Ascent of Vallecito Mountain on 2020-09-04

Climber: Will Wente

Others in Party:Zeus
Date:Friday, September 4, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Vallecito Mountain
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:12643 ft / 3853 m

Ascent Trip Report

With the prospect of a warm, blue bird day, Zeus and I left ABQ late (~6:30) and were on the trail at 9:11. Fred Brown provided a (still) accurate description of the Arroyo Seco TH and route up the Canoncito trail and on to Vallecito Peak. The trail was easy to follow up to the saddle west of South Fork (4.5 mi, 1 hr 30 min) then it was a simple matter of traversing the ridgeline and the final Class 2 climb up Vallecito. The half mile up South Fork Peak (4.94, 1:54) from the saddle was a real turd burner, but from there to Vallecito, the views only kept getting better.
There was a good view of the loop route from Kachina over to Lake Fork Pk, on to Peak 12819 and Simpson to get to Wheeler - something I plan to do sometime later. I’d tried to run that route last September, but had gotten turned away because of some avi control structures they were building last summer following the fatalities they’d had the previous ski season. 

Old Mike and Wheeler were visible peeking up above that ridgeline from Vallecito. I found it easiest to stay right on the ridge for most of the route, which gave the best views anyway, and avoided the discomfort of side-hill hiking. The weather was perfect - barely a breeze above 5 mph and even atop Vallecito the temperature was almost too warm for hiking (~70 F). It was 6.77 mi to Vallecito Pk and took 3 hrs and 11 min. I could have easily stayed there and enjoyed the views for the rest of the afternoon by myself, it was so pleasant. As it was, I probably hung around too long - my legs (especially the knees) protested a bit when I started going down again.

I found it difficult to move an faster than a fast walk along the ridge - too many rocks and uneven ground. On the return to the Canoncito trail, I bypassed climbing South Fork Peak by choosing to instead contour from the saddle south of South Fork. The forest was open enough for most of it, that I was able to jog again, which helped loosen up the muscles and joints. The trip back to the TH was rocky enough, requiring concentration so as not to roll an ankle, but is quite beautiful among the trees, criss-crossing the creek countless times. Zeus was happy to drink up and cool down.

All in all an amazing day both scenic and weather-wise. The entire trip was 12.87 mi, took 5:07 hrs, and I measured a total of 4793 ft elevation gain.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Part of Trip: Vallecito (0 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1South Fork Peak2020-09-04 a 
2Peak 124292020-09-04 b 
3Vallecito Mountain2020-09-04 c 
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

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

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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