OverviewCerro Alesna is a well hidden peak that sits near the western edge of Mesa Chivato, north of Mount Taylor. No vantage point from I-40 or Highway 550 reveals this peak as mesas to the west, northwest, south, and southwest conceal it fairly well.
This sharp peak is similar to the other volcanic necks in the region like Cerro Cuate, Cabezon, and Cerro de Guadalupe, which reside opposite Mesa Chivato. Sadly, a coal mining company's land encompasses this striking feature of the desert, which limits access. Many warning signs about the use of explosives litter the area to prevent visitors from trespassing on to the land and endangering themselves. A quick survey of the area showed that there was no mining in the immediate vicinity of the peak, which holds promise for attempts by climbers. Yet, it would be wise to consult the Lee Ranch Coal Company for information prior to embarking on a trip for this peak.
In terms of difficulty, this peak will require technical rock climbing equipment and proficient skills in using them. Composed of unpredictable basalt that has the potential of giving way, this peak demands suave and savvy climbing.
Getting ThereFrom the South:
From Albuquerque, take Interstate 40 to Exit 79 towards Milan and San Mateo (take a right off the freeway). Drive past the gas stations immediately off the freeway on NM-605 and turn left at the "T" intersection. About 500' from the intersection, turn right to stay on NM-605. Continue towards San Mateo straight beyond another "T" intersection that offers the option of going to Chaco Canyon. You'll come within 700' of the town, but remain on the main paved road, which veers left. Continue for another mile and turn left at the sign that directs you towards Lee Ranch. After .25 miles, you'll be on private land with open range cattle. Continue on this road until the peak is in plain sight. Take a slight right onto a dirt road towards the peak.
I will look into any other routes to the peak, but the drive via San Mateo would be the easiest by far.
Red TapeThis peak is on private land owned by a coal mining company. For questions on access, you can contact the company that owns the land at the following address or telephone number.
Lee Ranch Coal Company
PO Box 757
Grants, NM 87020
When to ClimbLike other volcanic necks in this region of New Mexico, this peak should be climbable at all times during the year. The best periods are between March and May and also between August and November. The summer months can cook the rock to unbearably hot temperatures and ice thawing in the afternoon during the winter can give way to rockfalls. Due to the dust, dry air, altitude, and intense sun that drain you of water, it is important to pack plenty of it (a couple of liters is good). It's best to leave early in the morning to beat the heat.
Mountain ConditionsHere's a link to the weather report for the town of San Mateo, which is only 10 miles south of the peak.
San Mateo Weather