Ascent of Peak 10980 on 2018-05-28

Climber: Phil Robinson

Others in Party:Brian
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Monday, May 28, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Peak 10980
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:10980 ft / 3346 m

Ascent Trip Report

Six years ago my son Garret and I stayed at Vermejo Park Ranch for 3 days to hike all the 11,000-foot and above peaks. We knocked off 9 of them. At the time I was not interest in any peak under 11,000 feet in elevation. Later I added to my peakbagging goals the 102 highest peaks in New Mexico with all the minor peaks in-between, currently 176 of them. Peak 10,980 is one of the 102 highest so I used it as an excuse to return, and this time with my wife. Vermejo Ranch is one of the largest private property ranches in North America. The ranch has almost as many square miles as the state of Rhode Island. The fences have been removed, the land and abundant animals protected, except for some hunting, and you feel like you have gone back into the stillness of the 1800’s. My wife and I stayed the first night in Raton, New Mexico so that we could get an early start to ranch. We left Raton at 7:30 AM, May 28, 2018, heading west on Highway 555. The road is paved for 32 miles then turns to dirt. We passed through the coded gate and were eating a wonderful breakfast buffet at the lodge at 8:45. On my last trip, one of the guides, Brian, asked if he could go along with us on our 15.4 mile hike from Big Costilla Peak to Stateline Peak. Brian was still part of the ranch and it was nice to see him again. He asked if he could go along with me. We took his truck and headed 45 minutes towards the west. To make the hike a little more challenging we parked further down the road than necessary, just past the Underwood Lakes. It was the perfect temperature to hike, not too warm and not too cool. We started hiking southwest up the main dirt road under clear blue skies. We left at 10:00 AM. The starting elevation was 10,035 feet. We came to an older road then headed south. After a short while we went into the woods bushwhacking pretty much straight towards the top. It is a tree covered mountain and the views are sparse. Half way up we came to an open meadow with expansive, beautiful views towards the Costilla Ridge. I took some pictures then we headed up. The forest was thick but not too thick to manage. We followed an old fence line to the top. The last half mile was a pretty good chug, but not overly taxing. We arrived at the top at 11:30, an hour and a half after we left. We hiked 2.5 miles and had an elevation gain of 1020 feet. I took some victory peak pictures and we headed down. We followed the same way down as we had come up. It was a beautiful hike with lots of wildflowers. The most prominent wildflower was the purple mountain iris. Near the end of the hike we came across a rare white variety. We arrived back at the truck at 1:00 PM, 3 hours after we left. We hiked 5 miles and the total up-down elevation gain was 1265 feet. We drove back to the Case Grande Lodge, where my wife and I were staying. It is a pretty expensive trip for 2 nights and 3 days, but we also enjoyed inclusive horseback riding, skeet shooting, archery and 3 meals a day. We went to a barbeque by Merrick Lake that evening and to say it nicely……six years ago was the best barbeque I have ever had in my life. The last night my wife and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary, one day early, with a beautiful “animal safari” drive to the far west side of the property; seeing buffalo, elk, and deer. We had dinner in the stately main lodge and enjoyed sitting on the veranda afterwards. We had a nice breakfast on the third day, then drove the almost 4 hours back to the Albuquerque area. (19 more to go)

See almost 1500 NM peak pictures....
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1265 ft / 384 m
    Total Elevation Loss:320 ft / 96 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5 mi / 8 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack
    Weather:Clear & Perfect Temperature
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1020 ft / 310 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 945 ft / 288 m; Extra: 75 ft / 22m
    Loss on way in:75 ft / 22 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Route:SW on dirt road then bushwhack to top
    Start Trailhead:Dirt road SW of Underwood Lakes  10035 ft / 3058 m
    Time:1 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:245 ft / 74 m
    Gain on way out:245 ft / 74 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Route:Same way down
    End Trailhead:Same as starting point  
    Time:1 Hours 30 Minutes
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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