Highpoint: Guadalupe Peak
Height: 8749 ft.
Highpoint #: 34
Trails: Guadalupe Peak Trail
Distance: 9 miles roundtrip
Vertical Gain: 3000 feet
Time Taken: 9 hours
Weather:sunny, hot, 80's
Group: JO, BC, Jay and Rick
Comments: This hike would be our first serious test of the trip. It was a 3000 feet gain, on rough terrain in a desert climate. The entire Guadalupe ridge is one big ancient coral reef, as this entire area was once underwater. We started the hike at 8 a.m., and immediately Jay and Rick took off to climb it as fast as possible. JO stayed with BC, who was moving very slowly in the heat of the desert sun. This hike can be divided basically into three parts. The first part is a series of at least 15 long switchbacks up onto Guadalupe's east ridge. This took a lot out of BC and caused BC and JO to fall far behind Jay and Rick. The second part is a traverse across the north side of the east ridge. Near the end of this traverse, BC and JO ran into Jay and Rick already on their way down. At the end of the traverse, BC and JO took a long, half-hour break under a rare grove of trees, as BC needed a break from the scorching sun. JO and a newly refreshed BC then took off for the final third of the hike, a seemingly endless series of switchbacks up Guadalupe's summit cone. BC and JO reached the summit at about 1 p.m., and this was once again the highest altitude that any of us had reached. The top was really cool with awesome views. The back side of El Capitan (not to be confused with the face in Yosemite) was really cool and looked like the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. At the very top was a pyramid like monument put up by American Airlines, strangely enough. The top also had a blazing sun, vicious black flies, and hordes of kids so we headed back down immediately. On the way down we were both exhausted, mainly from the sun which had given us both a headache.
Left: BC on his way up the switchbacks on the first part of the hike. Right: A look down at the switchbacks before we begin traversing Guadalupe’s east ridge.
Left: BC traversing the ridge to the summit cone of Guadalupe Peak. Right: The first view of Guadalupe’s summit cone, as you come around the ridge.
Above: BC and JO on the summit of Guadalupe Peak, 8,749 feet, another highest.
Left: Looking down on El Capitan (not the one in Yosemite) from the summit. Right: Guadalupe Peak from a distance.
Meanwhile, Jay and Rick had been waiting over 4 hours in the car after their speed ascent, and were in foul spirits. Morale would not improve after leaving Texas either. On our way to Arizona we stopped for gas off the highway in Albuquerque. When we tried to start the car, we found that the clutch pedal would not budge. BC checked the fluid, and it was fine, so Jay applied a bit more force, then we heard a snapping sound and the pedal started swinging loose. Not good. It was after 11:00 p.m., so all the repair shops were closed. We called AAA, and a tow truck brought it to a nearby place that could theoretically fix it. Fortunately, there was a motel across the street that we walked to and got a room for the night. The next day, the repair shop looked at the truck, and apparently had never seen rust before. They told us that they would didn't have the necessary equipment to fix the truck. Unfortunately it was now Friday night of Memorial day weekend, and try as we might, we could not get someone to work on the truck. Luckily JO got a great deal on a rental car from a VERY sketchy rental company. It was a black Chevy Malibu and seemed in good shape, until we got to 70 mph, at which point it began to shake violently. Oh well, better than nothing. On Saturday, 5/24, we left Albuquerque for Arizona.