn-marked trail continues through the talus, which makes things a bit easier. After 1.90 mi., 1289' elevation gain, and 46 min I stood atop Touch-Me-Not. The fog that had enshrouded Eagle's Nest when I drove through had burned off, and the views in every direction were tremendous. I could clearly see Gold Hill where I was at the beginning of August and the Latir Mtns. where I ran in mid-July. There were several simple memorials atop Touch-Me-Not me knot and a clear view of Baldy, which didn't look so far away.

Unfortunately, the trail did not continue, although the rock field did. There were times it would have been nice to have my hiking boots, when a loose rock banged the ankle, but I would not have enjoyed running in the clumsy heavier boots and my trail running shoes had great traction. It was slow going picking my way. As the path descends between the peaks a huge 6' cairns marks the location (testament to some industrious scouts?). Here a grassy slope was a welcome break before entering the woods. It 3.96 mi between the two peaks and much of it is through the woods. Although there were downed trees, I didn't have much trouble picking a path and keeping up a reasonable pace at least on the downhill section to the saddle. The wildflowers were going crazy, and the temperature was warm.

I had forgotten from a previous post that the east side of Baldy was on Boy Scout property and there were no signs to indicate as such, so when I found a trail shortly before linking up with a very steep "road" section, I was happy to jump on it and not be bushwhacking anymore, even though the trail became incredibly steep. After 5.86 mi, 2:17, and another 1457' gain, I was more than happy to be on Baldy. It hadn't looked that far from Touch-Me-Not, but it made you work for it, for sure. The views continued to impress. It was interesting looking to the east and see that other than some hills, I was standing on the last of the tall mountains. I took a good, long rest in the wind break, where I re-fueled and re-hydrated. The temperature was 62° and wind speed was 5-12 mph. I had no desire to rush, and soaked in the views. After some 20-30 mins. it was clear the car would not come to me. The weather was holding up beautifully -- I wouldn't hear any thunder rumbling until I returned to the 4Runner.

The return trek was a bit of a slog. My feet were getting sore and I was getting frustrated with my footing. One of those treks that makes you question your fitness level. I eventually made it back to the TH after 11.72 mi, 4 hrs 36 min, and a total 4029' elevation gain. Just as I opened the car door, some distant thunder rumbled. Missed having Zeus along, but enjoyed the accomplishment, the views, and the solitude (never saw another soul).

Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack
    Weather:Hot, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Part of Trip: Touch-Me-Not (0 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Touch-Me-Not Mountain2019-08-231294 ft / 394 m
2Baldy Mountain2019-08-23 
Total Trip Gain: 1294 ft / 394 m    Total Trip Loss: 1294 ft / 394 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

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