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Ascent of Elk Mountain on 2016-08-01

Climber: Phil Robinson

Others in Party:My friend Jim.
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Monday, August 1, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Elk Mountain
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:11661 ft / 3554 m

Ascent Trip Report

I left my home at 4:30 AM, August 1, 2016 to hike Peak 10,980 and Elk Mountain with my friend Jim. I hiked Elk Mountain with my daughter Christina in 2012, but had not yet hiked Peak 10,980. Elk Mountain was along the way, so I had to hike it again. We drove to Pecos, New Mexico then took highway 63 north for about 15 miles. We took forest road 646 to the east for about 14 miles, the map says it is road forest road 645. It takes about an hour to drive this road. It is a slow drive, and a 4 wheel drive vehicle is definitely needed. We arrived at our parking place at 7:30 AM and were hiking by 7:45. We could have driven a little further, but wanted to make the hike a little more challenging. We parked near the intersection of FR 393 and FR 646 (645).

It was a cool crisp morning with a temperature of 50 degrees. The warmest that it got during the day was the low 60s. It was a clear morning with wispy white clouds in the sky. The elevation was 11,293 feet. We headed east on a road to Skyline Trail, then south . We were on a trail for awhile, then the trail disappeared and we were bushwhacking through the woods. Shortly, we were in an open area, then up an incline to the top of Elk Mountain, elevation 11,661. It was 1.8 miles to the top and took us a little over an hour to reach The views were spectacular in all directions! We took a few picture then headed south towards Peak 10,980. There had been a devastating fire to the south. Researching; I believe the fire was in June of 2000. Even though the devastation, there were beautiful wildflowers of every color and it was very lush and green at ground level. We followed a fence to the south then southwest. The fallen trees had been cut, but shortly we arrived at a place where we had to go over many, many fallen logs. It got a little wearisome. We came to the saddle and followed a road. The road ended and we were log hopping again until we found a fence line to follow. This would b e a great place for a military obstacle course or NFL training. I am glad we found places to skip the “log hopping,” still we were doing it a lot. We came to the forest and were bushwhacking again, then we found an open area near a fence and followed that to a trail, then to the top. The top is tree covered, looks fairly flat from a ground level view, and the only way we knew we were at the top was by our GPS. It was 5.7 miles from the start and it took us 3 hours and 52 minutes to reach. Dark cumulus nimbus clouds were filling the sky. We retraced our trail to the north and about 15 minutes from the last peak ate lunch. We exited the forest to the land of fallen logs. It is interesting to look at Google Earth and see the tens of thousands of fallen trees. A 1997 history view shows the mountain before the fire. We were able to find a better path on the way back and avoided many fallen trees. In the saddle it started to rain and we could hear distant thunder. We put on our rain ponchos. The only way out was to re-hike Elk Mountain. It took about twice the elevation gain of the first time. Shortly before the top it stopped raining. We arrived back again to Elk Mountain after hiking 9.7 miles and 6 hours and 45 minutes after leaving. We headed back down the mountain, then followed a road, then were bushwhacking again. I know there is a way to not bushwhack from Elk Mountain back. We missed it. We found the trail, then the road. We heard 2 massive claps of thunder that originated close to where we just were. We followed the road to the Land Cruiser just as it was starting to rain again. We arrived back after hiking 11.6 miles. The total time, including lunch, was 7 hours and 35 minutes. Our total elevation gain for the 3 peaks, Elk Mountain twice, was 2005 feet. We descended the long dirt road, then back home. On our hike we saw 3 families of turkey with little ones following the mother and father, an elk or deer and numerous hawks.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:517 ft / 157 m
    Total Elevation Loss:149 ft / 45 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:517 ft / 157 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 368 ft / 112 m; Extra: 149 ft / 45m
    Loss on way in:149 ft / 45 m
    Distance:1.8 mi / 2.9 km
    Route:East up Rd to Skyline Trail south to top
    Start Trailhead:FR 393 & 646  11293 ft / 3442 m
    Time:1 Hours 5 Minutes
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: Elk Mt & Pk 10980

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
1Elk Mountain2016-08-01 a517 ft / 158 m
2Peak 109602016-08-01 b310 ft / 94 m
3Elk Mountain2016-08-01 c1178 ft / 359 m
Total Trip Gain: 2005 ft / 611 m    Total Trip Loss: 426 ft / 129 m
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. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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