Ascent of South Sandia Peak on 2013-10-19

Climber: Phil Robinson

Others in Party:My friend Jim.
Date:Saturday, October 19, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:South Sandia Peak
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:9782 ft / 2981 m

Ascent Trip Report

My peakbagging interest is New Mexico peaks that are 11,000 feet and above in elevation. Yet I have never done the peak closest to my home, South Sandia Peak, elevation 9782. This peak is as challenging as any peak in the higher elevations of New Mexico. It was wonderful to have the peak so close, and to be able to be at the trailhead within minutes. I hiked with my friend Jim. We started hiking at the Canyon Estates trailhead Saturday morning, October 19, 2013 at 7:15 AM. It was a chilly morning with a starting temperature of 27 degrees Fahrenheit. The starting elevation was 6540 feet. The trailhead is east of the peak and north of the village of Tijeras. We entered the Sandia Mountain Wilderness. The sun had not yet come up, but within a short time it was lighting up the mountain. A three quarters of a mile hike and we were at the Travertine Falls and cave. The falls were just a trickle. Our hiking plan was to take the long gradual way up, then the short steeper way down. It was a beautiful hike through an ever changing forest. Most of the hike was accompanied by expansive views as the forest opened up again and again. The 5 mile mark is where you can first look over the ridge to see Albuquerque. It was a perfectly clear day, yet the cold wind was blowing as we enjoyed the view of the city. At the 5.4 mile mark is a spring. It took us 3.5 hours to reach this point. Twenty-seven years ago I hiked this same trail, with a friend, to the spring . In 1986 it was flowing. On this late fall hike it was not flowing. We continued hiking along the ridge and Jim looked down and thought he saw a volleyball. It was a 4.5 pound puffball mushroom. I put it in my pack to have a gourmet treat later. A little while later we saw more, and I picked up another 1.5 pound mushroom. I cooked the smaller one that evening and it was wonderful. The larger one I put out on my property in hopes it would release spores and I would be able to get more puffballs mushrooms. We neared the peak and at first it appeared we would have to make a hard bushwhack through thick scrub oak. Fortunately, Jim spotted a trail that took us west of the peak, then to the top. It was clear, cold, and windy, yet fantastic views in every direction. We were in the center of a 300 mile diameter field of panoramic views. We took pictures, enjoyed the sites then went a little to the east to a protected area in the trees to rest and eat. It took us 5 hours to reach the top and the total mileage was 7.5 miles. We saw a different way down off the pinnacle, hiking to the east. It took us through the trees to a hidden aspen forest in a small rock encompassed basin. It was an enchanting area. We reconnected with the main trail then continued along the same way we had come up until we came to the steeper, shorter trail. We headed straight down. It was a speedy way to return, but would have been quite a bit more difficult to come up. We continued hiking until we completed a big loop then hiked down past the falls to the starting point. It was wonderful to be on a trail all day. I have had plenty of hard bushwhacks through the woods, and it was nice to not have to hack through the forest on this hike. We arrived back after hiking 8 hours and 30 minutes, which included a 30 minute lunch. Our total hiking distance was 12.6 miles with a total elevation gain of 3292 feet. The shorter way down knocks 2.5 miles off the trip. I might have hiked this peak twice before when I was in Boy Scout Troop 166. We did the same trip 2 separate years in 1969 and 1970. I was 14 and 15 those years. We hiked from the highest point on the range, the northern Sandia Crest, along the ridge, ending at the same trailhead. It was a 16 mile day hike. We did it each year to prepare us for October hikes in the Grand Canyon. They wanted us to carry 10 pounds, so I put 10 one pound cans of dog food in my pack. The trail does not go across the very top of the peak and you have to make a short detour to reach the top. I am not sure if we made this short detour. Yet twice before I was very close. This is the last peak I am planning to do for the 2013 season. This year I was able to hike 24 peaks, 21 of those new peaks. I had a total elevation gain of 30,082 feet for the year. This is the most elevation gain I have had for a single year. I hiked a total of 108 peakbagging miles for 2013.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3292 ft / 1003 m
    Total Elevation Loss:50 ft / 15 m
    Round-Trip Distance:12.6 mi / 20.3 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
Chilly and Perfectly Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3292 ft / 1003 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 3242 ft / 988 m; Extra: 50 ft / 15m
    Loss on way in:50 ft / 15 m
    Distance:7.5 mi / 12.1 km
    Route:Canyon Estates Trailhead - Up Sandia Crest Trail
    Start Trailhead:6540 ft / 1993 m
Descent Statistics
    Distance:5.1 mi / 8.2 km
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

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