Ascent of Organ Needle on 2019-12-07

Climber: Josh Grundy

Date:Saturday, December 7, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Organ Needle
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:8980 ft / 2737 m

Ascent Trip Report

I had an uneasy feeling about this peak due to the route-finding and scrambling and the fact that I would be doing it alone, but I decided to give it a try. I arrived at the La Cueva trail parking lot at 8 am (the gate is actually locked before this time). Despite being December, it was very warm. The hike down in early afternoon was in the 60s, the summit was in the 40s. I had little difficulty route finding to the yellow rocks landmark. After there, I started to become a bit unsure of myself. Luckily, I ran into a large group of climbers who allowed me to climb with them. I wouldn't say the route finding is overly difficult, but it took some thought. The trail itself is well worn, but there are random spurs that you can take if you're not closely paying attention. However, you generally quickly realize you're off the trail and can backtrack. Anyway, if you're experienced with route-finding, I don't think you'll have any major issues. If you're a novice, you might want to be with someone who has climbed the peak before (or hope you run into someone). I definitely could have made it to the summit alone, but I would have been constantly unsure if I was on the correct route. Once you get past the yellow rocks, the trail is relentlessly steep and generally loose. I would say much of the trail is class 2, which doesn't give you many breaks. The exposed scramble was something I was worried about if I were alone. But in a group, it wasn't a huge deal. It took maybe 30 seconds to complete the crux, and I didn't find it overly difficult. I am not the most confident scrambler. The rope that is currently attached there is nice to hold with one hand as a safety, though I really only used it on the way down. If you've had scrambling experience, you should be able to handle it. It took us around 4 hours to reach the summit, and that was in a large group with fairly long breaks. It could be done faster if you're in good shape. The descent requires being very conscious of your foot placement as you descend 3,000 feet of steep, fairly loose rock.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ascent Statistics
    Time:4 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 30 Minutes

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