Ascent of Barbara Peak on 2017-10-06

Climber: Will Wente

Others in Party:Zeus
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Friday, October 6, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Barbara Peak
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:12515 ft / 3814 m

Ascent Trip Report

Departed Albuquerque at 5:30 and was on the trail by 8:14. The Santa Barbara CG was closed for the year, and there was only one other car in the day use lot when I got started. After a summer of these runs, Zeus knew the routine and was bursting to go. The West Fork Rio Santa Barbara trail (#25) is immaculately maintained and has a gentle ascent over the 9.93 miles to the pass between North Truchas and Chimayosos Peaks. After 1.95 miles (25 min) the Middle Fork trail splits off the west. The West Fork continues along the stream with two stream crossings with bridges and the third on some small trees before a series of switchbacks gain elevation. Can't complain about a lack of water along the enter hike as even away from the stream there are many rivulets cascading downhill that pass under the trail in culverts. Today was a windy day, and I was sure to put on my long sleeve, windbreaker, and hat before leaving treeline.

I reached the pass (3210 ft gain) after 2:31 and was assaulted by winds >40mph at times, I'm guessing, that were blowing me sideways. Views of the Truchas Peaks were tremendous, but was having trouble holding my phone steady enough to take photos. I stayed off the ridgeline as I made my way to Chimayosos Peak. On a better day, I would have stayed on the ridgeline. There were plenty of game trails, but ended up heading across open country to attain the summit (10.77 mi, 3:07, 4226 ft gain). Zeus and I were happy to take shelter on the leeward side of the cairn marking the summit, and had views of Jicarita and Trouble Peaks as we questioned our sanity (and gravity) in this wind. Needless to say I was the only one on the peak, and in fact did not see another soul until I returned to the junction of the Middle and West Fork trails (23 miles).

Descended off Chimayosos to the east, dropping 850 ft, with the wind blowing at our backs pushing us along, and at the saddle picked up the Divide Trail for a bit before leaving it and climbing 560 ft to Barbara Peak (11.95 mi, 3:38). The wind was terrible and Zeus, a border collie Australian Shepard mix, and I agreed it was time to get the flock off the ridge and down below treeline. Unfortunately, the USGS map has woefully miss-marked the place where with Middle Fork descends off the ridge, and we had to continue much further east than planned. The junction (after 13.83 mi, 4:17) is well marked with cairns and signs, but it is so close to Santa Barbara Peak that I was tempted to run up and over it as well, but unfortunately had run out of time, and was interested in seeing the Middle Fork trail, as well.

The Middle Fork trail (#24) is in need of a bit of maintenance with numerous fallen trees across the trail and quite a bit of water/mud slop from springs running down the trail. In places, old efforts to raise the trail with logs are still effective, but it was slow going. Had to long jump across the Middle Fork stream and use a fallen log later on to cross the East Fork stream. The well marked junction with the East Fork trail (#19/26) was shortly thereafter. This section of the Middle Fork between the East and West Fork junction was my favorite part of the descent. The gently descending trail contoured through beautiful aspen forest. The leaves on the trees and brush were a golden color and due to the time of the afternoon and sun angle was glowing beautifully. Must have gotten too caught up in the views because I rolled my ankle before the switchbacks down to West Fork. Slowed me down a bit, but by this time I was already moving slow.

Got back to the TH a short time later (24.63 mi, 6:58). A wild, windy, beautiful fall day in New Mexico!
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:560 ft / 170 m
    Total Elevation Loss:4097 ft / 1248 m
    Round-Trip Distance:13.9 mi / 22.3 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Stream Ford
    Gear Used:
    Weather:Cool, Extremely Windy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:560 ft / 170 m
    Distance:1.2 mi / 1.9 km
    Route:West Fork-Divide-ridgeline
    Start Trailhead:Chimayosos Peak  11955 ft / 3643 m
    Time:31 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:4097 ft / 1248 m
    Distance:12.7 mi / 20.4 km
    Route:Divide-Middle Fork-West Fork trails
    End Trailhead:Santa Barbara CG  8418 ft / 2565 m
    Time:3 Hours 21 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: Chimayosos (0 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Chimayosos Peak2017-10-064226 ft / 1288 m
2Barbara Peak2017-10-06560 ft / 171 m
Total Trip Gain: 4786 ft / 1459 m    Total Trip Loss: 4097 ft / 1249 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

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