Ascent of Black Volcano on 2017-08-21

Climber: Dan Baxter

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Monday, August 21, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Black Volcano
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:5986 ft / 1824 m

Ascent Trip Report

I did this as an early morning loop hike, going up Vulcan, then Black and finally J A volcanos.
The parking lot was already open by the time I got there at 8 am. I think officially (according to NPS website) the gate opens at 9. The obvious TH with the big information signs is for the trail east toward J A Volcano. I came back that way, but opted to head out via the less obvious trail which begins at the NW corner of the parking area. This pretty much beelines toward Vulcan, the NMHP. It is flat most of the way until you get to the base of the rather small volcano itself.
There are signs directing you to keep out of restoration areas but if you loop NW then head XC upslope you will not pass any such signs. (Note I discovered at end of hike at the info kiosk that technically all the volcano summits are off limits, likely because of their religious significance to indiginous tribes.).
I walked past a neat little cinder rock arch, and what looked like small craters. The HP itself was at the far (east) end of the summit area on one of a few possible contenders, all easy scrambles and mere feet from each other. Here are nice views of Albuquerque, the Rio Grande Valley and Black Volcano, which hides a view of J A Volcano.
Next an easy scramble down the SE side then back on the trail to near base of Black Volcano, then another XC scramble avoiding restoration areas,and up Black. The top here was rather flat but the summit is on a small mound on the far rim.
Then down and up J A whch is lowest of the three but had the most rock scrambling, actually reaching class 2 level. I passed a neat small volcanic cave just below the summit.
There are two more volcanoes in this chain of five, but I did not visit them, as I had a full day planned (two more NMHP's) plus an eclipse that I hoped to enjoy (bombed out there, overcast).
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble
Ascent Part of Trip: Petroglyph Volcanoes

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Vulcan Volcano2017-08-21253 ft / 77 m
2Black Volcano2017-08-21 
3J A Volcano2017-08-21 
Total Trip Gain: 253 ft / 77 m

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