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Ascent of South Penitente Peak on 2014-08-09

Climber: Phil Robinson

Others in Party:Just me
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, August 9, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:South Penitente Peak
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:12110 ft / 3691 m

Ascent Trip Report

After completing my last hike, climbing the Jicarita peaks in the Pecos Wilderness, cumulating with the final peak, Little Jicarita Peak East, I finally hiked all of the 12 thousand and 13 thousand foot peaks in New Mexico…………….that are possible………. or so I thought. When I returned someone added South Penitente Peak, elevation 12,110, to the list & I am adding Peak 12027 which was mentioned in a great, recently published book, “The High Peaks of New Mexico.” I decided to hike these peaks and an 11 thousand foot peak that I needed, Peak 11385. In the process I had to hike quite a few repeat peaks. Just a note - there are 3, 12K peaks that are not possible to hike in New Mexico. They are on the Taos Indian reservation. I recently made a 3 night trip to Taos with my wife and talked to many people seeing if I could pay for a guide to hike those peaks and did not have any luck. The peaks are restricted to Taos Pueblo members and someone would have to be a disrespectful sneak, risking jail and being shot at to hike them. My son and I were shot at just hiking on the edge of the National Forest and their land. They did finally give us permission for the edge peaks. (See my Red Dome Trip Report) I am going to be writing letters and hope that some day a legitimate door opens up to hike the 3 interior peaks, 4 counting an 11 thousand foot peak that I need.

I left my house at 5:30 AM, August 9, 2014, and was delighted that I only had an hour and a half drive to hike the peaks. I tried to get family and friends to go with me, but no one was able to go. I wish I could have taken my dog Daisy with me on this hike but I knew it would be too long and hard for her. She is almost 11 years old and is still very strong for 5 or 6 mile hikes, but the hikes I have been doing this year have been too long and brutal. Our family was delighted to find a picture of our dog on the front page of the Sunday Albuquerque Journal, and me, August 10, 2014, with 3 more pictures on the second page. Journal writer Leslie Linthicum wrote a fun article of my peakbagging adventures with my dog Daisy. It is my hope, from that article, that it inspires more people to get out and see the wonder and beauty of God’s incredible creation. Everything is fearfully and wonderfully made! I also hope the article inspires people to become more physically fit, by getting out and moving. It is sad to me that I rarely see young people out hiking, mostly older. It appears that the virtual world may have taken some away from the real world. The real world is way more virtual than the virtual world, and getting out and hiking a majestic mountain you see that…………It was a nice drive to the Santa Fe ski area parking lot, seeing deer along the way. I started my hike at 7:30 AM. It was a crisp cool clear summer morning, only 46 degrees. I headed to the north on the Winsor trail until I came to the entrance of the Pecos Wilderness and a fence. I read another person’s trip report that they followed the fence line east, to the peaks that I needed. I originally planned to hike up the ski area and I am really glad that I did not have to. Hiking up difficult ski runs can be a challenge. I followed a trail east near the fence and was expecting to do some hard bushwhacking, but was delighted to find there was a nice trail that went all the way to the top. Someone told me the trail is called Raven Ridge Trail. As I hiked I saw some grey jays. They are the most curious birds, about hikers, that I have ever seen. I have seen them many times. They will sometimes follow you as you hike along. My first goal was the newly added Peak 12027. It took me 1 hour and 35 minutes and 2.6 miles to get there. It was such a beautiful wonderful hike. It was a crisp clear morning with the “Sound of Music” feel….”The hills are alive…” Continuing along the Raven Ridge until I reached the main ridge and Deception Peak, elevation 12,320. It took 2 hours and 5 minutes and 3.3 miles to arrive. I continued to the north. This area is fairly difficult and I had to some cliff/ridge scrambling. The best way to approach Lake peak is from just east of the ridge. I arrived at Lake Peak, elevation 12,409, 2 hours and 25 minutes and 3.5 miles from the car. This is the highest point on the hike and the views are spectacular from the peak. Actually, the views are spectacular almost the entire hike because you are most always above the timberline. I hiked straight to the east to Penitente Peak, elevation 12,249, and arrived after hiking 4 miles and almost 3 hours from the start. From Penitente and Lake Peak you get one of the most expansive views that you can find in New Mexico. You can see from the Sandia and Manzano range in the south, to the far northern peaks of New Mexico. I then hiked south to the newly added South Penitente or Peak 12,110. Once at the top…I’ve got it! Now I have done all the 12 and 13 thousand foot peaks in New Mexico……………..that are possible, 66 of 69! I arrived at the peak 3 hours and 35 minutes and 5.2 miles from the car. The peak is above the timberline with wonderful views. What a magnificent day to hike! The best weather and the most “feel good” day of hiking this year. I then looked at my next peak, Peak 11,385 and said, “Oh no!” I would no longer be above the timberline, bushwhacking through the trees, way down, then way up, then way down, then way way up, back to where I am standing. “Oh well, march on!” I bushwhacked through the trees to get to the peak and arrived 4 hours and 40 minutes and 6.5 miles from the start. This was the only peak that I hiked today that did not have a view. The top is tree covered. To hike Peak 11,385 from this direction you have to go back and hike almost everything again to get back to your car. I hiked back down to the saddle. The next part was the hardest part of the entire hike, over 1000 feet of elevation gain, through the trees, back to Peak 12,110. I now had hiked 7.7 miles in 6 hours and 5 minutes and took my first real rest of the trip. I usually don’t get hungry when I hike, but felt famished. I took a 20 minute lunch break to have jerky, energy bars, mandarin oranges in juice, mmmmm and get filled up on liquids. The afternoon clouds were rolling in. The entire day it did not get above the low 60’s, which was a great temperature to hike. It was now 2:00 in the afternoon. I re-hiked Penitente Peak, 8.8 miles and 7 hours and 10 minutes from the car. I heard thunder a couple of times in the distance and was glad nothing was near. I re-hiked Lake Peak, 9.4 miles and 7 hours and 35 minutes. Again, the most tricky part of the hike are the ridge/cliffs to the south of Lake Peak. It is easiest to stay east of the ridge. I re-hiked Deception peak. There was no more blue sky, but the cool cloudy afternoon sure felt great. I did not go back down Raven Ridge Trail, instead hiked along a trail then a road to Tesuque Peak. This was my last peak of the day. I had to hike and re-hike 11 peaks. It was 8 hours and 50 minutes and 10.7 miles from the start. I hiked several of the same peaks in October of 2008 with my daughter Christina and dog Daisy. We did not go up the same way that I went on this hike. We made a big loop to the north. When Christina and I hiked in 2008 we hiked down the ski area on some advanced ski runs and it was kind of difficult going down. This time I hiked down some beginning ski runs and it was much easier. I arrived back at the car after a total day’s hike of 12 and ¾ miles.. The total time, from start to finish, was about 10 hours. The elevation gain for the entire trip was 5585 feet. I did not see any larger animals on the hike, but did see a number of chicken size grouse in various locations along the way. This was my nicest, best weather, good feeling, day of hiking so far this year!
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:408 ft / 125 m
    Route Conditions:
Open Country, Bushwhack
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:408 ft / 125 m
    Extra Loss:148 ft / 45 m
    Distance:1.2 mi / 1.9 km
    Route:Hiked South from Penitente Peak
    Trailhead:From Penitente Peak to Saddle  11850 ft / 3611 m
    Time Up:3 Hours 35 Minutes
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: Lake - Little Penitente - Peak 11385

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDate
1Peak 120272014-08-09 a
2Deception Peak2014-08-09 b
3Lake Peak2014-08-09 c
4Penitente Peak2014-08-09 d
5South Penitente Peak2014-08-09 e
6Peak 113852014-08-09 f
7South Penitente Peak2014-08-09 g
8Penitente Peak2014-08-09 h
9Lake Peak2014-08-09 i
10Deception Peak2014-08-09 j
11Tesuque Peak2014-08-09 k
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Phil Robinson
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. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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