Southern Rockies: Truchas Traverse, NM

Hit three 13,000-foot peaks in the wildest wilderness south of Glacier.
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Hit three 13,000-foot peaks in the wildest wilderness south of Glacier.

All Rocky Mountain Trips |
Southern Rockies: Truchas Traverse, NM |
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The steep and craggy Sangre de Cristo Mountains—far from any major metro areas—serve up plentiful alpine surprises at the Rockies’ off-the-radar southern end. Tag 13,102-foot South Truchas Peak—the highest point in the range—plus West Truchas and Middle Truchas on this 14-miler. Start from the Quemado Creek trailhead on the western slopes (requires a high clearance vehicle and permission from the Truchas Land Grant; get trailhead directions when obtaining permission, 505-351-4250).

Hike 1,900 vertical feet and five miles up the rough Quemado Creek Trail to a high-alpine basin above a small waterfall, below the west face of North Truchas Peak. Camping? Find a good spot near the basin’s southern wall. Scramble routes linking the triple crown are obvious; climb 13,066-foot Middle Truchas, then South Truchas, then 13,024-foot North Truchas. Alternative: Make it a long weekend by starting from Jack’s Creek Campground, on NM 63 north of Pecos, for a 25-mile round-trip on Trails #25 and #257 (and add Pecos Baldy Lake to the itinerary).

Map USFS Pecos Wilderness Map ($13, see Contact)

Contact (505) 757-6121; fs.fed.us/r3/sfe

Trip Databackpacker.com/hikes/563534

Mix it Up

Climb a sheer face on Wham Ridge, CO. This stunning—yet moderate—route climbs 13,864-foot Mt. Vestal’s northeast face. The remote location keeps traffic low, but the reward for your effort is a triangle face of hard quartzite with plenty of solid holds and protection placements.

The standard center-to-right-skyline route is only 5.6, but you’ll face 1,500 feet of climbing in a storm-prone range. Experience necessary. Take a 60-meter rope and cams to three inches.

Contactfs.fed.us/r2/sanjuan