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Mark Andrews
(buldogge) - F

Locale: Midwest
Pecos Wilderness Mid-May? on 05/06/2013 10:11:43 MDT Print View

He guys...Any "locals" have insight/suggestions on trips in the Pecos Wilderness in the short term future?

Looking for a trip ~1k miles or less from STL, was originally planning a CO trip...but...looks like too much snow at elevation there.

How are conditions at elevation right now in NE NM? Planning on arriving/hiking around 5/14...

Route suggestions for 3-4 days, taking in major sights and hopefully peaks.

TIA
-Mark in St. Louis

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Pecos and Other Options on 05/06/2013 11:53:04 MDT Print View

I think a better bet from STL would be the Lost Creek Wilderness. Its lower and drier then most of Colorado so it is often one of the first areas to open up in the spring. As a bonus you can start hiking in the Goose Creek Canyon where the elevation is lower. That gives you about a day to get used to the elevation. There are two loops in a figure 8 shape. I'd do the bigger version that combines both (about 34-36 miles). There are a number of trip reports here an good resources on Summitpost.org

If there is too much snow in Lost Creek then I'd look in the Pecos but its a longer drive and I have no firsthand knowledge of it in spring.

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Pecos Wilderness Mid-May? on 05/06/2013 12:00:46 MDT Print View

How are conditions at elevation right now in NE NM? Planning on arriving/hiking around 5/14...
Might go there this week as this is my "oldy but goody" practice hike but could be some snow...

Pecos via NOAA

Route suggestions for 3-4 days, taking in major sights and hopefully peaks.

The more popular trails get cleared annually so driving about 1000 miles you may want to stick to those. I always come in from the south via Santa Fe and Albuquerque, so that's my frame of reference. If it's your first time and you want a loop, from Jacks Creek TH I would do a loop taking going to East Pecos Baldy, then Beatty's with some time for side trips up the Baldy, to Pecos Falls, etc.. Could come in from the north but I have no experience from that direction.

Mark Andrews
(buldogge) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: Pecos Wilderness Mid-May? on 05/06/2013 15:22:38 MDT Print View

Thanx guys... Looking into Lost Creek Wilderness now, as well.

Is SW CO bathed in snow at elevation as well? My hiking buddy was asking about Sunshine/Redcloud/Handies...???

HK...If you make it down to Pecos this week, I would love some insight. We would most likely take 44/40 out and come in from the South.

All info much appreciated...studying up now.

-Mark

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Re: Re: Pecos Wilderness Mid-May? on 05/21/2013 15:11:28 MDT Print View

Snow around lakes and enough on north slopes that you may need snowshoes to peak bag; otherwise trails most clear. Still getting some snow showers in the evening up high but FS wishing for more due to dry conditions otherwise (though monsoon thunderstorm season in July should green it all up). Plan accordingly.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Lost Creek on 05/21/2013 15:20:50 MDT Print View

There was a TR here recently about Lost Creek, looks like the Goose Creek loop (mostly under 10,000 ft) is open. I don't know if the high peaks are open or not.

They are both nice places. If you can get above timerline the Pecos might be a bit more scenic (somewhat a matter of opinion). But LCW is nothing to sneeze at. I would not stay in the canyons though. I'd do them but I'd try and get up on McCurdy Mtn and Bison Peak and if you have time the Kenosha Mtns.

Mark Andrews
(buldogge) - F

Locale: Midwest
RE: Post Trip on 05/21/2013 21:36:24 MDT Print View

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

North Truchas Summit

Edited by buldogge on 05/21/2013 22:26:29 MDT.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Post Trip on 05/21/2013 21:44:19 MDT Print View

Glad you had fun, I definitely like to see your pictures.

Mark Andrews
(buldogge) - F

Locale: Midwest
Some Pics... on 05/22/2013 00:04:35 MDT Print View

Postholing towards Trampas (my hiking partner Kyle):
Postholing

Frozen Trampas Lake:
Trampas Lake

Up the ridge:
Up The Ridge

Heading Up:
Heading Up The Ridge

1st Camp:
1st Camp

Up the saddle:
Up The Saddle

Sheepshead:
Sheepshead

Resting:
Resting @ Elevation

UN12,900:
UN12900

Towards North Truchas:
Towards North Truchas

The Rockwall:
The Rockwall

The Descent:
The Descent

Basin Camp:
Basin Camp

The Gulley and The NT Ridge:
Gulley
Gulley 2
The Ridge

The Toast:
The toast

Rio Quemodo Falls:
The Falls

Bushwacking thru the Spruce and into the Aspens:
Spruce
Aspens

Final Pic

-Mark in St. Louis

Edited by buldogge on 05/22/2013 00:09:07 MDT.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re pics on 05/22/2013 07:38:08 MDT Print View

Looks like an awesome trip! I was there in the fall and the aspens were just right but all that snow is spectacular. I'll have to get up there earlier some time.

Will Tatman
(roboconcept)
Fire on 06/01/2013 15:11:02 MDT Print View

This might be the last time we see a trip report like this for a while if the Tres Lagunas fire can't get contained...

Mark Andrews
(buldogge) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Fire on 06/03/2013 22:38:02 MDT Print View

Wow... That's pretty far south from where we were...let's hope they can contain it. Seems it's only 5% contained right now though!

-Mark

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Fire Closure order - Good chunk of Pecos wilderness on 06/04/2013 13:31:00 MDT Print View

Much of the Pecos Wilderness is closed as of the date of the fire closure order below (glad I got an overnight in a couple weeks ago)


http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5422594.pdf


Looks like everyone will need to go further north unless monsoon season rains can douse the flames. Think the fire so far is only threatening the road up to the main trailhead (Jack's Creek). Might be able to get some peripheral overnights in ("in and out's" from the TH's on the exterior) unless the fire closure order increases.