Santa Fe Region

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daedalus
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2021 7:06 pm

Re: Santa Fe Region

Post by daedalus »

Went up to Nambe cirque yesterday. Decent coverage, probed a few random spots, measured anywhere from 150 cm (uptrack on Raven's Ridge) to 65 to 90 cm (top of north facing chutes). Snow conditions were variable, super wind affected at the top, some loose dry snow, and sun crusts. North aspects definitely were in better shape, west aspects were super firm and chattery. Never really corned up.
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jpurcellrd
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:33 pm

Re: Santa Fe Region

Post by jpurcellrd »

Truchas:
Full disclosure this is more of a trip report. Do not read any further if you just want conditions.
Conditions: Snow line was at approximately 10,100 ft. Continuous snow was at 10,400 feet. South facing slopes were generally melted out. Snowpack became isothermic in the afternoon lower than 11,000 ft. Polar N facing slopes skied quite well between 12,000-13,000 ft. All other aspects had variable conditions depending on timing of the day which was key! The gate is locked approximately 4-5 miles from the TH.
Trip Repot:
I have lived in AK, Idaho, Washington, Maine and NW NM and I have come to love the Pecos Wilderness the most due to proximity to SF where I live, remoteness, general lack of information, and contrast. We moved here three years ago. I have been exploring this area with vigor! Last year I decided to try and run across the Pecos in a day hitting the major mountains. I mainly met that challenge (in my own right) was it not for a pesky bobcat that would not get out of my way. I started at Serpent Lake TH at 4am. Shortly after I saw a set of eyes moving back and forth. Long story short I was not able to get started until 6am. Because of this I skipped Jicarita (I later tagged it in January) so I could get back at a reasonable time as my wife and 2-year-old were picking me up at Ski SF. I took Santa Barbara Divide to Chimaysos then to N. Truchas, Medios, S. Truchas. I then took Trail riders wall to E. Pecos Baldy where I met my friend who accompanied me the rest of the way. We ascended E. Pecos Baldy to Pecos Baldy and descended the S*** southern face full of talus down the faint trail with blow downs. We then headed to Horsethief meadow where we gained the ridge to the N. of Redondo peak. We then went to SF Baldy and out via Winsor. I am mentioning this as this is where I became intimate with the Pecos. I have run almost every ridge and all major mountains in the Pecos. When I am out training, I think of ski lines, logistics, how to access, etc. I never knew what it meant to be creative in the mountains until I dreamt of this run.
OK… on to the trip. We got off work Friday at 3pm. We started at approximately 5pm from the locked gate. It is a combination as there are some lucky landowners that get that area all to themselves until May 1. We rode our loaded down bikes to the trail head. We started walking until we ran into snow. We decided to camp for the night as the snow was non supportable and would make better progress with an overnight freeze. Friday night was forecasted to be the hardest freeze. Saturday, we woke up early and started off. We made it to the lakes and decided to climb up the big prominent chute directly in front (lookers) of the lake. We made it up to ridge where we were met by some sheep. We then descended the south facing treed slope into Quemado basin. This was a bit precarious as it was not consistent snow, it was steep, and the snow was still rock hard. We made it none the less found a place to camp where we dropped our camp gear. We found a more SE facing slope to ski as our big objectives would have to wait until the morning. I was off with timing as the slope was still solid at 10am, but fun none the less. The rest of the day we lounged and kept eyes on our objective (Middle Turchas). We noticed which slope got sun, how long, transporting snow, etc.

The next morning, we got up and decided we wanted to top out at 9am on Middle Truchas. We got to the base of the climb and had eyed either a direct N facing chute or a more mellow NE facing chute. The NE facing chutes had large cornices that we could see from camp so obviously did not want to be climbing directly underneath these and we saw the snow transporting all day before up high. We opted for the N. facing chute which appeared to be the cleanest line. We started climbing. The first 500 ft or so of the apron was bullet proof. After this it was 6in of powder on top of a cohesive snowpack. We toped out right on time, transitioned and descended. It was hard to think with all the whoops and hollers. It was pure magic! The apron had softened up as it got more sun by the time, we descended to make some fine turns.

We got back to camp. Packed up and started ascended the S. facing ridge to get back into Trampas Lakes. We decided to take a chute with continuous snow. It got a little spicey up top on mixed terrain with heavy packs. We go to the ridge and pick what we thought was our ascent route. We peaked into each chute along the way but decided on what we climbed up. It was 10:30am and the descent was VARIBLE of mashed potatoes, bullet proof snow, old debris pile. I was just trying to make it down safely. We made it down and skied down to snow line uneventfully. We transitioned to hiking and made the rest of the way to our bikes. We then quickly motored to our car.
For the most part we did not see signs of instability other than old wet slides from the previous weekend where temps had not gone below freezing. As stated above the snowpack was not supportable late afternoon in lower elevations which would be expected this time of year. Timing was the name of the game on this trip. I found it hard to hit the sweet spot and typically came in a little earlier which is all right for safety purposes.

Food for thought: I wrote this report thinking this was not some secret stash. If you can make it back there you earn every turn. I tried to keep it vague enough for your own adventure. I probably would have ridden my bike to the trail head, camped and then give it a go in one day vs. lugging in all our camp gear. On a year that has cooler temps, and a large snowpack I may have been able to do this in a day if the gates were unlocked. Given our conditions we probably made a safe call by camping in Quemado basin. Even though we had a lower snow year it was still fantastic!
Attachments
Facing our ascent and descent line of Trampas
Facing our ascent and descent line of Trampas
Trampas line.JPG (2.55 MiB) Viewed 852 times
Looking down our ski line on Middle Truchas
Looking down our ski line on Middle Truchas
Ski line.JPG (3.12 MiB) Viewed 852 times
Looking at what we skied!
Looking at what we skied!
Big line.JPG (3.6 MiB) Viewed 852 times
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Bob
Posts: 583
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 12:10 am
Location: Santa Fe

Re: Santa Fe Region

Post by Bob »

Nice! Epic too.
lobojasper
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2016 7:12 pm

Re: Santa Fe Region

Post by lobojasper »

Nice. I am surprised the gate was locked. I have driven to the trampas lakes trailhead a handful of times before may 1st.
jpurcellrd
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:33 pm

Re: Santa Fe Region

Post by jpurcellrd »

IDK. It was a combination lock. It wasn't the "standard" national forest keyed lock. There are couple of land/houses residents that live back there. I'm not sure if it is them or national forest. When I called the forest service earlier this year they stated all of their gates are locked until May 1. It kinda adds an extra level of complexity. The road is completely clear of snow and debris.
rittersam
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:35 pm

Re: Santa Fe Region

Post by rittersam »

Great report! Glad you guys had a fun trip!
sody
Posts: 68
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:23 pm

Re: Santa Fe Region

Post by sody »

Santa Fe area got a dusting out of the storm overnight. Everything is melting out quick though. Ski area has pretty good coverage where man made snow is the base (gayway, midland). Milenium lift side is thinner, so is parachute. Skied into Nambe via the main chute. Was supportive with a dust on top. There is a choke developing half way down, that may melt out quick when sun and warmth return. Boot out chute has a good boot pack, but in spots was bullet proof snow with some front pointing action. Might be skiable longer than main chute, but is definitely narrow in spots. Wet slide took out part of the apron below lake fork, ran to the ground. looked like 10 feet wide in spots. Overall, nambe might not be skiable for too much longer. Skied out via south ridge off of deception. Lots of suncups but continues snow all the way down the ski area. South aspects into the watershed don't have continues snow anymore. Melted out in a lot of areas. Not many more days available to ski up there this season.
sody
Posts: 68
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:23 pm

Re: Santa Fe Region

Post by sody »

Well, ski area still has ok coverage, but melting quick. Overnight temps are not below freezing anymore. Upper gayway is becoming a small stream in the afternoon, with one can hear the water running below the surface. Also lots of deep suncups makes for some adventure skiing. Maybe a few more days and no continues skinning from bottom to top possible anymore. Changed significantly from Saturday to Sunday. All non-man made snow areas are all melted out in open areas. only in the trees one can find some snow.

Season is coming to an end in SF!
daedalus
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2021 7:06 pm

Re: Santa Fe Region

Post by daedalus »

Went to Santa Fe Baldy on Sunday. Coverage is terrible on the Winsor trail, there are a few skinnable sections, but I ended up doing the whole in hiking boots to save time on transitions. I ended up skiing the main east facing couloir, I got a bit of a late start, and was at the top by 10:50 am, the snow was great at the top, but quite wet towards the bottom, I would definitely aim to get to the top earlier. I booted up the north facing couloir which seemed to be in better shape and would make for great skiing, but was a miserable slog from the ridgeline back to Baldy. The first chute around the false summit had coverage, although there was lots of sun cups.

About 15.5 miles of hiking for 10 minutes of skiing, probably would be a better idea to camp, get there early and do a few laps!


Looking down east couloir
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Looking up north couloir
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Looking south from the summit
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IMG_3661.JPG (3.66 MiB) Viewed 60 times
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Bob
Posts: 583
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 12:10 am
Location: Santa Fe

Re: Santa Fe Region

Post by Bob »

^ Nice!
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