Climbed Ladron on Christmas Eve. Started at 5 am, headlamping it most of the way to the base of the West Ridge (I think). Snow cover was sparse, maybe only an inch to 6 inches on the north facing slopes. Once on the ridge with enough sunlight we realized we might be on the wrong ridge but we kept ascending. Reached the Crest Ridge which was good times and scrambled north to the summit for a 10:30 lunch. Decided to descend the ridge running to the north. Some great knife edge climbing here! Descended about 400 feet then continued descent into a narrow chute with lots of rock fall. It was a long descent but great fun. Staying to either side of the chute helped with lessening the amount of loose rock to deal with. After an hour and a half of rock fall chutes we dropped into the more forested valley below the summit and quickly hiked back to the approach trail. Great mountain! Would like to climb it again with more snow.
This was my second time on this arduous climb. The bushwhacking becomes tedious and irritating, but the west ridge makes it worth it - just enough exposure and challenge for a hiker. This ridge makes this a mountaineer's mountain. However, both times up have convinced me that there is no decent way down! Both times we've looked around for an alternate other than going back the way we came - I'm not fond of down-climbing what I call Class 3 (some of you hotheads probably call the west ridge "easy Class2"!) Both times we've been forced by terrain into the drainages just to the west of the summit - risky ordeals of bushwhacking and sliding talus that is simply no fun at all.
So, anyone have any ideas on a better way down?
Great climb. One of my most memorable. The final chute had snow and the melt produced some rock fall. A helmet wouldn't have been a bad idea!
This is a good peak to climb in late winter. Vegitation is reduced and with a deliberate path you can avoid most of the snow. Climbed via the west face before shinning up a gully at the summit ridge. Find some tough pants for this one...it can eat your typical cotton/polyester hikers.
Great peak, cold on top. I'll do it again someday (Just got Landon Benchmark today).
Took the west ridge direct but cut off the west ridge to the summit ridge a bit early. Some easy class 3 but just a very rough bushwhack the whole way. Some burnt areas in the area.
A late start and unfortunate incident with a skunk (3 dogs along) led to turning around short of the ridge. Long ride home with all windows down. Pretty remote, off trail hiking.
Everything about this mountain is rough. The approach road, the jagged rocks, the prickly vegetation. It was an awesome hike to the top with a few interesting scrambles but nothing insurmountable (and I'm definitely a hiker, not a climber). Great views from the high point on the benchmark. Tried scrambling over to the peak to the east, but gave up halfway up and scrambled back down to the saddle and up to the benchmark again. It wasn't really worth it--it isn't easy to get anywhere on this mountain. GPS track here. Many, many thanks to Robert from Albuquerque who drove my low-clearance butt up the approach road and cut 4 miles off my hike.
We made it to the knob after two class 2 scrambles. A few spots of light exposure on the ride, but easily avoidable. Had to call it a day about a qaurter mile from the summit as a storm was approaching from the west and had caused an early sunset. Really isn't a trail, but in several sections there are cairns marking different paths, but couldn't really find a consistant path.
What a summit! The "west ridge route" directions were spot on. I found the route to be class 2. Maybe one tiny spot of class 3 on the south ridge about a quarter-mile before the summit. Hard to say. Worth every ounce of effort!
This was a pleasant scramble hike through difficult terrain. The ridge proper required several class 5 scrambles and is somewhat exposed in a couple of places. Be wary of the sensitive vegetation along the ridge - very easily damaged as there is no 'trail' per se. You will summit the Ladron 'Benchmark' first as you ascend the ridge. If you want to summit Ladron Peak proper, you must descent about 400' to the col separating the two summits and then ascent Ladron thereafter.
An impressive but less-traveled mountain.