Ascent of Penitente Peak on 2008-10-10

Climber: Phil Robinson

Others in Party:Phil Robinson
daughter Christina and dog Daisy
Date:Friday, October 10, 2008
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Penitente Peak
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:12249 ft / 3733 m

Ascent Trip Report

On the morning of October 10, 2008, I, Phil Robinson, my 12 year old daughter Christina and our dog Daisy got up at 5:00, left the house at 5:45, drove to Winsor Trail north of Santa Fe, and started our hike at 7:30. I was carrying a 20 pound pack with food, water and a few emergency items for hiking above 12,000 feet at this time of year. Our starting elevation was about 10,250 feet. We picked one of the most beautiful weekends to hike. The aspen trees were in their yellow, orange and golden glory. It was a glorious, colorful hike as we started off. Our plan was to do a big loop that we thought was 6 or 7 miles. It turned out to be quite a bit more. We went over a colorful saddle near Aspen Peak and then into the Pecos Wilderness. We followed the Winsor trail below Nambe Lake to Skyline Ridge trail. The weekend before it snowed 10 inches and we began to hike in snow. Our trail turned from fall to winter. At times we could not see the trail so we had to follow the markings on the trees. We hiked along through the trees for quite some time until we got above timberline. The views were incredible! After trudging through the snow we made our first 12K, goal Penitente Peak, 12,249 feet. The views from this point were endless, mountain peaks in every direction. We looked at our second 12K goal, Lake Peak. It looked cliffy and a little rugged. We were hiking towards the peak from the west and as we got closer we saw a trail on the southwest side. We followed it up it. The trail then moved to the north side, in lots of snow. Finally we made the top of Lake Peak, 12,409 feet. It was easier than I thought it would be. We enjoyed the views, took some pictures and looked towards our third 12K goal, Tesuque Peak. The next half mile was the hardest part of the trip. We had to find our way along a rocky, cliffy, snowy, and craggy route. We took it slow and had to look far ahead to find the best way to go. We had to move along on all fours in a few areas. Finally we made the open area on top. We hiked along the ridge, at the very top of the Santa Fe ski area until we came to the top of Tesuque Peak, 12,043 feet. During the whole hike the most we ever stopped to rest and eat was 5 to 10 minutes. We had our final little eat snack on Tesuque Peak, then hiked back to the top of the Santa Fe ski area. We went straight down a ski run. It was a little tough going straight down for so long. The views of the golden aspen were wonderful. We arrived back at the car at 3:30, 8 hours of hiking. Our GPS said that we walked 11.8 miles and it felt like it. My daughter’s legs were a little sore, but she was a great hiker! If I were doing this hike again, it would be nice to camp half way along this almost 12 mile loop. Just a side note; Penitente Peak appears to have some of the most expansive views and scenic photographic, vistas showing more New Mexico mountain ranges than I have seen from any other New Mexico mountain peak.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2579 ft / 786 m
    Total Elevation Loss:580 ft / 176 m
    Round-Trip Distance:11.8 mi / 19 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2579 ft / 786 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1999 ft / 609 m; Extra: 580 ft / 176m
    Loss on way in:580 ft / 176 m
    Distance:5.9 mi / 9.5 km
    Route:Santa Fe Ski Area to Winsor Trail to Skiline Trail
    Start Trailhead:Lower Santa Fe Ski Parking  10250 ft / 3124 m
Descent Statistics
    Distance:5.9 mi / 9.5 km
Ascent Part of Trip: Santa Fe Ski Area Base

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Penitente Peak2008-10-10 a2579 ft / 786 m
2Lake Peak2008-10-10 b409 ft / 125 m
3Deception Peak2008-10-10 c40 ft / 12 m
4Tesuque Peak2008-10-10 d147 ft / 45 m
Total Trip Gain: 3175 ft / 968 m    Total Trip Loss: 829 ft / 253 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Phil Robinson
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
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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