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Spanish Peaks - CANCELED due to poor weather (possible snow) forecast.

Sat, 2012-10-06
Michael Altherr

Objective Oriented.
Overview: The objective is to complete a circuit that includes the summits of both West (13,500’) and East (12,650’) Spanish Peaks. The difficulty arises in that this circuit is approximately 15 mi in length with 7,000 feet of total vertical gain. We will leave Los Alamos around noon on Saturday Oct. 6 and drive approximately 5 h to Cordova Pass Campground.
Attractions: Interesting geologic formations, and stunning views being the eastern most prominences rising 10,000’ above the great prairie. Never done it before, and tired of saying that as I drive by them on I-25.
Options: For those interested in a bit less strenuous day, you could depart later and follow the primary objective group up the West Peak Trail to the summit of West Peak and return the same way (a round trip of approximately 5.5 mi with only about 2500’ of vertical gain). This would be a great opportunity for a new leader to get some independent experience by leading the second party. Those interested in continuing to East Peak will descend 3,000’ toward the East to the saddle and reclaim a little over 2,000’ in 5 miles to reach the East Peak summit. For a real time view of the objectives look at ( We will then return to the saddle and traverse on the South side of West Peak on the Wahatoya Trail to return to our camp. Depending on the time of day when we return, we may enjoy a nice leisurely dinner in camp, consider leaving to conduct a reconnaissance of the Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton, or disperse.
Sugarite Canyon State Park is (was) a jewel in the NM State Parks system. Unfortunately, much of it was burned in a fire last year and I am interested in how it is recovering for consideration of a future trip. If time and interest permit, and we go on to Sugarite, you may wish to bring climbing gear as there are some beautiful top ropes in the area that we could play on Sunday morning before pushing back to Los Alamos. There is a small lake and there used to be a number of nice trails in the area as well. FYI – there were showers available at Sugarite.
Gear Recommendations:

  • Sleeping bag, pad, and tarp or tent.
  • Appropriate clothing and foot wear for alpine conditions (Camp is at 11,250’)
  • Food for two days of camping. I’ll have a grill and one small stove.
  • Climbing gear for top roping (if we go on to Sugarite)


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