Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Bartlett and Shumard Peaks

This morning was cold and gray. I woke up, ate two granola bars for breakfast and then packed my lumbar pack for a day of bushwacking the slopes of the Guadalupes. I hit the trail just after 7 and was treated to the sunrise poking through the clouds.
 Then I stepped off trail and the fun began. The descent into Pine Springs Canyon wasn't too bad. I followed a game trail for part of the way. The climb was rough, but not as bad as I had expected. It took me just over an hour to get myself to the summit of Bartlett Peak. I signed the register there and took a self-portrait before moving on again.
Bartlett Register
Bartlett Summit

It was a steep descent to the drainage between Bartlett and Shumard Peaks.
I mostly followed the ridge with a steep drop off down to the salt flats and gypsum dunes. When the climbing started it was rough going. I stopped for a short break and to admire the views down on the flats and over to Guadalupe Peak and El Capitan.
Guad Peak and El Cap
Soon I was on top of Shumard Peak.
Shumard Summit
It took me just over two hours to ascend both peaks from the Bush Mountain Campground. I ate a snack, snapped some photos and then started to make my way down. I decided to descend via a different route. Instead of climbing up some of the little knobs on the ridge, I decided to bypass the ridge altogether and contour around Bartlett Peak.
Bartlett Peak

My bypassing of the ridge turned out to be a mistake. My shins were getting shredded by the vegetation. It wasn't so much the cactus and yucca, as it was the scrub oak. As I turned the corner around the southern flank of Bartlett Peak I realized I would have to descend much lower into Pine Springs Canyon than I had anticipated. I crossed the canyon bottom and then headed up a ridge, eventually finding myself back on the Bush Mountain Trail. I made my way back to the campsite where I rested for a bit before packing up camp and heading back to the car.
Hunter Peak
 I was thoroughly exhausted when I fished the keys out of my pack and headed back to Carlsbad.  

1 comment:

Usemeplz said...

Hi Eric! What a great place is this park. It's my dream to visit it wild nature. Great!