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Ascent of Ranger Peak on 2020-11-17

Climber: Alexander OConnor

Date:Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Ranger Peak
    Location:USA-Texas
    Elevation:5653 ft / 1723 m

Ascent Trip Report

Ranger Peak is the same peak that the El Paso Tramway and the KTSM-FM Tower sit on.

There's a couple ways you could go to reach this summit. I elected to start on the west side at the trailhead of the 1000 Steps Trail. At some point I inadvertently lost the trail, following someone's cairns, along the top of the spur, but still managed to follow parallel to the actual trail. We were able to link back up with it when the trail banks south and a route enabled for a very brief yet somewhat steep descent back to it.

In reality, we could have just stayed on the 1000 Steps Trail for 0.7 miles. At this point there was an arroyo that contained what appeared to be an unmaintained trail. There are several cairns marking the route which proved very helpful. You can follow this route up to the memorial site for the B36 crash site (please leave any debris or remnants as they are).

Once we payed our respects, we continued up the couloir. At this point we encountered denser vegetation, loose and steeper terrain. We worked our way up to the ridgeline almost directly to the registry.

We took the time to sign the fragmented registry. Maybe someone can deposit a log book or something. The metal box its in is large enough. From here, we pushed south along the ridgeline to the base of the KTSM-FM Tower.

I wanted to search for the Beacon RMs and Benchmark, but there was too much infrastructure and equipment, and I did not wish to interfere with any of it. At this point the sun had set, and we opted to return to the registry.

We initially made the decision to work our way to the abrupt rise for the higher ridgeline, and see if we could make the unnamed peak where the KOFX-FM and KSCE-TV El Paso Towers reside. It didn't take long before we reassessed our course of action.

Naturally, bc I felt that the base of the tower wasn't the TRUE summit (by like -10ft of elevation), I saw a golden opportunity to rectify this personal grievance. We took the Directissmo Trail down the eastern slope, and then cut across back south below the ridgeline with help from the Jackaloop Trail. Despite it being nighttime, the city lights illuminated the rocks enough for us not needing to use our supplemental light sources. I found the trail exceptionally developed. Only one sketchy part required us to traverse across a brief but quite steep scree section on the slope. This was the only part of the journey my friend found truly nerve-wracking. He managed with help from guidance nevertheless.

Just below Ranger Peak towards the end of the Jackaloop Trail we found a monument highlighting the soldiers of Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment who built the trail (THANKS GUYS!). From this point it was an easy ascent up the residual of Directissmo Trail up to the Tramway and "top" of Ranger Peak. The true summit was around the corner... and I wasn't going to not hit it!

From here I traced along the infrastructure, and slightly down some from just after the power lines (my friend opted to stay behind for this part). I had to take my time so I didn't slide and lose my footing on the loose terrain and steep slope which would have resulted in my plummeting off the mountain after a few more meters of sliding. I reached the base of a 20ish ft vertical wall with excellent holds (+3 scramble with some exposure). I took my time to test each section, and eventually reached the small, but true summit.

I wasted no time to take my pictures and videos needed. The wind was exceptionally strong. I would carefully work my way back down which was a little unsettling, but made my way down the wall safely. Lurched my way up the steep slope, and back along the infrastructure.

From here we had enough. We hastily made our way back on the Jackaloop Trail, and linked up with the Directissmo Trail that took us down the east side of the mountain. Some minor challenges we encountered doing so in the dark, but we found it fun! We ended up only using our light sources for the last -100 ft or so towards the bottom, because I didn't want to step on any snakes. We reached the parking lot, and down McKinley Ave. We learned that apparently this area was actually closed

We hailed an uber for pickup on Alabama St which took us back to the west side so we could retrieve our vehicles. Both of us had a blast, and we had spent over 6 hours on our little excursion (we spent plenty of time enjoying the view and talking after it was dark as at this point, so there was no sense of urgency).

I must recommend, NOT following in my footsteps of pushing these activities through the night time let alone taking unnecessary risks. I assume full responsibility for my own actions, and do these things to maximize my abilities to deliver and thorough and detailed account of my experiences in addition to satisfying my own curiosity. I always weigh safety of myself and others when taking calculated risks. When with others I always solicit other members for their input as to ensure they're not in a position of serious discomfort or concern. Know your limits. Always stay safe. :)
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Headlamp



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