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Rock Springs Canyon
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mini location map2013-11-15
19 by photographer avatarimike
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Rock Springs CanyonSoutheast, NM
Southeast, NM
Canyoneering avatar Nov 15 2013
Canyoneering5.30 Miles 1,989 AEG
Canyoneering5.30 Miles
1,989 ft AEG
Canyon Hiking - Non-technical; no rope; easy scrambling; occasional hand use
A - Dry or little water; shallow or avoidable water; no wet/dry suit
 no routes
Partners none no partners
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.
Ageless Mind... Timeless Body... No Way! Use It and Lose It. Just the way it is...
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