Hey Guys... We ended up heading to the Pecos last week.
We got there Sunday night. After heading to REI in Santa Fe to grab some trekking poles (some idiot left his at home...ahem) we grabbed some lunch and did a dayhike to acclimate to the elevation out at Borrego Mesa (~9k').
The next morning we headed up from Espianola to Trampas TH. It was smooth sailing until ~10k'...serious postholing all the way to the lake...slow going, doubling our time, I would say.
After lunch at the frozen Trampas Lakes we set a bearing and found an opening in the ridgeline to head up. The climb up the scree ,and some snow, took a little toll on us flatlanders but we climbed to 12k' and made camp on a slight sub-ridge and watched a beautiful sunset.
The next morning we proceeded to bag Sheepshead and UN12,900...we proceeded along the ridge toward North Truchas...but...the conditions and the rockwall at the saddle between NT and UN12,9 conspired against us (along with our inexperienced new hiking partner...sigh). We had to bail down into Rio Quemodo Basin, down a very loose scree field on the south slope.
The USFS map shows a trail up to the ridge/saddle between NT and Middle Truchas...so...we got down to looking for it. We headed up another scree/boulder filled gulley on the eastside of the basin and eventually found a route after some scrambling/climbing. The snow (along with overhangs) made for some interesting choices to be made. However, our aforementioned 3rd wheel was uncomfortable ascending here and stayed on the basin floor. We found our course just as some thunder snow and hail rolled in...so...we descended back to the basin and made camp for the night. The basin is quite nice, with a couple streams running down to the Rio Quemodo Falls...but...the area contains several bogs and everything was pretty moist given the snowmelt/etc.
The next morning we (my usual partner and I) attacked the NT summit by the same route and had beautiful, albeit windy, conditions round trip. We got our natural high and our pics, so we were happy. While on the ridge we checked out the true trail between the basin and Truchas Lake...it goes thru a notch and does not ascend to the ridge itself. This break in the ridge, along with some serious loose conditions makes the northern approach to Middle Truchas (and Truchas) kind of sketchy.
After we descended we decided to break camp and head toward the TH. We headed down the Rio Quemodo and took in the falls before leaving the trail about 1.5 miles later (after some additional postholing fun). We set a bearing and bushwacked our way towards the San Leonardo Trail...a little drama I won't bore you with...but...we finally arrived back at our car, albeit 2 hours later than anticipated.
I'll try to get some pics up soon...
-Mark in St. Louis