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Ascent of Sierra Blanca Peak on 2013-09-01

Climber: Phil Robinson

Others in Party:Just me...
Date:Sunday, September 1, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Sierra Blanca Peak
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:11973 ft / 3649 m

Ascent Trip Report

We rented a home in the Ruidoso, New Mexico area for a 3 night family outing with my wife, my son and his family, including 2 grandkids. Because of activities and work my 4 daughters could not make it. This was the first trip at least one daughter did not come. We drove to Ruidoso Friday evening. My plan was to get up early and hike Sierra Blanca Peak, elevation 11,977 plus 3 other peaks. My son was going to hike with me but was not feeling well. I left the rental home Sunday, September 1, 2013 at 5:45 AM. It was wonderful to not have too drive far. I parked just before the ski area at the nature trail parking lot. I was ready to hike at 6:25. It was a cool morning and it was still twilight when I started. The starting elevation was 9,400 feet. At first the trail begins to head away from the peak, but progresses in long switchbacks that rise on the northern side of Ski Apache. I enjoyed the switchbacks because the other option would have been burning straight up the ski slopes, and that can be pretty tough. There was a fire two years ago in the area and I could see the destruction as I passed through large areas of burned out forest. Only portions of the hike was through burned out areas though, the rest was through beautiful lush forest and flower filled open areas. I reached the ridgeline and headed south to climb Lookout Mountain, elevation 11,580. I hiked into the ski area, just past the gondola then to the top. I arrived at Lookout Mountain after just shy of 2 hours of hiking. I hiked 3.5 miles to reach the peak. The views were spectacular and you get a feeling why they call it Lookout Mountain. I could see Sierra Blanca to the south and continued on. I hiked some on a ski road, crossed a wooden fence then went down hill to an elevation of 11,150 feet. This is Mescalero Apache land, yet I did not see any “no trespassing” signs so I continued on. I saw other people coming from the ski area that were on the land also. The last half mile or so to the peak is the hardest with a leg burning pull to the top. There are lots of rocks to climb up, some narrow ledges and at times you have to use all fours, yet it did not seem dangerous. I do not think that I would like to do this stretch in high wind. I reached the top and again the views were spectacular! This was my 100th New Mexico peak over 11,000 feet !! It took just shy of 3 hours from the start to reach the peak. The distance from my car was 4.9 miles. I took some pictures and signed a log book that was in a mailbox at the top. A little further to the south is a bump that one map I called Alamogordo Peak. I hiked to that. I don’t see how it could be called a peak and did not count it as one. After enjoying the views I continued back the same way down. At the bottom saddle to Sierra Blanca I came across a 75 year old man hiking up by himself. He looked fit and strong and is an inspiration to peakbagging! I was going to re-hike Lookout Mountain when I found an easy road around it to the west. I decided to go that way. To my surprise, all of the sudden there was an outdoor hamburger stand. I stopped for about 20 minutes and had a hamburger and drink. It was at the top of the gondola. People were getting off, eating and enjoying the views. My next peak was further to the north, the White Wilderness Highpoint Peak, elevation 11,300. I continued until I reached the trail going down, but continued hiking the ridge further to the north. I arrived at the wilderness highpoint 5 hours after leaving, including lunch, and 7.6 miles from the start. The highpoint is in a beautiful lush forest. I found a second trail down and took it, intersecting the first trail down. I planned to cut to the east/west ridgeline and follow it to Buck Mountain. I cut a little too early and had to do some backtracking. Finally I found a trail that cut through a lush green grass flower filled meadow to the ridge. I followed the ridge, to the east, through a very burned out forest arriving at Buck Mountain, elevation 10,769. I hiked 11.6 miles in a little over 7 hours. The top is covered with antennas and microwave dishes. I headed straight down the mountain, to the west, through a burned out forest. I arrived at a little stream and was back in the lush forest again. I headed south to the car. The total hike for the day was 12.6 miles and I did it in 7 hours and 40 minutes arriving at the car a little after 2:00 PM. My total elevation gain for the 4 peaks was 4450 feet. It was nice to only drive 30 minutes back to the cabin and continue the weekend with my family!
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1170 ft / 356 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:900 ft / 274 m
    Extra Loss:77 ft / 23 m
    Distance:1.4 mi / 2.2 km
    Route:Lookout Mountain then saddle
    Trailhead:11150 ft / 3398 m
Descent Statistics
    Extra Gain:270 ft / 82 m
Ascent Part of Trip: Sierra Blanca +3

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDate
1Lookout Mountain2013-09-01 a
2Sierra Blanca Peak2013-09-01 b
3White Mountain Wilderness High Point2013-09-01 c
4Buck Mountain2013-09-01 d
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. Peakbagger.com accepts NO resposibility or liability from use of this data.

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