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Deadman - Rock Spring Ridge, NM

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Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 1.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,950 feet
Elevation Gain 1,700 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.97
Interest Off Trail Hiking
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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Author imike
author avatar Guides 253
Routes 0
Photos 6,930
Trips 2,467 map ( 21,513 miles )
Age 69 Male Gender
Location Cloudcroft, NM
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Preferred   Oct, Apr, Mar, Nov → Early
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:51am - 6:02pm
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Can't Get There...
by imike

From Alamogordo, looking up into the ridges rising on the east, there is always a pull to make your way up to the top of the formation known as: “The Lady”. This would also have you resting at the base of the towering cliffs known as the Steamboat at the far west end of Long Ridge.

The problem: just how to get there.

There is an easy walking access ridge out of Deadman Canyon. Lying between Deadman South and Rock Spring Canyon this gently climbing feature provides great overviews down into the surrounding areas… and far vista views of all of Alamo Canyon drainage across to Hershberger Peak and beyond. The grade is soft enough to be called "stridable".

Unfortunately, the north end of this ridge is guarded by its own towering cliffs. There is no easy access until half way up Rock Springs Canyon.

There is a vertical cleft. For those so foolishly inclined, it might be climbed, thus giving access to the full length of the ridge. You can clearly see this cut out towards the end of the high ridge, just inside the Rock Spring side of the hill. I do not recommend going anywhere near that cleft.

The better option: hike up Rock Springs and climb out midway up… then hike the ridge down to the cleft just for the overviews. Or, simply enjoy the easy walking up to the top of the ridge. Do both.

There are numerous connecting loop potentials, but the value lies in checking out the views on the east side down into the Deadman Canyon drainage. Take the time and check it out... it is not easy to get up on this hill, but well worth the effort.

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2013-11-16 imike

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Deadman - Rock Spring Ridge
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    early start... long day. Made our way up the correct canyon this time... and it was nice. the Upper regions did not offer much other than overviews into future routes... and access easily up to the Steamboat formation. We encounter the site of a plan wreck with most of the plane long gone.

    We exited below the Steamboat... down upper Deadman... into middle Dead... and that provided a great descent. We hit the Spur trail over to Roundup Ground trail... and down and out.

    We worked our way at various points around to see 4-6 more routes to check out.. the most dramatic will likely be BlackFace... the canyon immediately north of Black Rock. It appears to be cut off low down with a towering Face of Black rock. We could not see all the crevices... maybe there will be access???

    Steamboat access from the west end is not going to happen... need to loop the south side (Mule Canyon north) to check for routes... but more likely it will be from upper Deadman to the far east saddle.

    Sunny with breezes... 50's... very nice out!!
    Deadman - Rock Spring Ridge
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Exploratory to find out if we could descend off the Ridge down into lower Deadman... got lucky and found a nice looping approach, and as we climbed the chosen cleft, saw signs of Elk...? That told us early on we would make it up and through the cliffs... elk had been coming down to the riparian area up Deadman! I've never seen them this low nor in the area, but clearly they'd cut out a clear trail. The cliffs section: surprised to find that elk would do such a steep climb. It was good for us. Also surprised at how much distance and elevation we had to do after clearing the cliffs. The top of the Ridge was way on up.

    Dropped over the Ridge on the West side, looped around the top of RockSprings Canyon to check out the trail we spotted last week. It proved out (made its way around to the bedrock cut) and extended all the way out and around out of RockSprings. By the time the trail died out the side ridge provided easy walking. We exited the canyon and checked out the upper Alamo Forks... they look good, and there is a cave to boot! More exploratory!!!

    Clear and sunny... calm to start, temps in the 20's. Breeze by midday... still sunny but storm coming?

    Another exceptional day out... came home and reviewed Ross's video of Arch Canyon from Saturday. He's been wearing a Go-Pro... and it is beginning to yield results!
    Deadman - Rock Spring Ridge
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Fridays are interesting. Since I have Saturday scheduled for harder, longer outings, I could take it easy. Yet, if I am hiking solo I tend to drift towards areas I have not yet tried. Today, that meant the first major cut up and out of Deadman Canyon. It starts out with a very nice dry waterfall, followed by a bedrock sidewalk. That combination just invites. Above that, within half a mile of easy canyon I arrived at the namesake spring... and then up to the Cottonwood trying valiantly to progress rooted into solid rock.

    Then, the first large dry fall... nicely climbable on the left... and another fall formed from the same strata, draining the right side of the canyon. There was a cheat route around both falls further to the right. I opted for that nice game trail route; this was easy Friday.

    Turned out the next bit of progress was up the ridge splitting the two drainages. A very nice game route followed the top... giving views off both sides. The canyon eventually turned to the east, the right hand channeling topping out... the left curving on up and around... and up and around... and again! It took me all the way up to the saddle at the base of the Steamboat. Impressive.

    I did a bit of wandering once on top... checked out the possibility of dropping off down into Black Canyon (looked okay?)... then I started down, intent on checking out the ridge between Deadman South and this new canyon. Turned out the walking was great... no trail but I could nearly run down the softer grade. It inspired me to try to follow the ridge on down and out...

    ...and, that may have been a mistake?

    It was fine, right up until I was nearly back to where I wanted to go. Then, it got steep. then, it got vertical. I'm not really good with vertical.

    I had hiked a ways...I did not want to reverse and climb back up the ridge to access the canyon at the top. I noted a narrow cleft below me... I worked my way down and into the cleft, and began to downclimb. 30' down and the route below was obscured by a tree... I paused... finally turned my brain on, and started the climb back up and out. Pulse a nice 148 BPM when I finally regained firm footing back above! Checking the bottom of that cleft hours later, as I passed by (after hiking back up and around to regain RockSprings Canyon)I noted the remaining 60' of slick rock vertical I had been dropping down into!

    So... Easy Friday turned into scare the crap out of yourself... log extra miles and AEG Friday. My legs were even cramping up during the climb out of the cleft; that normally does not happen until hours later, recouping at home.

    I was to go long on Saturday... kinda hoping the other hiker cancels; I'd prefer easy! Something calm... level... no vertical edges... handrails might even be nice?

    Another good day on the mountain.

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    Map Drive
    Connector trail - Not Applicable

    To hike
    Up Deadman Canyon, beyond the intersection with T107, Roundup Grounds Trail. Ridge lies between RockSprings Canyon and Deadman Canyon south. It terminates at the foot of the cliffs that form the face of The Lady... at the far west end of the towering Steamboat formation. Hike up Trail 104 to begin your outing.
    page created by imike on Nov 16 2013 12:01 pm
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