Ascent of Cookes Peak on 2012-02-16

Climber: Dennis Poulin

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Thursday, February 16, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Cookes Peak
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:8408 ft / 2562 m

Ascent Trip Report

Cooke's peak was a nice adventure. I approached from Hwy 26, turning north on signed Cookes Canyon road at about virtual milepost 14.5 acroos the highway from a tall water tank. This road is also signed as A019. Zero your odometer and drive on this straight road northwest. At 10.8 miles make a left turn on a rocky road with a small sign that says "Entering Public Lands". High Clearance and 4WD may be handy for the rest of the drive. At 12.7 reach a windmill off to your left, at 13.1 take the left fork, at 13.5 notic an old deteriorated road coming in from the left (some have used this as the trailhead), I continued and at 13.7 I took the left fork and at 13.8 I arrived at Riley Spring where there are a couple cattle water troughs. I parked here at about 6,160 ft elevation.

I really didn't know where I was going, so I hiked up and over point 6882 and then descended into the drainage beyond. On my descent after reaching the summit I found a nice well used cow trail that headed south from where I parked and joined the old deteriorated road coming up from the northeast. Getting on the old road is the right way to go. Once on the road, head into the canyon until it makes a sharp switchback to the left. At this point keep going straight along the bottom of the canyon. Stay in the bottom of the canyon following an occaisionaly cairn. There is a trail of sorts that is mostly on the left side of the small creek, sometimes in the creek, and sometimes on the right side. The trail is hard to follow in spots especially near the head of the drainage. Your goal is get onto the ridge at the top of the drainage at an elevation of about 7,540 ft. I used some game trails going up and mostly followed the people trail coming down.

Once on the ridge, find the climbers trail and follow it south to another saddle between point 7665 and the summit, then turn west and follow the climbers trail west towards the summit. There are cairns along this route and is easier to follow. At about 8,100 ft you finally reach the rocky summit block. I found some nice cracks on not too steep rock and followed the cairns up to about 8,300 ft and then it was an easy walk over to the high point. This rocky section may be a problem if it is wet or icy. I considered it a little scrambling and it didn't rise to Class 3 status in my estimation. Great views from the summit. On looking west I could see a massive storm front approaching, so I quickly signed the back of a full register and headed back down before the storm descended on me. I liked the hike, it was fun.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2346 ft / 715 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4.4 mi / 7.1 km
    Route:Riley Spring/NE Cyn
    Trailhead:6062 ft / 1847 m
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Dennis Poulin
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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.

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