Ascent of North Franklin Mountain on 2010-11-22

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Karen
Date:Monday, November 22, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:North Franklin Mountain
    Elevation:7192 ft / 2192 m

Ascent Trip Report

Trip took 2 hours and 15 minutes up and 1 hour and 55 mintues down and we had a 15 minute break and the top. The trip is easy to follow from the passage of trails. At TH the volcanic rock ruble trail is a jeep trail and it immediately bifurcates - take the left fork and head up towards Mundy Gap aroung 4 miles upward. The trail is made of rolling broken red and pink rhyolite which is a bit awkward to walk on. Eventually it reaches an option to a spring trail up to the NE (right) or to the left (this is the correct direction) where the jeep trail winds around for at least a mile or more at nearly flat grade around the lower butresses of darker and darker red stained (iron) rhyotlite but eventually you transition into the sedimentary rocks showing bands of layers of sea build up and the rocks turn white and the trail is easier to walk on.

Finally reaching Mundy Gap you have amazing views in all directions and it is surprisingly a very nice view of the desert plains in all directions but the wind busting through the pass hit gusts that knocked you off your feet. The peaks to the north are surprisingly jagged and interesting. The jeep trail heads east and descends and you loose a lot of your vertical gain and the road-trail heads down to a descision point of following trails to the tin mines or heading back up the east side of Franklin. The trail immediately gives views of an interesting peak to the left with a marker on the top that appears like a false peak. This interesting peak is actually part of the nearby military base and when you hit the saddle it has a warning sign saying stay out "unexploded ordinances on the ground"

OK fine I passed it since Karen did not want me to be blown to bits...despite the attraction to climb this very intersting formation with some sort of structure on the top (looks like a house on top)...the trails go from jeep trail size to ATV and eventually single footpath size. In some places about 500 feet short of the summit (vertically) the trail becomes hard to find as the water feature disrupts it and it is harder to climb (class 2) but finally near the ridge the ATV size trail returns. Winds blast us on the ridge as we were climbing back and up to the peak where we found a small weather stucture on the top. The views in every direction are spectacular and well worth the climb.

It is interesting to note that above the sedimentary layer there appeared to be another cap of volcanic igneous rock (i think more rhyolite). The nearby ranges showed planes and layers uplifted in various directions so a lot of intertesting geology is visible on this hike. Lot of intersting succulant and cati along the slopes as well as thick grasses.

We left at 8:50 AM and summitted after 2.25 hours including a long stop to talk to a native coming down about other options in the area. He suggested Oliver Lee State Park climb in NM trail 106 as a great hike (note for future trips). We spent time at the peak for about 15 mintues and came down in 1 hours and 55 mintues. Not bad for Karen. Total time from car was 4 hours and 25 minutes doing 9.4 miles and over 2300 feet. I kept track of extra vertical and the roads do some down gains along the way. I estimated you regain 85 feet up and back or 170 of additional gain.

Bottom line: Texas has some wonderful pre-winter hiking and peakbagging in the El Paso area.

Note: we did Carlsbad Caverns the day before and did the 3.5 mile hike and have to say of the 7 or 8 caves I have spelunked - this one desreves its reputation as a really big WOW! and the 800 foot descent on the footpath is crazy!! think avbout that for a walk from the opening down 800 feet!.Then we did the Spider, a wild cave trip outside of the tourist trips (only 8 people a week get to go) that was well worth it but a lot of crawling).

I will go back to Texas. Nice 3 days (see Guadalupe Mountain trip report)
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2372 ft / 722 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2372 ft / 722 m
    Round-Trip Distance:9.4 mi / 15.1 km
    Grade/Class:1+ and some 2
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail
    Weather:Cool, Very Windy, Clear
30 mph with gusts at 50 and 60F
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2287 ft / 697 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2202 ft / 672 m; Extra: 85 ft / 25m
    Loss on way in:85 ft / 25 m
    Distance:4.7 mi / 7.6 km
    Route:No. Franklin Mtn Trail
    Start Trailhead:Trail Head at St Park parking lot  4990 ft / 1520 m
    Time:2 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2287 ft / 697 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 2202 ft / 672 m; Extra: 85 ft / 25m
    Gain on way out:85 ft / 25 m
    Distance:4.7 mi / 7.6 km
    End Trailhead:same  4990 ft / 1520 m
    Time:1 Hours 55 Minutes

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