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 Background Information
Refer to Santa Fe Baldy's SummitPost page below:
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.
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
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.