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Dog Point (Joplin Ridge via Dog Canyon)
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mini location map2016-02-16
38 by photographer avatarimike
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Dog Point (Joplin Ridge via Dog Canyon)Southeast, NM
Southeast, NM
Canyoneering avatar Feb 16 2016
Canyoneering14.50 Miles 4,750 AEG
Canyoneering14.50 Miles
4,750 ft AEG
Basic Canyoneering - Scrambling; easy climbing/downclimbing; frequent hand use; rope recommended; easy exit
 no routes
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Headed out before 6am...on trail out at Oliver Lee State Park around 6:20am. Ross and I met Mary at the trailhead. Started the hike off in T-shirt!

Easy but steady pace up to the Line Cabin...then the ever steeper hike up below the Eyebrow. Plan for the day: exit the trail before it climbs back to the East... heading for the low saddle overlooking San Andreas Canyon to the North. We followed the second canyon cut on our left and enjoyed some minor scrambling before exiting to the dividing ridge to move to the top of Joplin Ridge. This route was a re-peat from our snowed out attempt a couple months ago... and today was crystal clear vista views.

Once on the spine of the ridge we moved further to the north side and caught glimpses over and up into San Andreas. We spotted an new cut on the north side of the canyon that looks to offer a route up and through the blocking cliffs. It should allow us to get up to the old jeep roads on Burleson Ridge... another potential long/big day?

Great upper meadows and rock gardens... ever greater views...
... then, our real goal for the day: Joplin Ridge West: W4... Yvonne's Cut. We knew the canyon was blocked off from below...a short section needing rope for safety (30')... and we'd spotted what appeared to be a larger blockage above that... but no clear view of it from the bottom. Today was to determine what might be possible. After a fairly easy side hill descent we reached a canyon bottom that was changing to levels of bedrock dryfalls... easy drops. Finally, a bedrock section narrowed and dropped us into the Narrows, and real down climbing began. It was great! Layer after layer, level after level... very nice section.

We set a safety hand rope for a small 12' drop with rotten rock... otherwise, just nice minor scrambling.

In short order we made it down to the upper blockage. 40-60' Rap... our turnaround for the day. We could see the lower drop, so it will be a two rappel descent when we return in the Fall to do the entire canyon.

Mary was having an off day... Ross was not looking forward to the climb all the way back to the top of the canyon. Once up and out of the Narrows, I volunteered to route us on a "softer" loop up and out. They were both skeptical... but after minor grumbling followed me off and up. We got lucky. Moderate amount of climbing and we were south side cliff top... well below the mid ridge elevation. With luck we could loop this route all the way back to the trail... if Bishop's Cap Cut did not blind us off. It didn't... let us around and through with little extra effort... and the rest of the hike over to the trail was pretty much along Elk Trails. We dropped in below the Eyebrow at the exact point we'd projected an hour earlier. The views into and across Dog Canyon were exceptional. We identified another five or six potential cuts to check out.

The four miles back down the trail were slow... but nice. We hit the trailhead after sunset; drove home in the dark... nice twelve hour hike logged. Great loop. There is still more to check out from Joplin Ridge; we'll be back!

Pics posting tomorrow?
Ageless Mind... Timeless Body... No Way! Use It and Lose It. Just the way it is...
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