Ascent of Elephant Butte on 2016-03-18

Climber: Dave Covill

Others in Party:James Graham
Date:Friday, March 18, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Elephant Butte
    Elevation:5653 ft / 1723 m

Ascent Trip Report

Second time there. Astonishing amount of people singed into the register in the past two years, over a hundred it seemed. Had a bit of a time finding the correct pouroff slot out, but found it, pulled the rope, and got out in under 4 hours. Could do it again today in maybe two or so knowing the route down cold.

What an amazing place. A hidden Shangri-La inside of the mountain. Trees, water even in a few small basins. I have to say that no individual moves are over maybe 5.2, but there are 3-4 places where such moves are needed; some class 4. In the initial slot. Up onto the first basin. Up into the second basin. Up onto the notch before you drop to the rap point. Finally, breaching the upper parapets, a resistant buff sandstone layer capping the red sandstone monolith.

There are 5 bolts to rap down off of into the basin, with webbing. There are 3 fixed pitons to finally drop out of there over the 30'+ pouroff back to the ground. btw - there is still some good scrambling required to get down to the desert floor from the pouroff rappel.

The old register is gone; replaced with one from fall of 2014 and mostly full, and it is a thick notebook.

We camped outside of NPS land on BLM turf 0.1 miles W in the Salt Valley. Road into Arches has no gate there, and a small one near the paved road, but it is held open by wire and doesn't appear to be used to shut off the park. i.e., one can almost always get into Arches via the back way, and show your park pass as needed.
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