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Ice Canyon
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mini location map2017-03-23
38 by photographer avatarimike
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Ice CanyonSouthwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Canyoneering avatar Mar 23 2017
Basic Canyoneering - Scrambling; easy climbing/downclimbing; frequent hand use; rope recommended; easy exit
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While rarely hiked, this Canyon is likely the best of the best in the Las Cruces area. The drama of the towering granite cliffs, combined with running water and a lushness rare to most of our hikes... well, just too nice. Add to that, moderately challenging scrambles, exceptional Vistas, and shade! This is a pleasure of a day hike.

The trail leading into the old improvements does not really enter Ice Canyon, but leads to the beginnings of both Little Ice and Big Ice Canyons. Little Ice is accessed from the higher trail... wind your way up and around to the small pond... then take off up canyon from there.

The steeply sloped bedrock base, common to the lower sections, tends to turn hikers back early on. If care is taken, the footing is good... anyone moving with caution can navigate these challenges. There is no exposure...

The canyon has a great sense of moment. Go slow and enjoy.

Well up the canyon you will be confronted with an option: go left up a huge cut... go right up what appears to be a side canyon... or go straight, hoping for the towering walls to open up. Go right... that is your route. Left would carry you up and over into Big Ice Canyon. Straight cliffs out.

The next hyper steep section of canyon offers fun and challenging scrambles on the left side... and a very rough dirt "trail" on the right. Both carry you to the top.

Once up, there are a variety of choices to move down and around. You want to access the ridge on the north, overlooking the Basin. I opted to move around to the East, winding down and around, then connecting with that Ridge eventually. Not the best option. I'll look for the proper route next time!

Moving down the ridge is fairly easy along a sort of trail. It winds around, at one point turning sharp left as it descends a bit of a cliffed out section. You might be able to work your way down the cliffs, but better to avoid and look for the worn route. Once below those cliffs, the route tends to hold to the top of the ridge, providing views both North and South. Bar Canyon to the south has some interesting falls as you look over and down.

The exit ridge to the north is fairly obvious... although it is probably possible to head on down any of the side ridges. I plan to explore a good looking one taking off from the aforementioned cliffs...?

Need to write a description of this great route, including GPS to firm up the routing for those wishing to venture up and in! Good excuse for heading back over for a re-hike!

This one is a must do!
Ageless Mind... Timeless Body... No Way! Use It and Lose It. Just the way it is...
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