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Ascent of Wright Hill on 2006-03-23

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Thursday, March 23, 2006
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Wright Hill
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:6686 ft / 2037 m

Ascent Trip Report

From NM-24 at mile post 29 directly across from the Van Cleve Ranch, I took a road E which is labeled in DeLorme as CR25 and signed as Wilkerson Well Rd in the field. 2.5 miles down this road is a junction where the side road to the left is labeled in DeLorme as CR21 and signed in the field as Wright Well Rd. The side road goes through a gap in a fence, passes right by a house, and continues toward a canyon. The road was probably public, but the extreme proximity to the house was a little unnerving, so I decided to ask. I knocked on the door and after a long wait was answered by a young fellow who appeared to be about 20. He was soon joined by another boy who seemed to be about 10. I asked them if this road was County Road 21; they said no, but they didn't know where it was. They asked what I wanted and I said I was here to investigate a peak which I thought was probably up that road. They said that one person lives a few miles up that way, and the 10-year-old said he wasn't there now. The conversation concluded. I doubt they owned the property or knew what they were talking about, but since they had no apparent objection to me being present, I decided to continue up the road.

After 1.3 miles I reached a point where the road became very wide and briefly followed a creek bed of very coarse gravel, though it was no problem for my rented Toyota Camry. A minute or so later I came within view of what was probably the residence of the guy that the 10-year-old boy said wasn't there now. Just to be safe, however, I turned around and headed back to the wide gravel section, which was out of sight of any buildings, and parked. This was very close to "Point 5994".

I hiked the road to the stream crossing just east of the point where the road crosses the border of sections 24 and 19, turned N on said stream, and ducked a square-lattice wire fence in the gravel stream bed. After several minutes I arrived at the stream junction just W of "Point 6276" where sections 13, 18, and 24 all converge. I made an ascending traverse up the N side of the ridge E of here, skirted the W side of "Peak 6580+" to the saddle just S of the main summit. At the saddle is some old ranch paraphernalia, including an upright water tank. The climb to the summit was straightforward and uneventful. After some careful sighting, I determined that the highest ground is at the E end of the summit area, and I built a cairn there.

I came down a different way: I followed the ridge to the next saddle W of the summit, turned S down the canyon, and followed the natural watercourse all the way back to the road. This is probably the preferred route for future visitors to this peak: it minimizes sidehilling, and it's not very steep. A few times it is necessary to climb temporarily out of the very bottom of the dry creek bed to bypass the occasional dry waterfall or thicket, but it's no real issue.

On 2009 Apr 15, Bob Packard also attempted this peak by the same route I used, but when he asked at the house, he was denied permission. He then climbed the peak via an alternate approach from the N.
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