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Late Summer/Early Fall GUMO Backpacking Trip Ideas

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Offline wrangler88

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Late Summer/Early Fall GUMO Backpacking Trip Ideas
« on: March 18, 2018, 10:57:51 AM »
Hey guys im starting to put together some ideas for a Guadalupe Mountains backpacking trip. And I'd like some input. I'm basically wanting to know any spots at GUMO you'd like to see in a video or know more about. I'm especially interested in off trail sections for this trip. I sort of have in mind about 70% on trail/30% off Trail.

I'm not wanting to stay at Pine Springs at all.

If there are any spots you've been to that are especially worth seeing, I'd love to hear about them. Anybody explored South McKittrick Canyon off trail? I thought I had read some about it a while back but not sure where I saw it.

I'm also interested in the 4 Peaks route.

And the plane crash site near Bush Mountain.

Let me know if you have any other suggestions.

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Offline backpacker56

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Re: Late Summer/Early Fall GUMO Backpacking Trip Ideas
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2018, 07:54:09 PM »
How about Bone Spring, above the Williams Ranch? 

Also, the northwest ridge route to Guadalupe Peak, from just below Devil's Hall.  This was the route to summit GP back when the park first opened.  I hiked it, back in 1978, but when I recently tried to relocate the trail down in Pine Spring Canyon below Devil's Hall, I had no success.

Here's a link to a report by Paul Bloland in 1978, but he seems dyslexic about his compass points, going "east" up Pine Spring Canyon instead of west, and winding below the "southern, then eastern shoulder of the peak", when he means the northern, then eastern.
http://desertpeaks.org/archives/dps02255.htm

And a report from 1979 by Jerry Keating, following in Bloland's footsteps.
http://desertpeaks.org/archives/dps02281.htm


« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 09:06:27 AM by backpacker56 »
"Ah, sure, I'm a gnawed old bone now, but say, don't you guys think the spirit's gone!"

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Offline wrangler88

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Re: Late Summer/Early Fall GUMO Backpacking Trip Ideas
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2018, 08:07:02 PM »
Cool old reports!

I really want to spend time out at Williams Ranch and explore Bone Canyon for sure. I definitely have that in mind for a winter or late fall trip. I'm not sure exactly how hard it would be to explore more West/Northwest around that side of the mountains. I'd love to see any kind of stat on how many or if any people ever hike or explore the western side of the Guads. Pretty far out there.

I'm considering something like ...
Day 1 - Drive Out, Up to Summit of El Cap, and camp at Guadalupe Peak Campsite

Day 2 - 4 Peaks from Guadalupe Peak Campsite, across Shumard, Bartlett, and Bush. Camp at Bush Mt or Blue Ridge

Day3 - Manzanita Ridge Route to Dog Canyon for water and camp at Tejas

Day 4 - WWII Plane crash site, explore Bowl off trail, camp at Pine Top

Day 5 - Down Bear Canyon, Drive home


My other idea is to do much of the Guadalupe Ridge Trail from the Caverns to Guadalupe Peak but the logistics of that are a lot harder with no second car.

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Offline wrangler88

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Re: Late Summer/Early Fall GUMO Backpacking Trip Ideas
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2018, 08:10:14 PM »
I'd also love to do the northern part of the Bush Mountain trail again. I thought it was pretty tough. And I know hardly anyone goes out there. I want to go past the site of the Cox cabin. I heard it burned down during the fire. I'm pretty sure I was one of the very last people to get to see it before the fire. Can't imagine there were too many more people that went that way.

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Offline Solo

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Re: Late Summer/Early Fall GUMO Backpacking Trip Ideas
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2018, 10:43:10 PM »
When the road to Dog Canyon re-opens and weather permits I'm going to explore the NW corner of the park, which is virtually unvisited.  I'll trail hike the upper portion of Bush Mountain Trail that you mentioned, then a big off-trail triangle to Coyote Peak, Cutoff Mountain, Pk. 6950, and camp at Marcus.  The vegetation is a lot more sparse there than some of the Type II and Type III Fun routes I've done around the high peaks.  That whole Brokeoff Mts/Cutoff Ridge/PX Flat area seems really interesting, solitary, and an easier prospect for bushwhacking. 

If you were really wanting to be adventurous, it would be cool to search for the old trails that didn't make the cut for official NP trail status, like Old PX Trail that went up the west slope of Cutoff Ridge.
'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view, and robes the mountain in its azure hue.  -Thomas Campbell

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Offline bitter_melon

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Re: Late Summer/Early Fall GUMO Backpacking Trip Ideas
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2018, 01:01:26 AM »
One thing I'd say about GuMo: PREPARE FOR WIND!

We had three people planning to car camp at GuMo for a night on 3/15 after a few nights of backpacking in Big Bend. The wind was so strong that two of us didn't even bother to set up our tents, we just slept in the car, which shook violently all night. The third person set up a tent, tried to sleep in it, and made it a couple of hours before taking down the tent and banging on the car door begging us to let her in. We're experienced campers/backpackers, the wind in GuMo was by far the worst that I had ever tried to camp in. Maybe you're more prepared than I am, maybe your gear is better,and maybe you'll just get luckier with the weather, but I would personally not feel comfortable backpacking out there. Had we not had the car... it would have been a very unpleasant night.

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Offline wrangler88

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Re: Late Summer/Early Fall GUMO Backpacking Trip Ideas
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2018, 03:39:19 AM »
When the road to Dog Canyon re-opens and weather permits I'm going to explore the NW corner of the park, which is virtually unvisited.  I'll trail hike the upper portion of Bush Mountain Trail that you mentioned, then a big off-trail triangle to Coyote Peak, Cutoff Mountain, Pk. 6950, and camp at Marcus.  The vegetation is a lot more sparse there than some of the Type II and Type III Fun routes I've done around the high peaks.  That whole Brokeoff Mts/Cutoff Ridge/PX Flat area seems really interesting, solitary, and an easier prospect for bushwhacking. 

If you were really wanting to be adventurous, it would be cool to search for the old trails that didn't make the cut for official NP trail status, like Old PX Trail that went up the west slope of Cutoff Ridge.

Awesome. Thanks for the input. I really like the openness of the North side of the park. Especially the grassy meadows. Marcus is one of my favorite sites at GUMO. I didn't, however, enjoy all the leftover materials the NPS left at the site. (Trail building/campsite supplies including buckets, and trash.)  I don't know if it was just the trip or what but that side of the park was very challenging to me.

Your trip sounds awesome. I'm sure you're right about virtually no one traveling out that way. I've wondered why they never had trails leasing out to this section of the park. Too hard to build and maintain I guess for something that'd only get used a few times a year.

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Offline wrangler88

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Re: Late Summer/Early Fall GUMO Backpacking Trip Ideas
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2018, 03:43:11 AM »
One thing I'd say about GuMo: PREPARE FOR WIND!

We had three people planning to car camp at GuMo for a night on 3/15 after a few nights of backpacking in Big Bend. The wind was so strong that two of us didn't even bother to set up our tents, we just slept in the car, which shook violently all night. The third person set up a tent, tried to sleep in it, and made it a couple of hours before taking down the tent and banging on the car door begging us to let her in. We're experienced campers/backpackers, the wind in GuMo was by far the worst that I had ever tried to camp in. Maybe you're more prepared than I am, maybe your gear is better,and maybe you'll just get luckier with the weather, but I would personally not feel comfortable backpacking out there. Had we not had the car... it would have been a very unpleasant night.

Sounds like you got the full Guadalupe Mountains experience. I've had trips out there where there is almost zero wind for days and I've had trips where I feel like I'm going to get blown away for days straight. Been woken up constantly throughout the night wondering about the integrity of my tent. And I'm a heavy sleeper. Backpacking is actually a lot better as a lot of the sites are actually blocked from the wind. Unlike Pine Springs which is very open. I think most of my windiest nights have been at Pine Springs.

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Offline backpacker56

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Re: Late Summer/Early Fall GUMO Backpacking Trip Ideas
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2018, 08:35:37 AM »
How about Goat Spring?  I'll bet it gets little to no visitors.  Just beyond where the El Capitan Trail turns to go down Shumard Canyon, the old USGS map shows the trail used to carry on northward over to Goat Spring.  Before reaching Goat Spring, the trail crosses a shallow saddle in the ridge descending from Shumard Peak, which might afford a flat spot for a bivouac, although it could be very windy.

In the old reports linked earlier, the writer mentions "well-ducked trails".  This puzzled me until I remembered a Sierra Club book called "Going LIght with Backpack and Burro" (1951) refers to trail ducks as "two or more stones piled on top of each other in a way nature could hardly duplicate."  In other words, "cairns".
"Ah, sure, I'm a gnawed old bone now, but say, don't you guys think the spirit's gone!"

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Offline wrangler88

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Re: Late Summer/Early Fall GUMO Backpacking Trip Ideas
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2018, 11:12:58 AM »
How about Goat Spring?  I'll bet it gets little to no visitors.  Just beyond where the El Capitan Trail turns to go down Shumard Canyon, the old USGS map shows the trail used to carry on northward over to Goat Spring.  Before reaching Goat Spring, the trail crosses a shallow saddle in the ridge descending from Shumard Peak, which might afford a flat spot for a bivouac, although it could be very windy.

In the old reports linked earlier, the writer mentions "well-ducked trails".  This puzzled me until I remembered a Sierra Club book called "Going LIght with Backpack and Burro" (1951) refers to trail ducks as "two or more stones piled on top of each other in a way nature could hardly duplicate."  In other words, "cairns".

Thanks a lot for this. I had considered Goat Spring before but only from shirttail canyon. It looked too steep on the map. I hadn't considered carrying on from the elevation of the El Capitan trail. I've never seen an old map. That would be interesting to look up.
Thanks for the suggestion.

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Offline Solo

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Re: Late Summer/Early Fall GUMO Backpacking Trip Ideas
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2018, 05:09:24 PM »
If you use Lists Of John, one of the map layers is "Hist 1915+", which shows it.
'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view, and robes the mountain in its azure hue.  -Thomas Campbell

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Offline wrangler88

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Re: Late Summer/Early Fall GUMO Backpacking Trip Ideas
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2018, 08:06:12 PM »
If you use Lists Of John, one of the map layers is "Hist 1915+", which shows it.

I had no idea what you were talking about. I had to look up that site. I finally found my way to a map and tried it. Very cool. Thanks so much for the tip. I'll be looking around these maps more for sure.

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Offline backpacker56

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Re: Late Summer/Early Fall GUMO Backpacking Trip Ideas
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2018, 08:32:26 AM »
I tried the suggested website, but couldn't make it work.  I never could navigate to the map.
"Ah, sure, I'm a gnawed old bone now, but say, don't you guys think the spirit's gone!"

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Offline wrangler88

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Re: Late Summer/Early Fall GUMO Backpacking Trip Ideas
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2018, 10:25:19 AM »
I tried the suggested website, but couldn't make it work.  I never could navigate to the map.

I was using my phone and had to view the full website. Then just clicked on map and drug around until I got to Guadalupe Mountains and then zoomed back. It'll definitely take me some time to figure that site out. I'd never heard of it before. It'd be a lot easier for me to look at a physical hard copy of the map. But still a neat tool.

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Offline Solo

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Re: Late Summer/Early Fall GUMO Backpacking Trip Ideas
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2018, 04:01:33 PM »
I tried the suggested website, but couldn't make it work.  I never could navigate to the map.

It's one of the worst-designed websites in existence, but many climbers swear by it.  They have one or two neat features that I utilize. From the home page you can get to the map in 3 clicks. Here's a direct link:

http://www.listsofjohn.com/mapf?lat=31.877&lon=-104.858&d=y&t=t&z=13
'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view, and robes the mountain in its azure hue.  -Thomas Campbell

 


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