Guadalupe Peak, Texas (8,749 Feet)

Guadalupe Peak, Texas (8,749 Feet)

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

July 26th, 2002, 5:35 pm #1

Post your trip reports about the highest point of Texas.

Read about the summit:
http://americasroof.com/tx.shtml
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 14th, 2002, 4:52 am #2

Last edited by dipper on March 17th, 2004, 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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January 7th, 2003, 4:34 am #3

Post your trip reports about the highest point of Texas.

Read about the summit:
http://americasroof.com/tx.shtml
...After visiting Houston, getting my hubcaps stolen in San Antonio (i will now surely remember the %@#! Alamo), getting a speeding ticket in Loving, New Mexico (and all this time i've been paying a therapist big bucks to tell me i go too fast in loving), i spent 12/22 seeing Carlsbad Caverns. Pretty amazing. The 2 self-guided trails are both wonderous. The King's Palace tour was a little less wonderous, and i think i would recommend planning ahead and reserving one of the more "natural" cave tours instead of King's Palace.

In the pre-dawn of 12/23 i drove to Guadalupe Mountains National Park. The area had received about 2 inches of fresh snow overnight. The trail up to the peak was a little steep, but very easy. Snow depths reached about 4 inches by the top, there were some very light flurries along the way, temps were in the 20s and 30s, and winds were uncharacteristically moderate. Fog limited visibility, but El Capitan was spectacularily eerie enshrouded in the fog. Seeing all the juniper and cactus coated with new snow was breathtaking. I wish i were a good photographer. I resolved to buy a good lightweight tracks-and-scat guide before my next trip. There were so many tracks in the snow, and other than deer and rabbit, i'm just not sure what they were. None were big enough to be mountain lion or bear, i'm 99% sure. Probably fox or coyote or bobcat...? I don't remember how long it took me to get to the top...3 hours or something like that. I was first up, and 4 others came behind me that day. HP #6! I camped at Pine Springs. It was cold. upper teens. I had all the right equipment except a winter tent. So i was warm in my bag with my family of water bottles and fuel canisters, but the wind just seeped through my 3 season tent. With this in mind, i ditched my backpacking plans for 12/24-25 (2000 ft. colder and windier...no thanks), and instead stayed camped at Pine Springs. I dayhiked McKittrick Canyon, part of the Tejas trail, and the Foothills trail. Really neat country. By the way, this whisper-light MSR stove i bought surprised me with how fast it heated things up...

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Olivier Kozlowski
Olivier Kozlowski

January 9th, 2003, 2:50 pm #4

Post your trip reports about the highest point of Texas.

Read about the summit:
http://americasroof.com/tx.shtml
My friend and frequent climbing partner Andy Coppola and I flew down to El Paso Saturday January 4th to climb Guadalupe Peak. With only two days in the area, we certainly chose the better day to make the climb. Sunday the 5th presented us with excellent conditions to climb and tremendous views from the summit. The next day saw more clouds and harsher winds. Driving back to El Paso from Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, we faced dust storms that reduced visibility at times to as little as 40-50 yards. The weather did, however, provide for an unforgettable scene of thick clouds approaching Guadalupe Peak and El Capitan from the east, being pushed up by the mountain range and cascading over and down the west side in waterfall fashion, all in the span of a few minutes. That same time on Sunday we would have been making our way down the east side of the range, into the teeth of the weather system.

Anyway, on with the actual trip report. After a big breakfast at an International House of Pancakes in El Paso, we headed east on Route 62/180 towards the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. We were on the trail by 10:15 a.m. Interestingly, about 25-30 miles east of El Paso we encountered a Border Patrol roadblock that remained there on the way back the next day. They were only checking cars heading away from El Paso.

El Capitan forms the southern tip of a wedge-shaped range that extends well into New Mexico. Guadalupe Peak sits north of El Capitan, and just about everyone (myself included) takes a picture of the topside of this massive wall from the summit of Guadalupe Peak. The trailhead for Guadalupe is located on the east side of the range, with views of your goal blocked by the range itself. After leaving the parking area, you soon come to a set of switchbacks making your way up the range. For a sense of what lies ahead, look up and to your right to 8,368-foot Hunter Peak. Your goal is almost 400 feet higher.

After ascending the east side of the mountain range, you will find yourself approaching the north side of Guadalupe Peak. That’s where we began to encounter the snow patches. I had read one report indicating that instep crampons might be helpful in this area, as well as several reports and e-mails saying not to bother. Not wanting to have traveled thousands of miles and not make the summit, the instep crampons were stashed in the pack. I must say both reports were correct. There were stretches where they would have been nice, but these sections were short enough that the hassle of putting them on and taking them off would have greatly outweighed their benefits. They remained in my pack for the entire trip.

We found the snow in this area to be limited to the north-facing sections of the trail that get little, if any, direct sunlight. It has been packed down, presumably by foot traffic, leaving a somewhat icy surface. Usually, however, the dirt on the downslope side of the trail or the non-packed snow on the upslope side made for better footing. At any rate, in most places where snow was present, a fall would have been broken by sizable tree trunks or vegetation, boulders or a gentler slope. There were, of course, exceptions. If anyone is planning an attempt in the near future and wants a better idea of the conditions, I have photos that I would be happy to e-mail to you.

From reading other trip reports, I think we lucked out in the wind category. It was sporadic and probably not much more than 15-20 mph. I’ve faced much worse on Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, for comparison. On the way down we did round a particularly windy curve that I nicknamed “Windy Corner” in honor of a future assault on Denali’s West Buttress route.

The area near the 8,000-foot campground was relatively flat. Those reports that divide this climb into three sections are quite accurate. You begin climbing the east face of the range, traverse an almost flat section and end up with a final push towards the summit. The summit itself sneaks up on you. It took a “we’re here” from Andy, then only about 10-15 feet ahead of me, to get me to look up and to my right and see Guadalupe Peak’s trademark stainless steel pyramid summit marker.

The views from the summit are tremendous. I took the classic photo of the topside of El Capitan and was happy to have left myself quite a few pictures to take from the summit. While I was snacking, Andy was explaining this crazy highpointing thing of mine to another group of climbers who arrived after we did. One of them approached me holding his own copy of “Highpoint Adventures.” Although I’m terrible with names, I believe his last name was Stewart. We swapped highpointing stories for a while, did photo duty for each other and soon Andy and I began to make our way down.

The way down gave us a perfect example of how not to climb. We met up with a slow-moving couple heading up at a point in the day where they would certainly be coming back in the dark. It gets dark in the area at about 5:00 at this time of year. I mentioned this to them. Later, Mr. Stewart’s group passed us on the way down. They had also warned this couple about the impending darkness. Here’s hoping they made it down safely.

Finally, a couple of notes on other local attractions. Carlsbad Caverns is a must-see. Take the “Natural Entrance” route. If you can climb Guadalupe Peak, you’ll have no problem with it and it will give you a much better idea of the scale of the caverns than descending in the elevator. Allow for at least a half day, and don’t worry about getting there at dusk to see the bats at this time of year; they migrate south for the winter. We also walked across one of the bridges from El Paso to Juarez, Mexico on Monday night. The food and drink at the Kentucky Club, on Avenue Juarez (a couple of blocks down on your right after taking the bridge at the end of Santa Fe [street?] in El Paso) was good and cheap. The excursion, though, will make you feel grateful for what you have.

Well, 15 down, 35 to go. If anyone wants trail condition photos, feel free to e-mail me, and “Keep Klimbin!”
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Surgent
Surgent

January 15th, 2003, 5:40 pm #5

Slayden and Rittmuller reports: dead.
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Roger Williams
Roger Williams

May 27th, 2003, 8:32 pm #6

Post your trip reports about the highest point of Texas.

Read about the summit:
http://americasroof.com/tx.shtml
Climbed Guadalupe on May 6 as part of a "SW Safari" visiting points from Spanish Peaks which I've climbed before (road to saddle trail still snowed in) to ranges in Oklahoma (climbed Black Mesa a few years ago) & Monument Rocks in Kansas. Of course I also visited Carlsbad Caverns which I last visited in 1962. The natural-entrance route was excellent; so was the Bat Flight which was on by then. The climb to the radio towers behind White's City was worth while for the view including G'pe and El Capitan in the distance; and acres of prickly-pear in bloom.

G'pe was my 14th HP, plus many abroad including 2 continents. It was excellent, in mild sunny weather, v. windy. The scenic climb took 5 hours with the famous summmit obelisk appearing by surprise, close by, shortly after you pass some hitching rails. It was rather hazy and I couldn't see the Franklin Mts. by El Paso, or the big dome behind Juarez; they may be over the horizon. There was also a register in an old ammunition box, like Black Mesa; it was full already but I got my name in. I enjoyed the views, the changes in vegetation and the trip up McKittrick Canyon and the steep nature trail as well. I continued to Pecos, Odessa Crater and some low but colorful ranges in Oklahoma.

Roger Williams, Boulder, Colo.
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Peter Anderson
Peter Anderson

January 8th, 2004, 5:33 pm #7

Post your trip reports about the highest point of Texas.

Read about the summit:
http://americasroof.com/tx.shtml
I enjoyed a sunny, warm, breezy hike of Guadalupe Peak on Monday, 12-29-03. The trail and hike to the summit was as easy as I had remembered on a hot August day a few years ago. This hike offered great views, clarity of many miles (>60 miles?). I'm not a summit sitter however I enjoyed watching the people come and go that day. The summit weather was brisk: >10 mph wind with gusts >20 mph and a summit temp of 27 degrees. Most hikers enjoyed the summit experience for 10 minutes then headed back down the mountain. So much for southern winter hikers.

Actually, I enjoyed a week of southern winter hikes and runs, in Petrified NP, Guadalupe NP, Chiriachua NM, Saguaro NP, and Organ Pipe Cactus NM. The winter weather there reminded me of northeast autumn hiking weather - yahoo! I'll be scheduling another trip next year for west Texas locations; for now it's back to winter in the northeast.
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Joined: March 1st, 2004, 12:02 am

March 13th, 2004, 11:15 pm #8

Post your trip reports about the highest point of Texas.

Read about the summit:
http://americasroof.com/tx.shtml
I climbed Guadalupe Peak, the Highpoint of Texas at 8,749 feet, on Tuesday September 2nd, 2003 the day after Labor Day. It was my 7th state highpoint.
I left my timeshare condo in Ruidoso, NM at 6:20AM. I started noticing a brown smoky haze before reaching Roswell and the air pollution was apparent during my entire drive south. It was depressing to see smog so far from any large metropolitan areas. Is no place safe anymore? The signs at the Guadalupe Mountains National Park visitor’s center said the smog comes mostly from plants in Mexico and also from as far away as Los Angeles.
I first saw the Guadalupe Mountains as I was driving south between Roswell and Carlsbad but couldn’t actually distinguish Guadalupe Peak itself, and El Capitan, until I crossed the New Mexico - Texas border.
I arrived at the visitor center at 10:20AM, checked in with the Ranger and watched the 12-minute slide show. I drove to the trailhead parking area and signed the register. The National Park Service recently started charging a small fee of $2 or $3.00, which should be placed in an envelope at the register. Since I have a National Park Pass, which is a great deal, at $50.00 per year, if you like to visit National Parks and Monuments as I do, I simply wrote my Park Pass number on the envelope and began my hike at 10:50AM. Be sure to be alert and read the signs at the beginning of your hike. Although the trails are well marked it would be easy for an enthusiastic hiker to hurry past the signs and miss the turn for the Guadalupe Peak Trail. Within the first hundred yards there are signs showing that you have to turn left. If you miss the turn and walk straight down the trail you will not be going to Guadalupe Peak. According to the register there were already three other hikers on the trail. I met them, as I was about 2/3 of the way to the top as they were coming down. The first was a man in his 50’s who worked for American Airlines in Tucson, AZ. He was apparently making his pilgrimage to the American Airlines shrine at the summit of Guadalupe Peak. Shortly afterward I met a middle-aged couple that sounded like they might have been from Europe.
I reached the summit at 1:40PM. Although this climb is rated as a Class 1 – Moderate or Strenuous hike, depending on which guidebook you read, the trail was good and not too difficult by my standards, I’ll admit that I was tired and my legs were fatigued causing me to use my hands to scramble up a couple spots during the last hundred yards. The view from the summit was spectacular. The smog was still evident but was not as bad as I expected. I could clearly see Sierra Blanca, a 12003-foot peak near Ruidoso, NM, where I had hiked just two days before, which is over 100 miles to the north as the vulture flies.
It was an overall perfect day. Clear, 75 degrees, which I understand is cooler than usual for this time of year, and not very windy as is often the case. I had the mountain all to myself. I ate lunch and signed the register. As I looked through the register I counted over 80 entries for the past three days. I was glad I waited until after Labor Day to avoid the crowds. The three people that I had met on my way up had not signed the register. If that is any indication of the average percentage of people that actually sign the registers at Highpoints then there may have been over 200 people on the mountain over the holiday weekend. I hate traffic jams.
On my way back down I met Blake Murphy, from Georgia, who was on his way to a late afternoon summit. I told him that the skies were clear and there were no T-Storms in sight. He was on a two-week road trip doing as many state highpoints as he could. Although he was not yet a member of the Highpointers Club he did have the pocket edition of Charlie and Diane Winger’s book Highpoint Adventures.
I reached the trailhead parking lot at 4:20PM and drove to the Pinery Butterfield Stage Station ruins and the Frijole Ranch, which are part of the National Park, and did a brief walking tour of both areas. I then headed back north and stopped at Carlsbad Caverns National Park to watch thousands of bats leave the cave at sunset. I arrived at least an hour before sunset. During that time a Park Ranger gave a presentation to the fairly small crowd. She was assisted by a baby rattlesnake and a tarantula that just happened to be in the amphitheatre at the time. The Ranger admitted she was afraid of snakes but everyone wanted to get close and take pictures of both critters. The Ranger also told us about the time someone was filming a video of one of the other Rangers giving the presentation while a Mountain Lion was very slowly moving across the cliffs above the cave. Neither the person taking the video or anyone else in the amphitheatre, including the Ranger, ever noticed the Mountain Lion until they saw it while watching the video. I guess that explains why very few people have ever seen Mountain Lions while hiking in the wild. I’m sure the Mountain Lions have seen many of us.
The bats started leaving the cave at approximately 7:30PM. I watched thousands of bats darkening the sky until about 8:00PM. From where I was sitting I also had a great view of the planet Mars beyond the cave to the southeast and most of the bats seemed to be flying off in that direction. The bats were still coming out when I left but it was getting too dark to see them. I headed north and got back to my condo just before midnight.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 6th, 2004, 5:04 pm #10

Post your trip reports about the highest point of Texas.

Read about the summit:
http://americasroof.com/tx.shtml
http://www.dennypayne.com/highpoints/tx.html
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