is an unassuming ranked peak (NM #177) near Pajarito Mountain
ski area. Skiers on Pajarito can easily see the inviting south and southwest facing slopes below UN 10250 and its SE ridge. In mid-winter after a dump, these gentle slopes hold fresh powder, but you have to hit them quickly since they are south-facing and get baked within about a half-day of sunhit. It had been snowing on-and-off and stayed overcast for the past 4 days, so I figured this morning would be a good time to get fresh tracks on these slopes. My tour involved 3 laps, ~2.5 miles roundtrip, ~1850' total vertical climbed/skied, and took about 1 hour 45 minutes car-to-car.
Topo of the area.
Climb and ski, repeat, repeat
I parked at the west end of the Pajarito Mtn ski area parking lot (~9200') and started skinning up toward Camp May around 7:50am. Before long I was past the end of the loop road and headed NW through alternating open slopes and well-spaced aspen trees.
At about the third large clearing, I turned more northerly, heading toward the summit of UN 10250 along the edge of a beautiful open slope. I heard some whumpfing but wasn't concerned since everything around was pretty low-angle. It was startling just the same. Just below the summit, the trees became dense and I picked my way to the summit area. I did the usual circling around a few times to make sure I actually stood on the true summit (a typical ritual on flat Jemez summits). It took about 35 minutes from the car. I ripped off the skins, chugged some water, and headed down the big open slope south of the summit, enjoying sweet turns on ~6"-8" of virgin light fluffy powder (overall snowpack depth was about 18"-24").
At the bottom of another clear slope just to the east (~9600'), I thought hmmm maybe I should get to the office as it was around 8:30am by now, but the powder was too good! I put my skins back on and skinned up to the SE ridge (~10100'). At this transition, I downed a granola bar and some more water before enjoying more equally sweet turns down the SW facing slope below the ridge. Before I got to the bottom (~9700'), I spied yet another open slope even farther east, so I traversed over, stuck my skins back on and skinned back up (can't go to work when there's this much virgin powder to be skied, and perhaps soon to be wrecked by the sun). My final ascent roughly followed a steep Jeep road (buried under snow of course) that heads NE from Camp May up to the SE ridge (~10000'). The third ski descent was well worth it, and I got back to the car energized for a day's work!
Inviting south-facing ski slopes on UN 10250, photo taken two days later from Pajarito Mountain.
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