Ascent of Chicoma Mountain on 2012-05-30

Climber: Phil Robinson

Others in Party:My daughter Christina and dog Daisy.
Date:Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Chicoma Mountain
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:11561 ft / 3523 m

Ascent Trip Report

We left the house at 5:15 AM on this beautiful May 30, 2012 morning. Our goal was to climb two peaks, Chicoma Mountain, the highest mountain in the Jemez mountain range, elevation 11,561, and Polvadera Peak, elevation 11,232. I had not yet hiked any peaks in the Jemez, yet had a goal to hike the three 11K peaks in that range. I went with my daughter Christina and dog Daisy. We drove to Espanola, New Mexico and headed to the north on highway 84/285. Just north of the road named Fairview we turned to the west on forest road 144. The road is a well kept dirt road and we headed to the west about 27 miles. This took about an hour. I took our 4WD SUV but think a regular passenger car could make it with a little care. The drive is spectacular, right up at the top of scenic New Mexico roads. The views are almost endless from the Sandia Mountains deeply to the north of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. It is the high road to the Jemez, at times far up on the ridge with a far drop off to the south. The road is worth it, even if one is not going to hike. As we neared the peak we saw a heard of mixed male and female elk, maybe 12 to 15 of them. Some of them with big racks. They quickly ran and we were not able to get a picture. A little while later we saw a lone female elk. You could see some of the damage from last year’s fire but mostly sporadic. Most of the forest is intact. I judged the place to park by watching my GPS. We parked at the closest point to the peak. The GPS said .93 of a mile. It was a pleasant warm morning with perfectly clear skies. We got there about 8:00 AM and started hiking at 8:15. Our starting elevation was 10,670 feet. We hiked straight up the hillside and had to climb over quite a number of logs but nothing like other trips. There were still quite a few patches of snow. We reached the top after about a 50 minute hike. It took 1.2 miles to make the peak. The top had open meadow and trees. The trees make it difficult to get a full panoramic picture. We could see our next peak to the north. The GPS said 3.8 miles as the crow flies. I was roaring and ready to go, Christina was not! She felt sick and wanted to go back to the SUV. She said she would wait there. We have walkie talkies but I didn’t feel good about leaving her there so I thought it would be a good excuse to come back to the area another time. I said we would go back home. I like to get at least 3 miles on hikes so we took an old forest road back that started part way down the peak. It ended further up the main road. About half way down we saw a bear. It saw us and did the “23 skidoo” ……“booked it.” Boy that thing ran. We saw it way up ahead moments later crossing the old road and it was really running fast! The old road met the main road and we arrived at the SUV 1 hour and 45 minutes after we left. We hiked 3 miles. It was harder not to hike the next peak than to hike it. It was really hard to not keep going. I figured if we had done both peaks we would have done 10 or 11 miles for the day. I greatly enjoyed the picturesque hour drive out. We went to Santa Fe to eat before we returned. There is a new law, a couple of years old, that you can have your dog with you when you eat on outside patios We enjoyed a nice little outdoor restaurant lunch before returning home.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:891 ft / 271 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground
    Weather:Pleasant, Clear
Pleasantly warm
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:891 ft / 271 m
    Distance:1.2 mi / 1.9 km
    Route:Forest Road 144 North of Peak
    Start Trailhead:10670 ft / 3252 m
Descent Statistics
    Distance:1.8 mi / 2.9 km
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

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