Page Type: Trip Report
Date Climbed/Hiked: Mar 23, 2009
Activities: Hiking
Season: Spring


Organ Mountains
The Organ Mountains are a prominent landmark towering above Las Cruces NM just to the east. These mountains provide hiking and climbing for all types. From easy class 4 and low class 5 rock climbs to class 5.10 climbs and from short hikes to long steep hikes. Organ Needle is the highpoint of the range at 8,990 feet and requires 4,000 feet of elevation gain in 4 miles (one way) to reach the top. From Las Cruces it looks as if it will require solid rock climbing skills to reach the top.
I have lived in Las Cruces my whole life. Growing up I never thought I would be able to climb such a mountain. I didn't start climbing mountains until high school. After about a year of climbing mountains I decided to look into climbing Organ Needle. I had already climbed Organ Peak, the second highest mountain in the range. After researching it some I realized only a short class 3+ climb was required. So a friend and I decided to go for it.

The climb

We drove up the mine road a little past baylor canyon road but only about a quarter mile. We started hiking around 6. After hiking a short ways past the mine there is a trail that heads off to the left. The first time we attempted Organ Needle we took that trail but realized it was the wrong trail. This was our second attempt and we knew this time to stay on the main trail. After a short ways the trail becomes very steep. My friend and I were eager to get to the top so we didn't rest very often. About half way up the mountain we came to juniper saddle where there is a nice flat area to take a rest and a nice view of Organ Peak.
Organ peak
After a short break we continued up the mountain. At this point the trail gets harder and harder to find the farther you go up. Keep a lookout for the cairns, they help tremendously. Once we got about 80% up the mountain we entered dark canyon. It is a narrow canyon that leads through to the other side of the mountain. Once out of that the top is near. The ground leveled out some and even dropped a bit. After a short ways past the top of dark canyon there is a trail marker pointing to the class 3+ section.
Near the summit
After we walked the 125 ft to the climb we were amazed at how easy the climb was we just followed a crack in the wall and were up in no time.
Short climb to the summit
Then in just a few short minutes we were at the top. It took us less than three hours to the top. When I was at the top I realized I was going to do much more mountain climbing in my life. I had just climbed something that I had thought was impossible.
On the summit of organ needle

Coming down

After we stayed on the top for an hour we decided it was time to head back down. We figured coming down would be even faster than going up. It ended up taking a little longer. Near the bottom we somehow got on a different trail. After a little bit of bushwhacking we got on the right trail, but by 1:30 we had made it back down and then grabbed a quart of chocolate milk for each of us.


No comments posted yet.

Organ NeedleTrip Reports