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Ascent of the Sandia Scar - Victoria's Route (Off Trail)

 Please Read Before Signing up.

If you have any question about being qualified for this hike then contact me.  This is most defiantly an advanced and strenuous hike that demands people with the ability to persevere, endure and laugh about it.

 The dude on the left is a member of the Hiking Princess's entourage.  He is giving us fair warning that if we don't turn back we are in for some serious pain.


Physical Rating: Strenuous
Technical Rating: Advanced
Distance: 7-10 miles
Elevation Gain: ~5100 feet
Prerequisites: Hiked with me, Victoria, Mikee or Doug Flynn. Strong hikers with endurance and off trail experience welcome.

The Hiking Princess calls it a scar and I agree with her. This is the line below the upper tram terminal that looks like a gouge going down and cutting through the limestone band. This creates a weakness we will exploit to make our accent to the ridge about the upper tram terminal.

We've done this hike several times.  The first time was on May 28, 2012.  We call that hike the Canyon of Pain and Suffering Route.


• We will assemble at the lower tram terminal and leave at 7am SHARP

• Proceed across the foothills and enter Domingo Baca Canyon

• We will leave the trail not far below the TWA crash site

• We will enter in an arroyo and hike north

• The arroyo will branch into a steep drainage.  At that point we will bushwhack east.

• We will take a slot up through the lower limestone band into the upper reaches.

• We follow the drainage until it opens up to what I call the Sandia Scar.

• We will ascend the Scar to the upper tram terminal.  This is a formidable class 4 scrabble.  Keep in mind at this point in the hike our energy will be waning and the sun relentless on our back.  This is a potentially dangerous part of the route.

Be advised that once we begin the accent up the scar we will encounter extremely steep slopes and class 4 scrambling with serious exposure.  This area is very difficult and very slow going.  There is the risk of injury.

We are never in a rush on this kind of hike, but move with purpose. Our attitude is we will get back to the cars when we get back to the cars. It wouldn't be unusual for us to find ourselves doing serious bushwhacking or struggling to get though difficult terrain. This is not a hike for the novice.

Be prepared for a long day, including the possibility of inclement weather. We will retreat if conditions warrant.  Hydration, hydration, hydration, bring at least a gallon.  You will need it.

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  • Steve G.

    thanks Aaron and Z had fun out there. Looking forward for the next hike with you all

    September 7, 2013

  • Z

    Fabulous route, really fun day scrambling and ramblig around the mountains. great navigating Aaron. Thanxs for the day. Too bad my GPS died, now i have to go back and do it again. awww :)

    September 7, 2013

  • Aaron G.

    I am positive that the route Doug found is the same route as Victoria and I found with a few trivial variations. I believe a comparison of GPS data will confirm that.

    We left the Domingo Baca just below the log/rock scramble just on the way to the crash site and took a faint trail. This was the same way Vic and I went. We made our way primarily up a drainage from there to a gully and scramble up above the first cliffs. Exactly the way Vic and I went. The rest of the route was as Doug described. It took us a little under 6 hours from the lower to upper tram terminal.

    This once exploratory hike can now be classified as well know. It is well worth doing. It is a physical challenge as well as a technical one given the terrain.

    September 7, 2013

  • Aaron G.

    Z and Steve are good solid skillful and safe off trail hikers. So it was smooth hiking from start to finish.

    It took us a little under 6 hours to reach the upper tram terminal. We decided to hike down from the La Luz through Domingo Baca Canyon. We stopped at the TWA crash site then back to our cars at the lower tram. Overall we spent 9 1/2 hours hiking and covered 14 miles.

    The off trail segments were in remote wilderness areas on steep slopes with a lot of class 4 scrambling. It went very well although I am ready to kick back and relax.

    September 7, 2013

  • Xuyuan P.

    damn, got caught by the rain today at sandia, and hurt my back. I probably can't do it

    August 25, 2013

    • Aaron G.

      Sorry about your back Xuyuan.

      August 25, 2013

    • Xuyuan P.

      thanks, it will be okay. it just takes time

      August 27, 2013

  • Doug F.

    There is no need to suffer, Aaron, unless you enjoy that kind of thing. If you follow the lay of the land and use logic, it is a pleasant stroll until the final steep pitch up the scar. If you end up thrashing through thick unfriendly brush, there is an easier way. Brian has the GPS tracks if you want them.

    August 24, 2013

    • Doug F.

      Heh, heh, I'm just giving you a hard time in joking way.

      August 25, 2013

    • Aaron G.

      Read your report, good detail. I replied with an interesting puzzle in the form of finding our way up a very formidable canyon just east of the TWA crash site. It may not be a straight shot up. I've discussed it with others looking down from the Kiwanis Cabin vicinity. The route looks like a zig-zag north-east-north through the cliffs. There are gullies that look passable from a distance. It might take more than one attempt. Something you might be up for. I would do some exploration in the upper reaches first and look for exit points. That what I did with the Gate of Hell, just to make sure we could get out.

      August 25, 2013

3 went

  • Aaron G.
    Trail King, Assistant Organizer,
    Event Host
  • Z
    Red Rocket
  • Steve G.

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