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Sierra Ladrones -- Arroyo Route

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Above lower segment of Spine Route

Spine Route in red.  Arroyo Route is purple and mergers with the Spine route for the final ascent to the summit. (Close up below text.)

• Physical Level: Strenuous

• Technical Level: Moderate sustained

• Distance: 6+ hard miles

• Time: 6-10 hours hiking

• Elevation Gain: 4000+ feet

• Terrain: Off trail, desert, height exposure, class 3 scrambling

Notes: This is a remote area, be prepared for changes in temperature and weather.  I expect warm enough temperatures but you never know in the wilderness.

The Arroyo route is a modified version of the spine route.  This shorter version starts in an Arroyo just off the dirt road that leads to the standard route parking area.  I've been down the arroyo but never up it.  It is beautiful and a good warm up for what lies ahead.  Once we reach the ridge line of what I call the Spine Route the going gets tough.  The last part of this route is exploratory.  I know it can be done.

There are other, quicker routes to the top but this one is enchanting and formidable.  We may take the standard route back to the cars depending on daylight.

Recommend you prepare for the worse conditions.  Have cold weather gear, at least 4 quarts of water, head lamp, and gloves.  Hiking poles are a plus.  We will retreat if we hit our turn around time or conditions in the field warrant.  Keep in mind we could be longer than I anticipate.  I don't expect to be back to ABQ before 7PM.

Below is a close up of the Arroyo Route in purple and the final approach to the summit via the upper part of the Spine Route.

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  • Eric B.

    Finally climbed this mountain. I have always admired it from a distance. Aaron picked a good way to go up it. We all somehow managed to survive the descent. The scrambling near the top was fun. Good to see Steve and Aaron again.

    November 17, 2013

  • Aaron G.

    Had a great day with Eric and Steve working our way to the summit via the Arroyo Route and descending cross country via a modified version of our standard route. Finally' we hiked back the car on a dirt road.

    The Arroyo Route is the easiest route to the summit that I have experienced so far. I would describe the ascent in three segments. The Arroyo takes up a gentle slope through a beautiful desert landscape where it intersects with the ridge system I call the Spine Route. The middle segment runs up along a steep ridge line covered with grasses, cacti, and plants found in the Lower/Upper Sonoran life zone. The 3ed segment is a series of scrambles along a rocky ridge and up several couloirs. The scrambling is class 3, with some exposure. Easiest route does not mean that this is not hard. It is and requires a sustained effort.

    November 17, 2013

  • Eric B.

    I live for boulders

    1 · November 12, 2013

  • Aaron G.

    Doug, I have tried to summit via the Spine Route for years. (photo above) I retreated twice because of snow dangerously blocking the way, once when the temperature reached 104, and three times due to daylight issues. This time I am short cutting it by taking an arroyo to the ridge line. Once I know the complete the upper route I will come back in the spring and attempt the full route from the base of the spine. I know it can be done b/c the route involves a short knife edge, which I've seen on the way down from a standard route ascent. Mikee and I were blocked by snow and ice on the north side of that knife edge. So I know once we reach the knife edge the summit is not far away. I'd go Sunday but I have plans.

    November 12, 2013

  • Doug F.

    I'd go with you if I wasn't bagging a couple of peaks with Brian. By the way, I love those boulder fields and hope you get an opportunity to head up one; it's a lot of fun and beats cactus dodging on steep, loose, gravely, slopes any day. I'm beginning to wonder if Steve is a real mountain guy. The hike I am doing on Sunday does not go by the second tram tower; Rozamiento is the first canyon NORTH of the tram, just south of La Cueva.

    1 · November 11, 2013

    • Steve M.

      Ouch! So judgmental. Boulder fields up... OK, down on aging knees, not so much. Going up or down it is no problem, going down at a decent pace on boulders is another matter.

      November 11, 2013

    • Doug F.

      Just kidding Steve.

      1 · November 12, 2013

  • Steve M.

    Does this entail going up or down that $%$*%& boulder field?

    1 · November 11, 2013

    • Aaron G.

      $%#&&^$%@ right

      Actually, I'm going to stay on the ridge line as much as possible. The couloirs are not easy to climb, and they have scree in them. Also, unless we take the standard route back the boulder fields will be minimal.

      November 11, 2013

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