Organ Needle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organ_Needle) is the highest point in the Organ Mountains, at 8980 ft. If you're coming on this hike, you probably know more than I need to explain.
This is probably among the most difficult "trail" hikes in the state of New Mexico, if not the most difficult. While only some 8–9 mi, we'll be climbing over 3800 ft. When we did this in September, it took 11 hours. With a slightly cleaner trail and hopefully everyone knowing what to expect, we should be able to do it more quickly, but it's unlikely to be any faster than 8 or 9 hours.
Apparently Organ Needle is rated a 3+/4 on the Yosemite Decimal Scale (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yosemite_Decimal_System), which means there is climbing with exposure. This only exists for a short segment (10 feet?) at the top, for which we'll be bringing a rope.
Please bring (other than the obvious):
As much water as you can carry. You can leave the water at Juniper Saddle to pickup on the way back down. About ⅔'s of the way up, there is also a water cache. Clippers. Please help maintain the trail—it needs it! The most annoying part of this trail was how overgrown it was. We'll have at least 1 pair of lopping sheers and hand clippers; it'd useful if others brought their own and clipped whatever bothered them along the trail. Saturday's forecast is 66°F in town—which means it may be as cold as 50°F in the shade up in the mountains. Think about bringing a coat or sweater. Lightweight flashlight. It's entirely likely (but not desirable) that something happens and we end up coming down after dark.
DISTANCE is is 8–9 mi, out and back.
ELEVATION GAIN is almost 4000 ft gained.
FEES: $5/vehicle, paid at the trailhead If you have a Federal Lands Pass, please bring them; they are accepted here.
DURATION: All day. Please do not expect less!
PET FRIENDLY? No; pets are not allowed in Drippings Springs Natural Area.
SKILL LEVEL is extremely, extremely difficult & strenous.
TERRAIN loose, desert-plant mountainside. The trail is becomes unbelievably steep after 2.5 miles in.
WEATHER is clear w/ a high of 66°F.
AFTERWARDS we'll see.
MEET for carpool at:
Las Cruces: 7:30 am, in/outside Milagro Coffee at Pan Am Plaza. See map (OpenStreetMap (http://www.openstreetmap.org/?node=630424392) or Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=32.287422,-106.745166&aq=&sll=32.304328,-106.770802&sspn=0.057166,0.086174&ie=UTF8&ll=32.28755,-106.745288&spn=0.014929,0.021544&t=h&z=16)). Fillmore Canyon Trail head, La Cueva Picnic Ground, Dripping Springs Natural Area: before 8 am. We leave 8 sharp! MORE information:
Incomplete (only part of the trek down) GPS track (http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=vsojluvbqrumsskv)