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New Mexico scrambles

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Location: Los Alamos, NM/Pearland, TX

New Mexico scrambles

Postby mthiatt38 » Thu Aug 17, 2006 3:30 pm

Can anybody recommend a good Class 3 scramble within a few hours drive of Los Alamos, New Mexico that would not require me to backpack in or hike 10 miles plus?

I'm really looking for just a quick morning trip where I can get out and have some fun on the rocks.

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Postby MtHurd » Thu Aug 17, 2006 5:16 pm

Well if Taos Ski Valley isn't too far away, hike up the Williams Lake Trail. At Williams lake, angle right up a sea of boulders and a few trees to the base of the ridge coming off of Lake Fork Peak. Follow the class 3 ridge all the way to the summit. It will take routefinding to keep this at class 3. You will traverse around to the right when you get to the ridge to avoid the class 5 stuff. The ridge is fun all the way to the summit.

From the summit, hike north over to Kachina Peak and descend down one of the Taos Ski Valley Runs.

Other than that, everything I can think of will require a lot of hiking. The next shortest approach to class 3 stuff would be starting at the Rio Quemado Trailhead in the Pecos Wilderness and doing Medio Truchas Peak. Climb up to the saddle between North and Medio Truchas Peaks and run the 2nd and 3rd class ridge to the summit of Medio. If you like 5th class stuff, there are a couple of 5th class routes up Medio that I know of, and probably one up Middle too.

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Thanks

Postby mthiatt38 » Fri Aug 18, 2006 10:58 am

I appreciate your reply. Some friends and I tried Truchas last summer but were turned back by a nasty hail storm.

Is there a good place to look for a trip report, map to this Williams Lake Trail?

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Postby Matt » Fri Aug 18, 2006 11:12 am

For a short, easy scramble, you could do Lake Peak from the Santa Fe Ski Area. http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock ... -peak.html
There's only a short scramble, but the views are great.
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Postby Green Mountain Boy » Fri Aug 18, 2006 11:15 am

Try this link at summitpost: http://www.summitpost.org/route/166354/ ... -lake.html
If you poke around you should be able to find more info on the route to the lake as well.

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Postby mthiatt38 » Fri Aug 18, 2006 11:33 am

Have any of you climbed both mountains? Which route was more fun?

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Postby MtHurd » Fri Aug 18, 2006 12:35 pm

I haven't climbed Lake Peak but I know it is a walkup. If you are looking for class 3, Lake Fork Peak would be the climb which I have done. Here is a look at the ridge going from left to right. The majority of the ridge is in the cloud shadow while the very top is in the sun.

Image

Here is a pic showing how to get to the start of the ridge.

Image

I agree with the poster about checking out the SummitPost page and route for Lake Fork Peak. The guy put up a great page.

The route shows two descent routes, each requires a lot of rock and scree slogging, thus the reason I said it would be better to return over Kachina Peak and down a Taos Ski Valley run. If you have more time, you could head north and climb Bighorn Peak and then return using the Williams Lake Trail.

Here is a pic of Bighorn Peak from the start of the Lake Fork Peak ridge.

Image

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Postby mthiatt38 » Fri Aug 18, 2006 12:46 pm

Is Kachina the unnamed peak directly north of Lake Fork Mountain?

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Postby MtHurd » Fri Aug 18, 2006 12:51 pm

Yes. Kachina Peak is really just a bump in the ridge leading from Taos to Lake Fork Peak. The elevation gain won't be much up to Kachina Peak on your way down as you can see by this picture taken from Lake Fork Peak.

Image

Lake Fork Peak is the 6th highest peak in New Mexico and if you decide to do Bighorn Peak, it is the 9th highest peak in New Mexico. Kachina Peak is not considered a seperate peak since its saddle between it and Lake Fork Peak doesn't reach 300 ft. lower.

Here is a good pic of Kachina Peak and Lake Fork Peak. See this page for route information down from Kachina Peak. You can see the ridge coming down (left) off of Lake Fork Peak in this pic as well.

Image

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Postby Matt » Fri Aug 18, 2006 2:13 pm

[quote="Barry Raven"]I haven't climbed Lake Peak but I know it is a walkup.

For what it's worth, since you seem stoked on Lake Fork Peak, Lake Peak is NOT a walk up. The scrambling section is short (1/2 mile), but you can make it harder by not taking the easiest way, which still has a few class 3 moves.
Either way, have fun.
We are all greater artists than we realize -FWN
A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -HDT
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Postby MtHurd » Fri Aug 18, 2006 2:43 pm

My bad looks like there is a little bit of scrambling near the summit.

Image

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Postby mthiatt38 » Mon Aug 21, 2006 1:27 pm

Thanks for all of the advice guys. I decided to do Lake Fork and made it all the way to the base of the ridge before heavy fog and the 50% chance of T-storms turned me back. It looks like an awesome climb though, so I'm definitely going to have to go back.

BTW, the hike up to Williams Lake was the first time I've hiked in mud in New Mexico when it wasn't raining. It looked like Tennessee or North Carolina up in there.

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