Ascent of Relica Peak on 2012-08-11

Climber: Richard Oestreicher

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, August 11, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Relica Peak
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:11760 ft / 3584 m

Ascent Trip Report

From the MIddle Fork off the Red River TH (crowded as usual) I took the road to a gate where the trail turns left. Last year when I was here the gate had " property for sale" and "No Trespassing" signage. This year nothing except Forest Service "no motor vehicles." Perhaps the FS bought the acreage. There is a solitary house about a mile in but no indication that hikers can't go up the road.

The road (or its remnants) ascends slowly for about 1.4 mi. from the parking area to about 10,400. It actually took me a bit away from the peak, but my goal was to get as much elevation gain on the road as possible before I began what I knew would be a steep bushwhack and to get around to the west side of the peak which is not as steep as a direct route up. I encountered a variety of use trails here and there, but mostly it's a steep bushwhack. Not a great many downed trees, but awkward walking across the steep slope. I followed the ridge line west of the peak up to close to 11,400 and then down a bit into the saddle at a bit over 11,200. From there I found a fairly clear use trail most of the way until the last 1/4 mi. to the peak.

Although the elevation for Relica Peak is a bit lower than what would normally be tree line in this neighborhood, the top is almost bare. As a result, there are magnificent 360 degree views of almost all of the high peaks in the area--the Latir Wilderness to the North, Gold Hill west, Baldy and Touch-me-not east, and the whole Wheeler Peak range to the south. Someone constructed a small stone hut at the top. This is not an easy ascent, but well worth the effort. Peakbagger lists Relica Peak at 11760, LOJ at 11780. MY GPS gave multiple readings between 780 and 790. There's a benchmark on top--maybe there's an official USGS elevation even though it's not shown on the topo map.

On the way down I took a somewhat more direct route following a stream bed part of the way. Normally this is not a good idea because streams on steep peaks usually collect lots of debris and downed trees. This one was not bad, but it's a narrow chute and would be dangerous in a rain storm. I wouldn't chance it if you don't have a clear day. I emerged from the slopes onto the road a few hundred yards east of where I had left it, leaving an easy mile walk back to my car.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2282 ft / 695 m
    Total Elevation Loss:156 ft / 47 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6.3 mi / 10.2 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2271 ft / 692 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2126 ft / 648 m; Extra: 145 ft / 44m
    Loss on way in:145 ft / 44 m
    Distance:3.6 mi / 5.9 km
    Start Trailhead:TH Middle Fork Red R.  9634 ft / 2936 m
    Time:2 Hours 28 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:11 ft / 3 m
    Gain on way out:11 ft / 3 m
    Distance:2.7 mi / 4.3 km
    Time:1 Hours 18 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Richard Oestreicher
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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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