Truchas

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Jake19
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2015 8:01 am

Re: Truchas

Post by Jake19 »

Thanks Bob. Any information would be greatly appreciated!!
Brown_Trout
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2015 8:18 pm

Re: Truchas

Post by Brown_Trout »

I went and rode a line on the Trampas side last weekend. The approach down low is pretty bare and you're going to do a lot of walking to get back into the cirque. We walked for about 3 miles to a north facing line I'd spotted coming out earlier this winter and spent most of the day skinning up that drainage. It was clear that there hadn't been any solid freezes in a while and we encountered some small wet slides which released but didn't run. In a couple other places where the snow was deep the snowpack collapsed down to the ground around rocks but again no sliding just weak, wet snow. With the weather this week conditions might be a little bit better up high but the end is near I'd say for this area, just not cold enough to maintain decent snow. Here are a couple pics:
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IMG_2794_small.jpg (1.02 MiB) Viewed 3599 times
Tight lines and deep pow
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Bob
Posts: 583
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 12:10 am
Location: Santa Fe

Re: Truchas

Post by Bob »

I forgot that I was gonna post my info when I got back off the road. Anyway, I got this some years ago, maybe someone can update it:

DIRECTIONS TO RIO QUEMADO TRAILHEAD
Starting from the Espanola Ranger Station office:
Go south on Riverside DriveÉ
Turn left (east) on NM 76 at the stoplight by Long John SilverÕsÉ
Continue east through Chimayo, past Cordova, into the town of TruchasÉ
As you enter Truchas NM 76 makes a hard left to go to Penasco- do not make the left, but continue straight into Truchas, you are now on County Road 0075É
Mile marker 0 is the NM 76 and CR 0075 junction, go straight east past TafoyaÕs store
MM 2.0 end of pavement, continue eastÉ
MM 3.0 cattleguard at the Carson NF boundary, continue eastÉ
MM 3.2 do not take FR 639 which is straight ahead, but instead veer to the right on FR 667É.
MM 6.8 cross cattleguard and small stream, road gets rougher, continueÉ.
MM 8.2 go right at ÒTÓ junctionÉ
MM 8.4 road splits, go left at ÒYÓÉ
MM 8.5 veer right, stay on main track, if you have a large horse trailer somewhere along here is your best bet to park and unload. There are about 3 smaller spots on the left to park or turn around coming up- they are at MM 9.2, MM 9.3 MM 9.4
It is suggested you park at one of these. Try and avoid parking at the very end of the road, at the Forest Boundary and fence, it makes turning around very difficult.
MM 9.7 The trailhead and Forest/Wilderness boundary!!
Portions of this access cross the Carson National Forest as well private lands of the Nuestra Senora del Rosario San Fernando y Santiago Land Grant. Since the Santa Fe National Forest Boundary is also the Pecos Wilderness boundary, all parking is also on the land grant. These are private land with no formal public easement to cross.
Permission to enter and pass through the land grant should first be obtained from the land grant. It is suggested you call Gilbert Montoya at (505) 351-4433.
Jake19
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2015 8:01 am

Re: Truchas

Post by Jake19 »

Hey everyone, there is still snow out there! First time posting a trip report so not really sure how to upload photos or if they will work. I'll try and attach them to the end.

A couple of friends and I Hiked into trampas lakes on may 26 and I lugged all my splitboard gear with the intent of skiing some couloirs in the basin and potentially more depending on time and weather. The hike started well despite a ridiculously heavy pack. About three miles in we ran into manageable snow, which then turned into nasty waist-deep posthole snow. For solidarity, I refused to strap in and skin up, joining my friends in the misery. We moved quite slow and were incredibly wet/cold by the time we reached the lakes. We got a late start and hit the deep snow by 2pm. If you get in early you can probably still hit the freeze.

We arrived to find the lakes almost entirely frozen. It certainly did not appear winter had ended up here. To make matters worse for an already beat up crew, it began snowing on us as we rushed to find a bare spot to throw down a tent. Before the weather fully moved in I got a look at some of the sweet lines in the basin. The line that immediately caught my attention was the couloir on the far lookers left that dog legs right at the top. I saw some older tracks on two couloirs much further to lookers right. I planned on doing my best to get the unskied (as far as I could tell) couloir that I will now refer to as dogleg couloir for the reports sake. Moral seemed pretty low that night as the temp cooled down even further. Originally we had planned a two night trip, but the abundance of snow left little to do for my friends who were without ski gear. It was looking like this would be the one night we'd have and I would just have the morning to try and ski something. With whiskey in my stomach, I was optimistic I would wake up early to beautiful weather, boot up the couloir, and ski great corn back down to camp. Oh how I was wrong.

It ended up dumping another inch through the night and we woke up to basically frozen fog. Mentally, I aborted the mission and went back to bed. After another hour we started getting up and brewing coffee. It was settled...we would pack up and take off today to go find better weather. Suddenly, I got the urge to at least give it a shot. I couldn't even hardly see across the lake, but figured I had memorized the route well enough from the night before. I figured, after lugging up boots, board, beacon, shovel, skins, axe and helmet it would be an absolute waste to not at least try. I scarfed a pop tart and booted off towards the other side of the lake. Once there, I immediately had to put on crampons for the icy snow as I began to head upwards. After gaining the initial step, it was decision time. I could tell from the giant continuous cliff band to the left that I was at the base of the dogleg couloir. However, I could only see a couple hundred feet up it. I knew the lines to lookers right were more straight forward and less steep, providing a potentially safer option. I decided to go for the dogleg and just be prepared to back off. The snow was pretty excellent for crampons. However, the line kept getting steeper and steeper. At one point I knew a fall would be pretty bad news and self arrest would be very tough. I tried to focus on going up, as heading down was no longer a safe option. The last 75 feet were the steepest and the snow the firmest. It was a pretty unnerving section, but the crampons kept grabbing and I crawled to the top. The view was non-existent. It was still fogged in with some light snow fall. Optimistically, I figured I'd explore the ridge line a bit and let the snow soften up. After a 45 minutes of ridge crawling to check out the other lines, it was clear the weather was here to stay. I wasn't sure if I should ride the same line I booted up. It had a very steep entrance and I wasn't sure if my edge would hold very well. All the sudden the fog cleared a bit and I could see the lake. Apparently it gave me a boost of confidence and I decided to ski down. I hooted and hollared to let my friends know I had made it to the top, and to start looking for a ragdoll tumbling down. I strapped in and entered toe side. I cut a handhold on the top edge of the entrance with my axe, and then slammed the axe into the snow for my other hand. Questionably anchored, I lowered my body in. My edge held surprisingly well and I decided to let it rip (relatively speaking). It was pretty much death turns until midway down the couloir where the slope mellowed a bit. With the poor weather, the snow was just as firm as when I had started up earlier. Needless to say, I was just happy to strap in and get some turns in a beautiful basin and a sweet couloir. After getting back to camp, we rushed to get packed up and hike back out before the snow softened too much. I’ll try and attach photos assuming I can figure out how. Bottom line though, there is still a bunch of snow and if the weather is good you can have yourself some nice corn.

Also, once back in taos we hiked to Williams lake. There were some really nice northish facing faces that had tracks on them at the very back of the basin behind the lake. Is this sin nombre? I’m hoping to drive back up and ski it this Friday if anyone is interested. Actually just checked the other forum and I believe what I was looking at is what lobojasper skied. Hoping to repeat that.
camp near the lakes
camp near the lakes
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frozen lakes and dogleg couloir on left
frozen lakes and dogleg couloir on left
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new snow
new snow
IMG_6093.JPG (2.11 MiB) Viewed 3562 times
view looking up the couloir
view looking up the couloir
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view looking down the couloir from the top. steeper than it looks
view looking down the couloir from the top. steeper than it looks
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another view from the top
another view from the top
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on the lake w dogleg in background
on the lake w dogleg in background
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still snowy as shit
still snowy as shit
IMG_6143.JPG (2.11 MiB) Viewed 3562 times
lobojasper
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2016 7:12 pm

Re: Truchas

Post by lobojasper »

Awesome trip report Jake! On my mac, I like to export my photos to preview, and resize them in the tools tab. This seems to make them a little more nnmae.org friendly. Good to see there is a decent amount of snow in the basin! I wanted to make a few friendly comments about your trip and give you my unsolicited advice.

Postholing stinks all around! Try to do all that you can to avoid it. In the future, Sports Systems in abq will rent snowshoes to your friends for pretty cheap. If possible, stay out of the skin track while post holing if there is already one set. Waist deep post holes are difficult to see in all white, and make the trail dangerous and difficult for the people that come after you. Imagine hiking a dry trail and there being similar holes in the dirt.

More importantly, in Carson National Forest it is illegal to camp 200 feet from the lakes and in some cases like Lake Katherine, it is illegal to camp in the entire lake basin (36 CFR section 261.52(a) and 261.58(e)).

The reason for this law is that camping kills the lakeside riparian vegetation that helps maintain bank stability and prevents erosion. Riparian plant roots physically hold down soil, and encourage rain infiltration into the ground thereby reducing direct runoff into the lake.

Erosion of soil into the lake overloads the water with organics and nuetrients, and causes eutrophication especially in sensitive alpine lakes with low natural productivity. This all is more evident in the summertime at Trampas Lakes as it seems algae is blooming, indicated by the lakes weird green color. Algae is bad because it blocks out sunlight for photosynthetic plants that produce free oxygen for aquatic organisms, and as the algae dies it is broken down by bacteria that further consume dissolved oxygen in the water column.

In the summertime, it is also easier to see that the entire lakeshore at Tampas Lakes lacks grass and vegetation (Like the dry spot you camped on) and is just exposed brown soil from hundred of people camping there. Notice the large tree roots in your photo that are exposed from the excessive soil erosion.

Finally, I would also suggest not having food out or storing food, especially peanut butter, where you camp in bear/cat country.

Anyway, I know that I am being extremely critical, but I hope that you don’t take offense to this post. I am bringing this up because many of the alpine lakes in New Mexico and especially Trampas take a fairly persistent beating in this not so obvious way.

Congrats on the rad descent down the Trampas Ridge!
Jake19
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2015 8:01 am

Re: Truchas

Post by Jake19 »

Thanks for the post Lobojasper, and I appreciate your advice.

As far as postholing, I'm well aware of the issues they cause for other people. There was no skin track and if there was I certainly would have avoided it on foot.

I also completely understand your concern over the degradation of alpine areas and the forest in general. We practiced leave no trace to the best of our ability while there, but were limited in where we could camp in terms of the snow conditions. This could have been remedied by better preparation for winter-like conditions, which we were not fully expecting. We had looked at multiple weather reports and trip reports, and decided to go for it based on what we considered a lower chance (we were clearly wrong) of finding the amounts of snow in the basin that we did. Therefore, we made due with what we found, which is by no means a justifiable excuse, but an explanation. This is also why we decided to leave after only one night.

I know that NM has a ton of people, and its natural areas see heavy use. It is good that there are folks like you who are keeping an eye out.
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Bob
Posts: 583
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 12:10 am
Location: Santa Fe

Re: Truchas

Post by Bob »

Great TR, Jake! Way to persevere.

I'm glad you didn't rag doll down that chute. :wink:

I'm trying to figure out how to tweak the forum settings to fit big-ass pictures all in the frame. If the pics can be re-sized beforehand to something near to 600 X 800 pixels (+/-) that would probably fit better.
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