username
X
password
register help
show related photosets
DESTINATION
Organ Needle 9012
14 Photosets

2016-04-24  
2016-04-24  
2016-01-23  
2015-11-04  
2013-12-08  
2013-07-04  
2013-05-19  
2013-03-24  
2013-02-08  
2013-02-03  
2012-10-27  
2012-10-27  
2012-10-13  
2012-03-21  
mini location map2012-10-27
34 by photographer avatarrwstorm
photographer avatar
page 1   2   3
 
Organ Needle 9012Southwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Hiking avatar Oct 27 2012
rwstorm
Hiking8.00 Miles 4,150 AEG
Hiking8.00 Miles   10 Hrs   30 Mns   0.76 mph
4,150 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
imike
Now that I've had a few days to relax and unwind perhaps I can say I liked this hike. Well, not quite. I actually liked a lot about it though, especially the super dramatic scenery and seeing how the route wound its way up to the peak. I have admired this stunning range for a long time, and in recent years have camped and hiked in the lower elevations. I have looked up at that jagged ridgeline and wanted to go up there, but it is the kind of place I wouldn't want to be exploring alone. So when the Las Cruces hiking meetup group posted it, I knew I had my chance. I also knew from experience and research that it was going to be a long tough day.

The first part of the hike up to the Modoc Mine area and over to the yellow rocks is pretty standard stuff on a decent trail or old mine road, depending on your approach. After that it becomes a very steep hiker's route up to Juniper Saddle and then on up through Dark Canyon to Dark Saddle. From there it heads over to the final scramble to the peak, which is probably the best footing of the whole deal as you are on solid rock.

I don't like much exposure, so I knew there was a good chance I would stop at that one short section near the top. As such things go, it is a pretty easy move of about 30 feet. Since I don't like spots like this, plus being pretty tired from the ascent, I just hung out there for awhile with Mike, while the others went up. It didn't bother me in the least not to have reached the peak. I usually hike until I'm out of my comfort zone and then stop. At the point with the exposure, you are about 300 horizontal and 100 vertical feet from the top.

The biggest concern for me was going back down. I am always really strong on the uphill, but now that I'm not young and nimble anymore, the downhill is more difficult, and I have really slowed down descending steep terrain such as this. About half of the 4 mile one way distance is over loose dirt, scree, and dirt on rocks, sometimes at a treacherous angle. Throw in a whole bunch of big step ups and downs and you get the picture. On most hikes of this nature you get breaks in this routine, but not on this one. It was unrelenting. Think of that middle section of the Picketpost hike, except going on for miles! It therefore became a mentally tiring ordeal as well, as it required total concentration to keep from falling in many places. I made it down without falling, but did a lot of butt sliding for sure. My legs and knees got so tired that I was the last one down. Interestingly however, I didn't have any knee pain like I sometimes do.

Some of the people on the hike were doing a lot of brush trimming, especially up high in Dark Canyon. This made the route more obvious and easier to navigate without getting bloodied up. :thanx:

Got back to the cars around sunset, with the faster hikers already departed. Some of us dragged our weary bones over to Andele! in Mesilla (one of my favorite places in the area) for post hike food and rehydration.

Some final thoughts...because of the extended nasty footing on the downhill, I don't think I would go back up there again. I was glad to have satisfied my curiosity about the upper reaches however. Do not underestimate the toughness of this one! It would be real easy to get hurt up there. If you go, it will be a long physically and mentally draining day (for most people).

Also, in the generic description of this hike here, the 5200 feet AEG is too high. I like JJ3's number from the official gps route he posted. This is 4706 from where he did it from the mine road, which is about 180 feet lower than where we started at the La Cueva picnic area. Also, unless you can drive up to the green gate on the mine road, it will be a little less distance from the picnic area, say 7.8 miles RT.
Flora
Flora
Mexican Silene
Culture
Culture
Inscriptions
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
_____________________
Onward into oblivion!
HAZ Member
rwstorm's
907 Photosets

  2013-03-03
  2013-03-03
  2013-03-03
  2013-03-02
  2013-02-25
  2013-02-17
  2013-02-12
  2013-02-12
  2013-02-02
  2013-01-31
  2013-01-26
  2013-01-23
  2013-01-19
  2012-11-25
  2012-11-20
  2012-11-06
  2012-11-06
  2012-10-27
  2012-10-19
  2012-10-19
1 ... 23,  24,  25,  26,  27,  28,  29 ... 46  
help comment issue

end of page marker