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Ortega Peak, NM

no permit
393 58 3
Guide 58 Triplogs  3 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
3 of 5 by 1
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 3.9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,601 feet
Elevation Gain 3,058 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,100 feet
Avg Time One Way 2-4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 14.23
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
19  2014-05-28 Jim_H
11  2014-03-31 Jim_H
30  2013-12-19
Marble Canyon - North - North Spur
6  2013-09-12 Jim_H
4  2013-05-12 Jim_H
7  2012-12-17 Jim_H
12  2012-11-04
Ortega Canyon
12  2012-10-27 Jim_H
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
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jan, Feb, Nov, Dec → 7 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:51am - 6:02pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Classic A
by imike

If you're traveling through Alamogordo, NM and would like to enjoy a bit of trail time, Trail 119 offers both a vigorous bit of exercise along with substantial views of the surrounding White Sands Monument basin. The workout is substantial, moving ever upward over an old jeep route... sometimes across deeply rutted gouges, other areas of loose gravel, and finally into the flattened path, easy walking, of the lower reaches of the hardwood, cedar and pine forest trails leading on up into the Sacramento Mountains.

The hike begins right in town at an unmarked drainage and proceeds up to the classic "A" marked in white painted rocks (Alamogordo!), and proceeds upward slowly move to the south side of the Peak. The trail crests at an old metal water tank then moves onto a saddle at 3.6 miles up and to the right (south) of Ortega Peak. At this saddle, T119 continues on for another 1.6 miles, but Ortega Peak is accessed by leaving the trail and working your way up the final few hundred feet. The route is rocky, steep and shrub/cacti covered, but not too great of a challenge. Your efforts will be rewarded with a 360 degree view of the distant Sierra Blanca Peak, San Andreas Mts, Organ Mountains and the Tularosa Basin/White Sands area. You also are overlooking most of Alamogordo.

This is not a "getaway" hike, but still well worth the effort. I've encountered Elk, Deer and lots of cattle along this section. The sun exposure is extreme; in the warmer months take plenty of water.

Note: The Sacramento Mountains are subject to seasonal closure due to wildfire danger... typically in the months of May and June.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2009-04-29 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 of 123 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Ortega Peak
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    Sort of back on track with the Progressive Training Series. I failed to adjust start time for time change, so ended up cutting day a bit short. Energy was off. Legs were on and off... tired? Interesting tumble! Hauled a small amount of rock, but brought the heavy shovel down. Enjoyed Hot Turkey Posole!

    Now... need to decide just where to take this. I'll score the 9,000' day by end of year; should not be a problem. Beyond that, structure to just maintain or add some strength and speed? Or... do stupid and make a run for some new record? too old, but interesting to think about.
    Ortega Peak
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    Progressive training day finally hit the Peak! Rock Hounding makes that part of the hike fairly easy... nicely distracted by the variety of great stones. But... all those piles of rock get put in the pack on the way down. Today that brought the packload up to 101#! I was moving slow! Footing was iffy... and the weight destroyed my shoes; I was walking with the soles displaced to the side. Oddly enough, no falls until I was all the way down to the bike. To get out of the gully to cross the street I ofted the shoulder pack and was about to remove the backpack... and the weight shifted, throwing me to the ground. Blood! No pain.

    So... one big workout day... down hauling that weight on a trail moving at 900 fpm... tomorrow may be very interesting!

    So... need to sort and photo the rock. Need to dive into a salad!

    Luster along (40# pack) Darrel moving lighter... his first time to the peak.
    Ortega Peak
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    Mary did great today. I began my weight augment by carrying 10# Kettlebell... shifted it to pack after awhile. Used rocks to eventually get the pack weight up to 35#... really nice augment for the descent. 2 minutes faster than last week on the ascent even with the added weight and easy pace.

    Luster joined us on the peak... and Frank was sighted on the trail? Mary gone until December; I'll go up next week with tools and rework the trail. Wind has three trees down across the steep upper section... and I want a new descending route (defined that today)... then there will be some adjustments along the "A" below the Dry Canyon cutoff and the Catwalk... lots to do!

    Good Day out... I may be finally getting fit? About to drop into the 160's... first time to train that low in many decades. My usual event weight is 175... I plan to cut into the 150's!? We'll see.
    Ortega Peak
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    better hike to peak... but by end of outing, the heat and gnats made it a bit of a "less than" day. Nice to not have to go back out for laps!! Anxious to see if having rest days will begin the process of getting some speed back into the hikes. Cardio: first hour: 130bpm. Nice to think that there will only be one longer day each week! Nicer to think about cooler weather and no gnats...
    Ortega Peak
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    energy better... might have been the cooler, cloudy morning? Oddly, got sunny in the afternoon; could have done without that! Hump Day past... could have done better. I'm beginning to wonder if there are any 12,000'+ days left in my hiking patterns.

    First part of day pure fun... lead Meetup group to peak at slow pace... hit the high point add-ons descending. AEG laps... not so much fun... but not too bad.
    Ortega Peak
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    Odd to have thunder and lightning from the getgo... and to have it blasting over the Basin. Rain and Rainboows flooding the sands at 6am.

    Paul showed...for the first 1/4 mile...?

    Very slow pace with 57# pack. I strapped on the new weight vest (very nice! Last week using the old one... realized it had been heavily pissed on by the cats... made for a very long hike!) loaded to 25#. I toted a gallon of water to the peak. That covered the progressive part of the hike. Drink for the day: gallon of OJ and Qt of energy drink. That was part of the 25# basic pack.

    Sweating heavy; drank the entire 170 oz on the ascent. Cool breeze made the sweat into the best of hikes.

    After dumping the vest after 3,000', the hike felt easy. I spent less time on the next 4,000' than the first 3,000... a lot less. Still, the descent with the vest makes for a heavy training day.

    Dropped off 8 Qt of powdered lemonade mix on the peak.

    Storm blasting thunder slowly rotated all round... finally hitting me with light rain in the final hour of the hike.

    Felt much better to keep the Monday mileage/Aeg a bit lower... killed me last week!

    Good Day.
    Ortega Peak
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    I think i could have scored the 12,000' AEG mark if I was not still getting over the hard Monday hit. I logged enough hours but the pace was just too slow.

    Great weather. cool... cloudy...breezy. I drank close to 2 gallons of fluid over the long day.

    Realized that I have not been logging into the peak register on the second times up when I do these repeat looping hikes... just do not think of it on the return trip. Register not showing much summer activity.

    I'll shorten the Monday hikes; perhaps that will allow these Wednesday efforts to get a bit higher AEG?

    Long list of hike descriptions I've yet to write and post... ordered new home Hotspot, maybe that will get me online more.
    Ortega Peak
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    Not sure where my brain was on the day... needed toe socks and shoe liners for this mileage; had neither. Very tender/sore feet by end of day. Very long day. Carried the weight augmented pack to ortega peak... then shed half the weight (25#) for the upper portion. Looped around and back up to the peak later in the hike, and added the 25# weight vest back into the adventure. I was beat up by the end of the day. Monday augmented hikes are only supposed to be 3-4,000' hikes with 10-12 miles. thinking I needed to play catchup on AEG motivated me to keep heading up the hill.

    Legs beat up and cramping in the evening... a bit worn out today. I'm not doing the planned remodel work but instead resting up for the planned Wednesday hike which is to be long mileage and bigger AEG. I still can't seem to bridge the 12,000' day mark. I'm effectively out of shape save for some strength and endurance aspects. No speed... no fluidity of movement.

    took a fall on Sunday... shelf I was standing on descending a small falls broke away. Major pain for such a minor injury. Felt torso wracked during this hike... still stiff today.

    Falling is just a part of off trail... need to get that across to the Meetup hikers.

    So... July begins!
    Ortega Peak
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    second of the weighted Monday hikes... 2 gallons of water up to Ortega Peak, then the rest of the day just my normal 25# pack. The hike up was slow...slow...slow. I am way out of shape, but I guess that is why I've added in this series of augmented training days. Space is going to require I switch to the weight vests, probably by next week. Carrying two gallon jugs plus the 1.5 gallon of fluids for the day just uses up the pack. I'll graduate the vests up to 45#... that plus the 2 gallons plus the 25# basic pack should get the job done?

    106 degrees forecast for the day... dead air this morning made it warm. Not so bad above 7,000' and when the breeze finally picked up.

    closing out the month way short of the desired 200,000' AEG... oh, well...
    Ortega Peak
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    started the first in a series of Monday weight augmented hikes... add +1 gallon of water to the pack for the next 6-8 weeks... on top of my normal 20# load. Not certain how big the pack will need to be for that 8 gallon day!

    The lower miles had me confused... trail appeared to be covered with tiny foot marks... hundreds of scampering birds flowing up the trail? By the end of the first mile the image came to me of a troop of mice racing down the hill on tiny pogo sticks, pocking the trail with ever so many punches. Finally... I realized I was looking at the result of a very odd bit of rain... each drop pocked the dirt and was never struck by a second conflicting drop. It covered the bottom 2 miles of the trail.

    Other than the non-erosive rain pattern, the trail was only impacted by deer, sheep and a coyote. No hikers, bikers or vehicles tracking since my last visit.

    I unloaded the gallon and cached it on the peak... ate a great bit of salad... enjoyed some nice assortments of juices, iced cold. Hiked the second half of the hike sans weight augment. Nice! Knee... felt it... hard call on its progress!

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From the major intersection in Alamogordo of 10th street and White Sands Blvd (US 54/70)turn east on 10th and follow it to its end. Turn left on Pauite Trail (at the fire station) and drive approx. .1 of a mile, just beyond Sunrise Ave. and just before a culvert/drainage. Park along the curb, then walk down into the wash and up the hill towards the obvious "A"... the trail is well used and obvious.
    page created by imike on Apr 29 2009 10:14 am
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