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Ascent of Wind Mountain on 2021-01-30

Climber: Alexander OConnor

Date:Saturday, January 30, 2021
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Wind Mountain
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:7280 ft / 2218 m

Ascent Trip Report

The Cornudas Mountains sit in the northern region of the Trans-Pecos magmatic province and are aged approximately at 33 - 36 million years old. Consisting of 10 intrusive bodies (one of which is a smaller unnamed mass), Wind Mountain stands as the largest of them all. This towering laccolith is abundant in desert vegetation, boulders, and obstacles to entertain even the most fastidious of route finders. Reaching the summit rewards the most unparalleled views in the region.

From El Paso:

- 375 to 62 (heading east)
- 62 to Hueco Ranch Rd (headed north)
- Hueco Ranch Rd becomes Loma Linda Rd
- Loma Linda Rd becomes F002 (once in NM)
- F002 to F001 (headed east)
- F001 to F010 (headed south)
- F010 to an unammed road (left) that travels along a fence
- right (south) on F031
- F031 to F007 (south then east)
- F007 to F014 (right heading south)
- F014 to F013 (left headed east - you'll be traveling along the southern side of Flat Top)
- F013 to F011 (when you reach the windmill and corral look left)
- F011 to a branch approximately 1.1 miles on your left will lead you to an old unmaintained mining prospect road. I parked and dismounted about 600 ft from the base of the mountain.

The unmaintained road was a convenient way to kick start the journey up the mountain. It may only take you up a fraction of the way, but it was a nice warm up. Towards the end of the road I saw an unsecure gate leading into an adit from one of the prospects. I intend to call the BLM office to notify them so they can send someone to secure it.

Once the old road ended we were left to navigate the bountiful plant life and rocky features. Despite being required to maintain an attentive sense of awareness of each step I anticipated a considerably more agonizing ascent. Much to my delight, I found this experience pretty reasonable. Cornudas Mountain is worse in my opinion.

As we got higher (about a third of the way) we were able to utilize slabs of exposed rock made smooth by the elements. Weren't for the lack of traction on these segments, they would have made ideal sections to make quick progress.

About halfway up we reached a semi clear section that briefly levels out somewhat giving you an ideal of how much you still have to complete. Concerned about timing, I suggested turning around only to be met with my soldier's statement, "You did not drag me up this far not to reach the summit." Game on.

Throwing caution to the wind (no pun intended) we pressed on. I was concerned about my friend though, as I do not think he was as mentally prepared for his first wilderness climb as he thought, despite my thorough breakdown on expectations and what to bring and wear.

The first portion of the last half required some basic route finding and scrambling. The smaller cacti at this point made the terrain indicative of a mine field. I donated blood to Wind as tribute.

The final portion was a gradual ascent to the summit. I cannot overstate the level of my excitement, but also concern for timing. The summit is marked with a pile of rocks and RMs and Cornudas Benchmark. The view was incredible.

We didn't linger long on the summit and made haste to descend the first half before sunset. We managed to reach the halfway point in a very expedient, but safe, manner. The last half would be completed under the veil of darkness. I came prepared with ample light though.

We took our time on the final half of the descent and made it back to the vehicle safely. My friend weary of fatigue, but I was energetic with excitement. This mountain had been pushed to the right on so many occasions, and it was finally done, leaving only Black Mountain left to complete my survey of the Cornudas Mountains (New Mexico).

Overall, no where near as bad as I expected. I cannot recommend enough how important it is that you give yourself adequate time to complete the mountain. Neither of us anticipated how worn out my soldier would have gotten during the ascent and definitely contributed to the time we spent on it. I wouldn't ever suggest doing any portion of this mountain in the dark normally. Stay safe. Respect the land.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Headlamp



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