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Ascent of Carrizo Peak on 2005-06-27

Climber: Richard Carey

Date:Monday, June 27, 2005
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Carrizo Peak
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:9605 ft / 2927 m

Ascent Trip Report

New Mexico, Carrizo Mountain, 9600 + ft., prominence is 2645+ ft.
Trip report July 2005 by Richard L. Carey.

Carrizo Mountain is ranked 23rd in prominence in New Mexico and is in the center of the state northeast of the town of Carrizozo in the Lincoln National Forest. The forest map shows the mountain as a northern extension of the Sacramento Mountains so it appears to be part of that range.

Getting to the peak: From the town of Carrizozo head east on highway 380 for

8.1 miles to a signed road on your left heading to the O Bar O Ranch. The road is county road A010 and heads to forest road 441. Turn north on this good dirt road and at about 4.8 miles you will pass the O Bar O Ranch buildings. Stay to the right here and keep going to a cattle guard at 5.4 miles, which marks the start of National Forest land. The road is rocky and rough for a half mile or so and high-clearance is desirable. Thankfully, the road improves further on. At 6.5 miles there is a sign for the Johnnie Canyon Trail that leads up to the summit in 5 miles. You could start here or if you want a shorter hike continue on the road as I did and turn left at a junction at 7.9 miles at Benado Gap, actually a meadow. At 10.9 miles there was a junction and the road went left up to a radio site, but it was deeply eroded and had not been driven recently so I parked here.

Hike details: Hike up the road for 1.6 miles to a sign and trailhead on your right at a minor saddle. Follow this trail downhill a short distance to a large cairn. Turn right and go up a draw looking for more cairns since the trail is mostly nonexistent in this area. Continue along the cairns and look for the trail as it climbs in thick brush and enters the forest. Climb up to a small clearing and stone cairn and then go up through the forest to a crest. The trail is again hard to follow here, but look for it going down on the west side. Descend steeply and then the trail will level out in a clearing with a sign at a trail junction. You will be joining the Johnnie Canyon Trail #72 from here and it is 1.5 miles more to the summit. This trail is easy to follow and goes up and around a ridge and then due south, nearly level for some distance, to a clearing at a saddle. It is a short and steep uphill section to the summit ridge. There is a sign at Carrizo benchmark, but the true highpoint is about 400 feet further north. It was rather hot when I did this and I also had some troubles staying on the trail in a couple of places so my time may be slow. The ascent took 3 hours 15 min. and about 2 ½ hours return. The route is 8.6 miles round-trip with a gain of about 2600 ft. Take plenty of water if you are doing this in mid-summer!

Maps: White Oaks South, 1:24,000 scale topo map, 1973. Lincoln National Forest, Smokey Bear, Cloudcroft and Mayhill Ranger Districts.

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