Ascent of Ute Mountain on 2011-05-09

Climber: Richard Oestreicher

Date:Monday, May 9, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Ute Mountain
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:10093 ft / 3076 m

Ascent Trip Report

Ute Peak
May 9, 2011

Ute Peak overlooks the Rio Grande gorge close to the Colorado line about 40 miles north of Taos. I’d driven by it many times and finally decided to climb it. I found no trip reports on line although several Peakbaggers have climbed it, probably because it’s a P2000 peak.

In my enthusiasm, I forgot about the need to acclimate to altitude. I had just arrived in Northern New Mexico two days before from eastern flatlands. I felt my lack of preparation on the way up as soon as I hit the steeper parts of the mountain.

My first problem was getting close to the mountain. It’s surrounded on three sides by private property all posted against hunters and trespassers. Many of the roads shown in the Delorme atlas either no longer exist or are gated and locked ranch roads. After ¾ of an hour of driving the back roads around the mountain, a friendly rancher gave me directions to the BLM access (apparently recently purchased).

For future peakbaggers here’s driving instructions.

From NM522 take CR B-067 which jogs and then runs north almost parallel to the highway.
1.2 mi. turn left after some pumps
3.7 road turns right
10.6 turn left at row of trees
11.4 find BLM gate on left side of road. Dirt road (TP235) starts out pretty good; gets a bit rougher as you go; the last parts might not be passable with a low clearance car
13.4 go right ; pass solar array on your right
14.9 turn left
15.1 road forks; I went left
15.3 parking spot.

The hike consisted of three parts. I started out on a small ridge about 100 yards west of my parking spot headed for the ridge line to the left of the peak which looked much more gradual than a frontal assault. The first ¾ of a mile I moved steadily upward at about a 14-15% grade through mesquite and pinon. The next mile it got much steeper, about a 25% grade and some of it on loose scree, up to a small meadow and then another shorter steep stretch. The last ¾ mi. or so it leveled off with grades of 10% or less as you approach the top, although many downed trees made it slow going.

At the top I found a rock pile marker and a tin can with a bottle inside and climber’s registers inside. The top is tree covered. The best views are from the meadow a few hundred feet lower than the top where you can see the San Luis Valley and the snow covered Sangre de Cristos behind.

This is a relatively short hike (5.2 mi. round trip according to GPS) with 2400 feet of elevation gain, but a bushwhack all of the way with a lot of rough footing and fallen trees. My GPS proved very useful for navigation.If you get lost there's no help nearby.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2447 ft / 745 m
    Total Elevation Loss:38 ft / 11 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.2 mi / 8.4 km
    Route Conditions:
Bushwhack, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2447 ft / 745 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2409 ft / 734 m; Extra: 38 ft / 11m
    Loss on way in:38 ft / 11 m
    Distance:2.7 mi / 4.3 km
    Start Trailhead:7684 ft / 2342 m
    Time:2 Hours 36 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Time:1 Hours 49 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

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

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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