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Organ Needle 9012
14 Photosets

2016-04-24  
2016-04-24  
2016-01-23  
2015-11-04  
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2013-07-04  
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mini location map2016-01-23
9 by photographer avatarJuanJaimeiii
photographer avatar
 
Organ Needle 9012Southwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Hiking avatar Jan 23 2016
JuanJaimeiii
Hiking10.60 Miles 4,062 AEG
Hiking10.60 Miles   6 Hrs   4 Mns   1.90 mph
4,062 ft AEG      30 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
It was time for another Chile Run. This time my Chandler Manager Chris would ride along. The plan was to get the Chiles and then Hike the Organ Needle.

We departed Phoenix Saturday morning at 5am and headed straight to Hatch. Upon arrival we loaded the van full of dried red Chile pods. We had some lunch and then headed to Las Cruces. This time I wanted to hike it from La Cueva Trailhead in the park instead of the old mine road. The park ranger told us that the park closed at 5pm so if we were going to hike past 5pm we should park outside of the gate. This meant an added 2.8 miles to our hike round trip. The ranger also said we would need crampons and/or ice axes to make it thru Dark Canyon.

Having neither we decided to give it a go anyway and see how far we could get up. We started our hike at 1pm. Our expectations were low and our hopes were high. The first couple miles along the trail were easy to follow. The trail led us to a really cool waterfall that was flowing in full force. Then there is a use trail behind it that reconnects with the main trail. Back on route it was an easy go. Chris wasn't feeling well but he was a trooper and held in there.

Once past the "yellow rocks" the trail turns to a more of a route and it was here that we started to encounter patches of snow and ice. Overall it was fairly easy to navigate but slowed our forward progress. Unable to see what was behind the wall of Dark Canyon our hopes got better and better the further we went up. (Dark Canyon is the final passage before making the scramble to the summit.)

Upon reaching Dark Canyon we discovered it was chock-full of ice and snow. There are trees here so we used them to help pull ourselves thru. Having no gloves and only trail runners on was certainly not ideal. At times I would sink all the way to my waist in the deep snow drifts. Determined I kept pushing forward. Chris wasn't far behind. Towards the top the only way I could go forward was to crawl on all fours to avoid sinking in. It was brutal but the top of Dark Canyon was in sight and we had only 2 tenths of a mile to reach the summit. FINALLY, we reached the top of Dark Canyon. I fully expected there to be no snow on the other side. Nope! We would need to descend thru the snow and then scramble to the summit. Our drop dead turn around was 3:30pm. It was now 3:38 and would take at least another 30 minutes to summit and get back to where were. I was game to go forward or turn back. I let Chris decide. The decision was a tough one but I believe he made the right choice and said "lets turn back".

We got the cake but didn't get the cherry! I say he made the right choice because it got dark right about the time we hit good trail. This means had we gone forward we would have still been on the steep route part in the dark. That would not be fun.

As we were walking back to the van the moon started to rise over the mountain back drop. It was the coolest moon rise I have ever seen!

I would say this mountain will be safe to summit in a month assuming no more snow.
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906 Photosets

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