Santa Fe Baldy East Chutes

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 35.82957°N / 105.76015°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Feb 27, 2010
Activities Activities: Skiing
Seasons Season: Winter

Route Overview

Santa Fe Baldy, which is located at the southern tip of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range and is the nineteenth highest ranked peak in New Mexico. It has good east and southeast facing slopes with several interesting steep chutes. Our total roundtrip distance was ~11.1 miles with a total elevation climbed/skied of ~3006'. Our car-to-car time was 9 hours.
Santa Fe Baldy East Chutes

Santa Fe Baldy Background Information

Refer to Santa Fe Baldy's SummitPost page below:

Approach Tour

Although the approach is approx 6 miles via the windsor trail, the first 2 miles are slightly down hill allowing for quick travel. The majority of elevation gain is saved for the final push. Since Baldy is the areas highest peak, you can bet on winds. Favoring the ridge proper can protect you slightly from the W/NW winds. Beware of the significant cornices which develop along most of the approach ridge.
Santa Fe Baldy Southern Basin

The East Chutes from Baldy s Summit

Cornice Development

Stability and Snowpack Profiling

If questions exist concerning the stability of the snowpack in the east chutes, finding a representative aspect to dig a pit can be challenging. The wind-loading within the east chutes can be pretty significant. There is a shorter chute further south along the ridge, which could provide some data, however it faces slightly more north. We choose not to investigate this chute as wind-loading was obviously significant, not allowing for a safe place to evaluate. Thus we choose to continue onto the east chutes and cut some of the large cornices above the chute, observing the snowpacks tolerance to the forceful load. Following the favorable results to the cornice bombs, I decided it was safe enough to downclimb into the chute and run some stability tests.

See test results here

Cornice cut

Ski/Ride Descent

There are 2 prominent east facing chutes prior to reaching Santa Fe Baldy's summit, each providing approx 1000' vertical, and averaging slope angles at approx 38 degrees. Exiting the basin is quick with little elevation gain.

Skin Route Out

Dropping in

Looking back up the chute

The Line


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-4 of 4

scotthsu - Feb 28, 2010 7:27 pm - Voted 10/10

nice job!

Looked like a great day out, Chuck! Thanks for writing up the TR and for attaching it to the NM backcountry skiing page. I've updated the table to include your report. Isn't the total vertical closer to 3800' instead of 6800'?

cmcquade - Feb 28, 2010 7:58 pm - Hasn't voted


That would explain it! I had an odd setting on the gps. I went back and looked at the profile, it actually seems to be 3006'. Thanks for the correction.

cmcquade - Mar 4, 2010 3:33 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Sweet line.

The first 2 miles are mainly downhill, if the skin track is in (usually the case), its a cruiser. The same goes for the first two miles of the return skin.

cmcquade - Mar 4, 2010 3:35 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: What....

Awesome, hope you get to it this season. The basin has 4-5 tempting lines :) Not to mention another east facing basin on the north edge of the summit (Lake Kathryn Basin)

Viewing: 1-4 of 4