Ascent of Jicarita Peak on 2018-07-28

Climber: Rob Anthony

Others in Party:Christina Anthony
Rayleigh (dog)
Date:Saturday, July 28, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Jicarita Peak
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:12835 ft / 3912 m

Ascent Trip Report

We took forest Rd #161 to the Serpent Lake Trailhead (Trail #19). We were in an SUV, but the road is passible in a carefully driven passenger car (though not lowered). The parking lot to the trailhead holds ~20 vehicles + room for horse trailers and was about half full. We were on the trail by 9:50 am.

The trail starts out following a 2-track and then head into the forest. After crossing a stream at ~0.8 miles, the trail begins gaining elevation at a moderate rate. The tread is of the trail is full of large cobbles and in places very muddy (during monsoon season). We encountered several downed trees, and made it to the turnoff to Serpent Lake (3.0 miles) in about an hour an a half. We went down the "lake," which is really more of a bog, and had lunch.

We then retracted our steps back to the main trail. Here, the trail starts switchbacking towards the crest and climbs above treeline. Fantastic views are had of the region and Serpent lake as you begin climbing. At about 0.7 miles past the junction, the crest is gained and incredible views are had of the Truchas mountains to the west. At this point, we started north on the Divide Trail (#36). Jicarita Peak is not visible until another 0.7 miles or so of hiking on this trail. We ran into another party descending here as well as a herd of pronghorn goats/antelope which we carefully avoided.

At 2.0 Miles from the Serpent Lake Junction, the trail reaches the saddle between Jicarita and South Jicarita Peak. From here, I left the divide trail and followed a climbers trail marked with cairns up the south ridge. No move is harder than an easy class 2-. Christina opted not to climb the last few hundred feet, so Rayleigh and I summited.

The summit is broad and rocky with several wind breaks built by previous hikers. We quickly found the highest point, enjoyed the views of the Truchas and Taos mountains, and then headed back down.

Descent was uneventful with the exception of the herd of pronghorns moving closer to the trail forcing us to have to skirt them even more by going off trail to the West. Clouds were moving in and I could see lightning to the west, so we got off fairly quickly. We managed to avoid getting rained on during the hike out.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2865 ft / 872 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2865 ft / 872 m
    Round-Trip Distance:12.2 mi / 19.6 km
    Grade/Class:Class 1+
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Stream Ford
    Gear Used:
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2735 ft / 833 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2435 ft / 743 m; Extra: 300 ft / 91m
    Loss on way in:300 ft / 91 m
    Distance:6.4 mi / 10.3 km
    Route:Serpent Lake Trail/ Divide Trail/ South Ridge
    Start Trailhead:Serpent Lake Trail Head   10400 ft / 3169 m
    Time:3 Hours 57 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2565 ft / 781 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 2435 ft / 743 m; Extra: 130 ft / 39m
    Gain on way out:130 ft / 39 m
    Distance:5.8 mi / 9.3 km
    Route:Serpent Lake Trail/ Divide Trail/ South Ridge
    End Trailhead:Serpent Lake Trail Head   10400 ft / 3169 m
    Time:2 Hours 34 Minutes

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