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Normal Route (Little Squaretop)

 
Normal Route (Little Squaretop)

Page Type: Route

Location: New Mexico, United States, North America

Object Title: Normal Route (Little Squaretop)

Route Type: Hiking, Mountaineering, Trad Climbing, Scrambling

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Time Required: Half a day

Rock Difficulty: Class 4

Grade: II

Route Quality: 
 - 1 Votes
 

 

Page By: strudolyubov

Created/Edited: Feb 3, 2011 / Feb 9, 2011

Object ID: 696258

Hits: 671 

Page Score: 74.92%  - 5 Votes 

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Route Description

Normal route can be approached from the west using the standard Organ Needle Trail starting from Modoc Mine Road (a detailed route description by Gerry Roach can be found here). The route starts from the saddle between Organ Needle and Little Squaretop, and then ascends the north-to-south gully between Little Squaretop and Little Squaretop Massif.

The Normal Route on Little Squaretop
The upper part of the Normal Route
The lower Normal Route on Little Squaretop
The lower part of the Normal Route


To get to the base of the route, turn left before entering the Dark Canyon and ascend the gully towards a couple of large Ponderosa pines ...
At the mouth of the Dark Canyon
At the mouth of the Dark Canyon
Gully leading towards two large pines
Gully leading towards two large pines
Two Ponderosa pines on the approach to normal route
Two Ponderosa pines and Little Squaretop


Once you reached the pines, head north to the base of the rock rib (there are a couple of cairns marking the way). Traverse left along the base of the rock and scramble up the south side of the rib (Class 3-4). Cross the rib, drop into a narrow gully and do an ascending traverse on the next rock rib ...
Approaching the rock rib
Approaching the first rock rib
Traverse on the second rock rib
Ascending traverse on the second rock rib


After reaching the flat area, scramble up the easy slabs directly to the saddle between Organ Needle and Little Squaretop, or drop into a wide shallow gully on the left ...
Looking towards the Organ Needle-Little Squaretop saddle
The slabs leading to the saddle
Inside the gully left of the second rib
Inside the gully left of the second rib


From the saddle: downclimb to the right (east) side and ascend a short gully to the base of the main north-to-south gully between Little Squaretop and the Massif.
From the shallow wide gully: go up the gully and turn left at the large dead tree.
Once at the base of the main north-to-south gully, go north until you reach a water-stained wall with a few junipers growing above it. Scramble up the wall on the left side. After reaching the flat area, scramble up the wall behind one of the junipers ...
At the base of the north-to-south gully
At the base of the north-to-south gully
At the base of the water-stained wall
At the base of the water-stained wall
Scramble up a corner behind this juniper
Scramble up a corner behind this juniper
The rest of the route up the north-to-south gully
The rest of the route up the north-to-south gully


Scramble up to the top of the main north-to-south gully to the deep notch between the summits of Little Squaretop and the Massif. The left side of the gully provides scrambling on a nice clean rock. After reaching the notch, turn left and scramble up the slabs towards the summit of Little Squaretop. After ascending a short wide crack, you will reach the flat area at the base of the summit block. Look for summit register in the glass jar hidden inside the summit cairn. Climb to the top of the summit block. Enjoy the view!
The upper part of the north-to-south gully
The upper part of the north-to-south gully
Final scramble to the base of the summit block
The rest of the route up the north-to-south gully
Summit Block of Little Squaretop
Summit Block on Little Squaretop

Essential Gear

Sturdy shoes and clothing appropriate for bushwhacking through high desert vegetation. This route requires more Class 3-4 scrambling than the standard route on the neighboring Organ Needle. In dry conditions, people with climbing background (Class 4 and higher) will find it comfortable without ropes and climbing gear, but many people may want to have protection of the rope in a couple of spots.

Images