My wife and I took a long car trip in September/October 2009 to Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. No camping on this trip, just motelling, eating good food, and sneaking in an occasional hike. After spending a couple days at the north rim of the Grand Canyon and then a couple more days in Canyon de Chelly, it was time (October 2nd) to head to New Mexico. I wanted to tag the San Juan County highpoint, so we drove down through Window Rock and then up Hwy 491 to Indian Road 34 that goes over to Sanostee. The paved road ends in Sanostee and there isn’t much to do in this settlement, so we just drove through and kept heading west. The road was good and I found the turn off for road 5013 easily because I had set a waypoint in my GPS.
This road wasn’t as good and I had to slow down some because there are lots of potholes. I was driving my Tacoma, so I didn’t have much trouble. We kept going and I again found the small branch road heading to the trailhead because of a waypoint in my GPS. This road has some rough spots that you want to have high clearance. We slowly made our way up the road and found a nice spot to park under some trees at the trailhead. My wife doesn’t hike, but she does enjoy the mountains, so I packed up and headed up the slope and she made herself comfortable in the truck.
I was sure hoping that Jobe’s trip report was accurate, because I knew I couldn’t climb the vertical cliffs we passed on the drive in. It was a warm afternoon, so hiking up the first slope had me sweating freely. Once on top of the first slope, I could see where the break in the cliffs should be hiding and I kept going, trying to avoid brush and some rock outcroppings. I aimed for the left side of the slot as I climbed, but it got very brushy so I moved out into the middle of the scree ramp where I found a game trail/dry stream bed. I decided to follow this up since it wasn’t brushy. It kept going all the way to the top of the vertical walls. Thank you Jobe for your great trip report.
Once on top, I had to orient myself to locate the summit and also so that I could find this spot on my trip back to the truck. I even set a waypoint in my GPS just in case….
I circled around the top of the slot I came up and kept heading up the hill towards my right. Picking a route to the summit wasn’t difficult, but avoiding the brushy areas required some traversing around them. It felt good to climb the last little rocky ledge and stand on the summit. The views were great to the north seeing Ship Rock, west to Roof Butte, and east into New Mexico and the San Juan River basin.
I had my walkie-talkie with me and called my wife at the truck and we chatted a little. I saw a couple full grown horses to the west and also a colt. They didn’t like me up here and soon started walking down towards the valley. I headed back down the some way I came up and arrived back at the trailhead 1.75 hours after I started. The hike was only 1.65 miles, but gained 1,030 ft. Driving back down the roads was uneventful and we had not seen anyone above Sanostee. On we went for more adventures in the days ahead.