Ascent of Peak 10281 on 2018-03-24

Climber: Phil Robinson

Others in Party:Jim Miller
Date:Saturday, March 24, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Peak 10281
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:10281 ft / 3133 m

Ascent Trip Report

This past winter New Mexico received the least amount of snow that I can remember. Some of the northern peaks in New Mexico cannot be reasonably hiked until mid June if there is heavy snow. Being that it was a low-snow-year, and the peaks I wished to climb were in south central New Mexico, I decided to hike the first peaks that have ever done in the month of March. I hiked with my friend Jim, leaving his home in Albuquerque about 6:00 AM. It is about 2 hours and 15 minutes to reach the start of the hike. From Socorro we went west on Highway 60 for 15.6 miles then turned southwest on Water Canyon road and drove 10.6 miles to an elevation of 9850. We parked where Timber Trail intersects the road. I took my high clearance Land Cruiser but a regular car could have made the trip.

We started hiking at 8:50 AM, March 24, 2018. We hiked up the mountain road under beautiful clear skies. We were in a canyon-wind-zone so it was cold and windy. I put on 2 coats. About a mile up the road is a gate that is locked to motor vehicles. It is fairly easy getting to the top of South Baldy, elevation 10,783. It took us 1 hour and 10 minutes and about 2 miles of hiking. We had an elevation gain of 933 feet. Almost the entire hike there are spectacular views in every direction. We took pictures, then were going to bushwhack it straight down the north side when Jim suggested we skirt the trees at the edge of a long meadow. There were patches of snow the entire trip. Jim wanted me to video him fake skiing. He started out great but then rolled down the small hill. It was very entertaining! Fortunately he was not hurt and we got a great video. Jim’s suggestion to skirt the edge of the forest, and not bushwhack, turned out to be a good one! In a short distance we were on a nice trail heading towards Peak 10,281. (10,300) We crossed a fair amount of snow, and in a short while were ascending the hardest part of the peak. It was a good chug to the top, crossing boulders and doing a little scrambling. We arrived at the top at almost noon, about 3 hours from the start. We had hiked 4.2 miles. The elevation gain since the start of the trip was 1649 feet. I signed our names on a peakbagging log that was in a jar. The log was started October 2, 2015 and there were 6 entries on the log. We took a 30 minute lunch and enjoyed the views.

We headed back the same way we came. I was leading and thought I lost Jim behind me. I called out, but heard nothing. I thought maybe he hit his head or something? I went back a ways, then decided to go forward and see if he was at the saddle. I heard him call out and we were soon reunited. He had gone further down the hill to avoid the boulders. We followed the same ridge we had previously hiked. We hiked to the base of South Baldy. The only wildlife we saw on the trip were 2 teenagers and a bunny rabbit. The 2 teenagers were mountain biking. We congratulated them for being outdoors and not being at home “virtual mountain biking.” We mostly see older people hiking the trails. My daughter’s friend informed me that their generation “does not go outside.” …..Wow to that!.... (I know there are exceptions. I saw two.) …………Anyway ……………Rather than return to Baldy we went on the forested, snow covered north side. If it had been a heavy snow year there might have been 10 feet of snow in this location, at this time of year, and it would have been almost impossible to find the trail. Don’t go this way in heavy snow! For us, there was only about a foot of trampled snow and it was fairly easy to find our way along. We arrived back at the road, then hiked a mile down the road to the SUV. We had been hiking 5 hours and 45 minutes, had an elevation gain of 2484 feet, and since the start and had hiked 7.7 miles. We both were fairly worn out and Jim did not want to do the next peak. I wanted to hike Timber Peak on this trip and not have to return to do it at a later time. I always bring walkie-talkies and gave one to Jim so that we could communicate as I hiked along.

Most of the trip it was not windy but near the SUV, with the canyon winds, it was. I headed east up the mountain. There was a nice trail along the way. The clear sky had changed to a cloud covered sky. The trail forks, one part goes around the mountain, and the other ascends the peak. I went straight up. It was some work, scrambling over some boulders near the top. I arrived at the top of Timber Peak, elevation 10,510 feet. Again, there were spectacular views in every direction! The hike from the SUV to the peak took 50 minutes and was 1.2 miles, 8.9 from the start. The elevation gain from the SUV was 886 feet. There was a very old rectangular rusted can with a peakbagging log inside. It had many names. I signed my name but was too worn out to spend time reading the log. I headed back west on the same ridge to the SUV. Jim had been working on his “fake snow skiing” fall video. I was pretty worn out and it was nice to be back. The total hike took 10.1 miles, about 7 ½ hours including lunch, and the total elevation gain for the trip was 3520 feet. The only other time I have been in these mountains, the Magdalena Mountain range, was when I was about 15 and in Boy Scout Troop 166. We stayed at Water Canyon Campground. As we drove home I spotted the location where our troop had stayed for 2 nights and remembered the fun we used to have.

See almost 1500 NM peak pictures....
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Peak 10,281 looking towards the north northwest (2018-03-24). Photo by Phil Robinson.
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Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1551 ft / 472 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1076 ft / 327 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.7 mi / 9.2 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:716 ft / 218 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 475 ft / 145 m; Extra: 241 ft / 73m
    Loss on way in:241 ft / 73 m
    Distance:2.2 mi / 3.5 km
    Route:From South Baldy
    Start Trailhead:Saddle between South Baldy  9806 ft / 2988 m
    Time:1 Hours 55 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:835 ft / 254 m
    Gain on way out:835 ft / 254 m
    Distance:3.5 mi / 5.6 km
    Route:To Base of South Baldy back to SUV
    Time:2 Hours 17 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: South Baldy - Timber Pk +1

Complete Trip Sequence:
1South Baldy2018-03-24 a933 ft / 284 m
2Peak 102812018-03-24 b1551 ft / 473 m
3Timber Peak2018-03-24 c1036 ft / 316 m
Total Trip Gain: 3520 ft / 1073 m    Total Trip Loss: 1452 ft / 443 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

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