Welcome to SP!  -
Mount Taylor Winter Ascent
Trip Report
Trip Reports

Mount Taylor Winter Ascent

Mount Taylor Winter Ascent

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: New Mexico, United States, North America

Object Title: Mount Taylor Winter Ascent

Date Climbed/Hiked: Mar 18, 2009

Activities: Mountaineering

Season: Winter


Page By: Scott

Created/Edited: Mar 26, 2009 / Mar 29, 2009

Object ID: 501291

Hits: 4951 

Page Score: 75.81%  - 6 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote


March 18 2009

Kessler and I set off to do a winter ascent of Mount Taylor, one of the highest mountains in New Mexico. The weather was perfect, but we weren’t sure how far we would be able to drive up FS Road 193 so we knew it could be a long haul if we wanted to climb the peak.

After an early morning start, we drove towards the trailhead and found that we could only drive two miles on FS 193 before having to stop in our 2wd low clearance vehicle. It would be over three miles each way to reach the summer trailhead (Gooseberry Trail-later we found out that there may be a shorter winter route).

Photo for trip report purposes only
FS Road 193 was closed after only two miles so we had to walk the rest of the way.

We donned our snowshoes and after walking almost an hour and a half we wondered if we might have over shot the summer trailhead since the area was covered in snow (none of the three ranger stations/visitor centers we visited had a topo map of the mountain for sale!). We decided to head east up the mountain because it really wouldn’t matter if we were on the trail since everything was covered with snow anyway.

Routefinding through the thick forest
Kesser routefinding through the thick forest on the lower slopes of Mount Taylor. We never did find the summer trail on the way up, so we just headed cross country up the peak.

We climbed steeply to the ridge through the open forest and followed the ridge up the mountain. We found some scraps of trail and a couple cairns, but when we got high enough on the mountain we could see that the real trail was on the next ridge to the south and across a gaping valley.

Climbing Mount Taylor
Kessler climbing the lower slopes of Mount Taylor on March 18 2009.

Climb along the ridge
Kessler climbing on the ridge on our approach to Mount Taylor. Some sections had deep snow and some slopes were more open since the wind blows the snow off the ridge.

We climbed our rugged ridge through the lava rock, having to remove our snowshoes once we hit the rock until we reached the real trail when we weren’t far from the summit. We put our snowshoes back on and climbed to the summit of Mount Taylor on perfect bluebird weather day. It had taken us over six hours to snowshoe the six miles to the summit, which isn’t bad for a six year old.

Mount Taylor
Kessler approaching the open upper slopes of Mount Taylor after a long climb through the trees.

Rocky section of ridge
Here is one of the rocky sections of the ridge (Mount Taylor). The pitch at this point wasn't too steep, but the rocky sections were a hinderance since we had to remove our snowshoes in a few places. The ridge gets steeper ahead.

Final approach
Kessler on the final approach to the summit of Mount Taylor on March 18 2009. Notice that much of the upper slopes are quite windblown.

Winter Ascent
Kessler on the final approach to the summit of Mount Taylor on March 18 2009. Notice that much of the upper slopes are quite windblown.

After eating lunch and enjoying the views from the summit, it was time to head back down. We took the “real trail” down, but found that it really wasn’t an advantage or any faster than the route we took up especially in the areas that were sparse on snow. We followed the trail back to the trailhead where it was a long haul back along the snow covered road to the vehicle. It was a rewarding climb and had taken us ten hours round trip. Kessler was pretty tired and went to bed well that night. It was a record long distance for him on snowshoes and possibly for me as well.

Kessler descending from the ridge on Mount Taylor after a long climb to the summit on March 18 2009.


Winter AscentRoutefinding through the thick forestPhoto for trip report purposes onlyClimbing Mount TaylorMount TaylorClimb along the ridgeDescending
Rocky section of ridgeFinal approach


[ Post a Comment ]
Viewing: 1-1 of 1    



Hasn't voted

I think you meant to list the trip report in New Mexico, but accidentally listed it as a Colorado trip.
Posted Mar 27, 2009 5:31 pm

Viewing: 1-1 of 1