This is the highest formation on Hermit's Peak, located just under the summit near the cave where the eponymous hermit of the peak once lived. The wall is east-southeast facing and would be a miserable place if the wind was really blowing. This is the cleanest wall you see near the summit with a distinctive ledge slanting down from left to right if you are driving on I-25 north near Tecolote and look at Hermit's Peak.
Leave Las Vegas going past the United World College and continue up El Porvenir Canyon until you reach the parking for the Hermitís Peak trailhead. Walk across the footbridge into the El Porvenir campground and go to the last campsite on the loop in the extreme NE corner (canít recollect the site number).
Step 1 (The easy part): From this campsite head north on an old road and walk several hundred feet until you go through a gate in a barbed wire fence. Follow this road/trail for roughly 0.8 miles, staying on the left (west) side of the drainage, until you drop down into and cross the drainage and follow the road (actually there are several roads/branches here that all lead to the same point) up a short, steep hill to the northeast. At the top of the hill the road you have been walking on will narrow to a single-track trail and drop off the hill continuing to the east-northeast. ** NOTE: Do not go down the hill following this trail. Based on Ericís and my personal experience it will lead you to a very wrong place. ** At the top of the hill begin to look on your left for a hard to see old mining road leading of to the north along the hill/ridgetop. There is a large arrow we built of stones that points the right way but it may not be there any more. Follow this road north for roughly 0.9 miles, possibly seeing some flagging tape we left on the trees. This road stays on the left (west) side of a drainage almost the entire way until the very end. You then drop into and cross the arroyo and hike up the hill, still following the road (kinda poor condition here) and you will dead end at a large tailings pile and a mineshaft in the hill.
Step 2 (The cross-country part): From the mineshaft look to the northwest and walk along the hillside (hopefully seeing some more flagging tape). Stay at roughly the same elevation as the mine for a few hundred feet then contour up a bit, but not much. Eventually after 0.1 miles you will hit a small talus slope and then drop into a small 15 to 20í wide arroyo.
Step 3 (The hard part): Once you are in the arroyo head upstream (there is water sometimes) for a few hundred feet and if you are lucky youíll see our old fire ring in the arroyo bottom and a good campsite (excepting its location in an arroyo). From the fire ring continue another few hundred feet uphill following sparse cairns on the right side of the arroyo. At this point there is a stone basin in the arroyo that has held water into October before but not had any some springs (go figure). Cross the arroyo to its west side at this basin and walk 25 to 35í up the hill to the first terrace above the arroyo and a large cairn. Stay up on this terrace and walk uphill keeping the arroyo within view and pass several small cairns along the way. The canyon will narrow a bit and a trail will become more obvious. The trail will then cross the arroyo (roughly 0.2 miles from the fire ring and beginning of cairns) and stay on the east side of the arroyo. The cairns are much closer together from here on out due to Scott and Sean Stegner and the help of some friendly mushrooms. Follow the cairns uphill generally staying from 20 to 150í above the drainage bottom (you are now on the east side of the drainage). The trail trends north-northwest for the remainder of the hike and is steep but with many cairns until the very top. Walk the remaining 0.5 miles uphill and as you hit cliffs on the east or in front of you keep going west or northwest and you will eventually hit a very large south facing cliff directly in front of you. Follow along its base to the west until you find a large talus slope heading uphill to the north-northwest. Cruise up the talus until you see two flat boulders in the middle of the slope that look so nice to sit on (about midway up the slope).
P1: Begins in a left-facing dihedral and climbs for 40 to 50í to a small roof. Pull the roof (5.9) to a good ledge with 1 bolt and gear placements. Belay here. P2: Climbs a left-facing dihedral for 30í to a large overhang. Climb through the overhang (5.11d) clipping 2 bolts along the way. Easier terrain follows trending left to a 2 bolt belay on a ledge. P3: Climbs sparsely protected rock to a dihedral straight above the belay. Follow the dihedral for 50 to 60í until near the base of a v...[more]Browse More Classics in NM