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TR: Bandelier Mar 19-20 First UL (24)
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Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
24 Bandelier Mar 19-20 on 03/21/2011 19:02:59 MDT Print View

"Spur of the moment"/salvaging a so-so ski trip, I did my first backpack trip with a pack weight below 10 lbs to see if it makes a difference * (see last entry). Backpacked here before but never had the time or energy to explore the "star" attraction though. So this was a good first test.

Bandelier playing tourist day 1

Upwards towards the mesa, looking over the Frijoles to the cliff dwellings.View of Frijoles

Hot mesa ... know your water situation before precedingHot mesa before intersection 1
Dome Wilderness in background
Mesa in front of Dome
Fire and ice. Ski runs at 100% at Ski Santa Fe in the distance while I'm slow roasting on this mesa ... but I am enjoying this oddly enough Ski Santa Fe at 100% in background
Getting closer to the intersection and junction with guaranteed cold water.
A couple hours later
Starting down and finding leftover snow on north slopes .... below the desert Snow below mesa

Below the arid mesa, conifers hide from the sun on these north facing slopesConifers below mesa

5-6 miles while mostly gaining elevation gain from 2pm to 5:30 pm approximately. Tough but under a heavier load I would have been in far worse shape ... A few sharp switchbacks and it's cool forest with sweet running water ...
Dinner but still some hiking to do.

Dinner, then another mile plus before camp just before nightfall. Chose the Moment for quick set-up. Fast pitch but a little too much shelter for this benign environment. Maybe next paycheck ....
Moment moment


Only problem about a late camp is thinking a site is level but finding out differently. Planned to be up for the supermoon but crashed after a several miles in the afternoon. Woke up surprisingly fresh at 6am wanting to hike and not freeze waiting for breakfast, so slammed my canned Starbucks Espresso doubleshot, packed up in a few minutes and hit the trail.

Hike resumes:

Hiking by headlamp, feel light enough where stream crossing over a narrow (but high) board isn't an issueStream crossing at dark

OK, I could have just hopped over the rocks but couldn't resist.

Out of zone F

Forces of erosion shape the canyon ... Eroded steam bed
Undercut by water
Eroded below cliff
Keep following the trail
eroded canyon
cliff face
Hoodoo 1
Hoodoo hovering over trail, walk gently
Hoodoo over trail
Long way down just on the side of the trail.Long way down Trail breakfast 3 hours laterTrail breakfast Place to myselfLong house from below Time to play tourist again ...

Edited by hknewman on 03/21/2011 21:40:15 MDT.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
TR: Bandelier Mar 19-20 First UL (24) on 03/21/2011 19:18:06 MDT Print View

Continued ...

... Doing the tourist thing as I complete the loop. No tourists at almost 9 AM. With UL gear, no need to leave my pack down belowLadder up long house
Deluxe apartment in the sky ("the Jeffersons")
Deluxe apt in the skyCeremonial room on the "balcony"
Ceremonial room Yeah, this ultralight stuff is going to work out just fine ....
Long way down

Long way down ... here's some from the previous day. Another idea I had was using a small pack to conceal the fact I'm backpacking but as hardly anyone had even a fanny pack, it was pretty obvious. Still, hard to imagine doing this in a large backpack.Hot doorThe view from kiva
Late Sunday brunch warming up on the heater vents leaving Santa Fe NM as I drive home.
Warm food
... still hungry despite UL gear.

*UL Gear making a difference:

Generally, I felt much more energy to explore with the lighter gear, though there's room for improvement, especially with La Nina bringing the hot season fast to New Mexico. High miles will still wipe a hiker out and demand calories.

To add/edit,

Specifically, jury is still out on hiking poles, though skiing soreness was a culprit in my slow start and the poles helped speed me through the last miles.

Better camera: there were some bluebirds that I couldn't photograph on the mesa, so still looking at getting a better camera (my current camera is in a cargo pocket, and not on pack currently).

Other gear notes - Windshirt: Added a Patagonia Houdini which was used a lot in the canyon, but could have just used my rainshell. Gloves: Hands were cold using a pair of new Mountain Hardware "running" microfleece gloves, which replaced my thicker Manzellas with Patagonia glove liners - maybe a windproof fleece? Experimenting with a smaller pack when leaving from my auto to hike, so observers may think I'm wearing a daypack - didn't work. Glad I had the stove and hot food since the temps when down to freezing once the sun went down. Patagonia GI II pants worked in warmer conditions, cooler conditions, then discovered they are water-repellent when washing the dust off them...

Well I could go on but I will just be shopping the sales for vendors wares, as there's no 100% solution to any gear questions.

Edited by hknewman on 03/21/2011 22:20:17 MDT.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Excellent on 03/21/2011 21:36:06 MDT Print View

HK, This was a great writeup, enjoyed your captions and photographs. I've never been to Bandalier, hasn't been on the radar. So I take it you did a UL stealth camp since Bandalier is a day use only recreation area? La Nina is wreaking havoc on the southwest, the USFS has issued a high fire warning with our winds and drought conditions- closures are a possibility at this point if conditions fail to improve. Maybe next paycheck you'll be able to pick up a tarp and get out there and free up some ounces from the pack. Thanks for sharing!

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: No stealth yet on 03/21/2011 21:51:11 MDT Print View


Only the cliff dwellings are day-use. Away from the ruins, backcountry camping is allowed via free permit by zone and a few interesting trips can be put together with neighboring agencies (Dome Wilderness, etc...). North there are national security restrictions due to Los Alamos labs obviously - no stealth camping there.

In terms of gear, love the Moment but an even lighter solution is in order for these dry conditions. Putting together my gear notes and shopping the sales right now. Hopefully the gear people can talk the price of cuben down ....

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: No stealth yet on 03/21/2011 21:54:09 MDT Print View

But you have to go back, 'cause you missed the stone panthers.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Stone panthers on 03/21/2011 22:09:46 MDT Print View


Actually hit the stone panthers on a previous "traditional" trip I did with a group years ago before I left the States. My idea was to compare this trip on the long, climbing mesa with previous experiences using a heavier pack - but will be back regardless.

Edited by hknewman on 03/21/2011 22:12:45 MDT.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Great pics on 03/22/2011 16:55:01 MDT Print View

I enjoyed your trip report and pictures. Love seeing geography so different from what I'm used to. Thanks for sharing.

Chris Hanson
(ChrisHanson) - F

Locale: Eastern Wyoming
Bandelier on 03/23/2011 16:58:35 MDT Print View

Great report. I'm hoping to make it down that way this Spring and hoping it won't be too hot for this Alaska transplant!