Ascent of Sierra Blanca Peak on 2013-06-30

Climber: Richard Oestreicher

Others in Party:Alan Bernier
Date:Sunday, June 30, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Sierra Blanca Peak
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:11973 ft / 3649 m

Ascent Trip Report

We arrived at the ski area around 8 AM on a hazy morning and headed up the ski runs and ski run access roads, starting out just a bit to the left of trailhead area. At the col around 11150 we hopped the wooden fence and followed the grassy area to the base of the peak. For the first few hundred feet we bush whacked up the steep grassy slope cutting back and forth to form the equivalent of switchbacks to reduce the grade. At a bit over 11,600 we skirted around and over a prominent rock outcropping. A faint use trail is evident around the back of it. While there are a few places where you need to use your hands, I didn't feel any sense of danger. You are, however, on a narrow, rocky, exposed ridge from here to the top. About 11750 we met a family of four coming down. The father was carrying a baby on his back in a child carrier. The six year old daughter had made it to the top unassisted, and she seemed quite proud of herself when I praised the daring of such a junior mountaineer.

On top we found a mailbox with trail registers. I was surprised to see how many people had summited in recent years--probably hundreds of names. For purists the highest rock on top does demand a class three pull yourself up.

On the way down we got caught in a heavy hailstorm around the rocky knob. Fortunately we had already descended the most difficult part. While the storm only lasted few minutes, this was not a pleasant spot to be caught in rough weather.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2309 ft / 703 m
    Total Elevation Loss:86 ft / 25 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.9 mi / 9.5 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack, Scramble
    Weather:hail storm
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2248 ft / 685 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2223 ft / 678 m; Extra: 25 ft / 7m
    Loss on way in:25 ft / 7 m
    Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Start Trailhead:9750 ft / 2971 m
    Time:2 Hours 46 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:61 ft / 18 m
    Gain on way out:61 ft / 18 m
    Distance:2.9 mi / 4.7 km
    Time:1 Hours 43 Minutes

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