Ascent of Timber Mountain on 2021-01-17

Climber: Alexander OConnor

Date:Sunday, January 17, 2021
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Timber Mountain
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:7565 ft / 2305 m

Ascent Trip Report

The Caballo Mountains are the result of the activity of the Rio Grande Rift, uplift, numerous faults, compression, erosion, volcanic activity and more. The range is a masterpiece of complex geology and features made well within reach for any able bodied and determined person with a sense of exploration and curiosity. The range's highest peak, Timber Mountain, reaches an elevation of 7565 ft above sea level and is surprisingly accessible despite the lack of hiking trails.

Getting there from Las Cruces:

- i25 (towards Albuquerque) to Exit 32 (Upham)
- Take E071 to E072 which becomes E070 and then A013 (the road is paved)
- Left on Aleman Shortcut (headed west)
- Left on Slater Rd (southwest)
- Right on A010 (headed northwest briefly)
- Left on A003 which will take you up to the high point with the antenna farm. If you want to actually hike up this mountain though, I'd recommend finding a good spot to park and dismount prior to reaching Ghost Tank.

Once dismounted, it is pretty cut and dry. Stay on the dirt/gravel county road as it switchbacks gradually up towards the antenna farm. This experience would have been far more pleasant for me had I not decided to carry well more weight than I needed. The Battalion Colors, which I had stolen from my unit and wrapped, wasn't helping the load either. Ounces make pounds.

One observation i noticed was the difference in ecology on the east side of the mountain vs the entire western, southern, and northern regions of the main mass. Everything surrounding this large uplifted mass was what you'd expect from its surrounding area - desert. However the eastern flank of the main mass saw slopes draped in grass populated with juniper and other smaller trees.

Once you reach the antenna farm your journey is not done yet! The summit is still just under a half mile away from the last antenna array if you follow alone the ridge. The road ends so you'll enjoy your very brief trek across some untamed mountain.

At the summit we found a large rock pile with a registry embedded in it. Push a little beyond the rock pile towards the west between the trees and you'll find yourself on the edge of a sudden drop off and an incredible view. It was here that I unfurled our Battalion Colors with pride and we all took our photos with it.

After some lingering, we made our way back down veering slightly northeast away from the antenna farm to save time. Along the way we found an old (50s era) abandoned vehicle - what was left of it. How someone even got that vehicle there will remain a mystery to me, but it was a pretty cool discovery.

We made our way back down hastily and arrived to the vehicle precisely at sunset. A well times excursion! Overall, fun, a good workout, and for the first time it had felt like I was getting close to completing my survey of the Caballo Mountains!

Remember to respect the land, do not interfere with any infrastructure up top, enjoy the view, and stay safe!
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country

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