Ascent of Camp Wilderness Ridge on 2006-03-25

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Saturday, March 25, 2006
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Camp Wilderness Ridge
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:7413 ft / 2259 m

Ascent Trip Report

Six 7400' contours, one of which has a 7413' spot elevation, serve as candidates for the most prominent point in Eddy county. They are all on Camp Wilderness Ridge and compete for the same prominence, and whichever is the highest takes the prominence. The area is near the Eddy county HP and is conveniently done on the same hike.

1.5 miles S of the end of the good gravel FR 540, the "Rim Road" with spectacular views to the W from the the top of an escarpment, is a now-signed junction where Eddy county HPers turn W. I will call this point "McKittrick Junction". I will designate the six 7400' contour areas using numbers 1 to 6 in order from W to E. By that system, area #1 is the one with the 7413' spot elevation, and #3 and #6 are very tiny. Area #1 is a short distance SW of McKittrick Junction and Eddy county HPers walk right by it; areas 2-6 are all E of the junction.

I visited all six areas in order from W to E, making many sightings along the way. Although tree cover hinders the views considerably, there are just barely enough gaps to afford sufficient views to garner a substantial amount of useful information. The sighting techniques I used should be noted. It is well-known that point A and point B can both appear higher when viewed from the other because of the illusion that the relative horizon usually does not appear level. Sighting in both directions between A and B and comparing the apparent gradient can mitigate this problem, but I more often used a technique that is better still: if points A and B can both be seen from some other point C which is about the same elevation as A and B, and A appears higher than B, then it is a pretty safe conclusion that A is higher than B, since any horizon illusion cancels out.

I made the following observations and notes:

From area #1, I could see a water tank near the top of area #2. Area #4 appeared higher than #2. Both #2 and #4 appeared higher than where I was standing, but that could be an illusion.

The HP of area #2 is between two trees behind the green fiberglass water tank.

Area #3 has only about 8 feet prominence.

Through gaps in trees about 20' below the summit of area #4, #2 appears higher than #1. Area #1 appeared lower than where I was standing; area #2 was too close to call.

The highest ground on area #4 is around two double-trunk trees both shaped like a V. A preexisting cairn is 30' E of this point.

From a point just E of the summit of #4 where my eye is at the same level as the summit, #5 appears at exactly the same level as the distant horizon many miles out onto the plains. This implies that #5 is lower than #4, since a distant actual horizon is always slightly below.

From the rim near the road S of area #5, #4 appears higher than #1.

From #5, #2 appears higher than #1.

#6 has only about 12' prominence.

Given all of these observations, I tentatively conclude (about 90% confidence) that area #4 is the highest of the six summits. It would be good to have someone survey this area with a level to be a little more sure. Although areas #2 and #5 are larger than #4 and #1 is about the same size, #4 is by far the steepest. #5 is especially broad and flat.
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