Peak(s):  Lake & Penitente - 12,000 feet
Date Posted:  11/26/2012
Date Climbed:   11/24/2012
Author:  Bethie
 Lake & Penitente Peaks  

Saturday 24, 2012
Pecos Wilderness - Santa Fe National Forest
Lake Peak 12,409 ft & Penitente Peak 12,249 ft
TH: Santa Fe Ski Resort - Windsor Trail
Mileage: 7.6
Elevation Gain: 3,600 ft
Keith & Beth Bershader

We started off at 8am in the mid 30's under sunny skies. There was only a dusting of snow on the ski slopes but we could hear the snow machines trying their best to make it look like a ski resort. We followed the icy hard packed Windsor Trail switchbacks for a mile till we hit the trail register. When we signed in we laughed out loud as we saw The Roaches just climbed these same peaks the day before. If we only knew they were in the area we could've climbed them together! But even it was even funnier since we were all nearby the weekend before in LCW climbing peaks. Anywho, we followed a trail east along the fence line through the healthy forest on the broad Raven's Ridge. There was some snow but we were in trail runners which worked fine since it was packed down. We were surprised at how traveled the trail was. It got windier & colder as we ascended. We had some minor ups & downs on the ridge. We finally reached the higher north-south ridge and turned left up this ridge. We finally came out of treeline at about 12,000 ft. We had fun on the minor low barely 3rd class scrambling along the final 1/4 mile to Lake Peak. We could see Nambe Lake frozen in the basin below. The wind was brutally cold & we were wishing we had just 1 more layer! We took a very short break on top but we decided to head off north towards Penitente Peak anyway since it looked so close. We descended the fun ridge rocky reaching the saddle quickly then ascended the open slopes to the top. It only took 30 minutes to reach and there was a nice rock shelter to sit out of the wind for a snack. We gazed longingly over at Santa Fe Baldy Peak so close-by but knew we didn't have time to go there this time around, had to head back to hang out with the family. We'll save it for next year! There's a loop we could've done to go back a different way but it would've added miles & again we knew we had to head back so we opted for going back the way we came. We descended back to the saddle getting bashed around by the wind & ascended the steep slopes back up to Lake Peak. Did our fun scramble on the ridge & quickly descended to treeline. We slid our way down the trail passing by a few people, the first we saw all day. Upclimbed the few slopes on the way back. Then very carefully made our way down the icy Windsor Trail back to the TH where it was a nice mid-40s & not windy. Nice area!! When we arrived in the morning we were the only car in the lot but when we left it was packed. Well utilized area with many trails.

 Comments or Questions

This was a favorite of mine...
11/26/2012 20:37
...when I lived in Santa Fe.
Do you have any pics?


11/26/2012 20:48
hey matt, i forgot my camera!! so no pics.


Santa Fe - lucky you!
11/26/2012 21:46
I try to make it once a year (Taos as well), but have not been able to get there this year. Have it calendared for April though. Have had some good times there. Thanks for sharing, will keep these peaks in mind as well!


Love Santa Fe!
11/26/2012 23:36
Minday, I try to go there at least every other year. I love love northern NM. My hubby Keith & I talk about retiring there!


fun despite the cold
11/29/2012 02:58
I keep meaning to hit some of these peaks on the crest of the Sangres...Anyway, you mention the Windsor Trail, but your description seems to correspond to the trail which the map shows coming off a road at the east side of the ski area. Is this actually also considered part of the Windsor Trail? Climb on!


That is correct
11/29/2012 18:15
Windsor Trail can be picked up from 2 diff THs leading in 2 diff directions. When you come to the ski resort you'd take the left fork to reach the TH we started at.

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