Dave Head following the 6th pitch of the SE Face o...
Minerva's Temple is a lower summit east of the Organ Needle. When viewed from the Organ Needle summit, it appears as a sharp east-west ridge, separated from the "retaining wall" (the fin of rock on the south side of dark canyon) by a prominent gap. As viewed from the east either from Aguirre Springs or the White Sands Missile Range, Minerva's temple appears to be it's own distinct peak, with a massive and steep Southern and Eastern faces.
The regular route is reportedly the first ascent of the peak, being accomplished by the Yale Mountaineers club in some un-specified time in the past. More recent route development has occurred in the 2000's, with a few technical and ambitious lines which tackle the huge Southern and Eastern faces of the mountain.
Routes on the impressive South and East faces are best approached from Aguirre Springs. There are no established trails for these approaches, but one recommended option is to use the Indian Hollow trail (the same approach trail as for Sugarloaf). Keep following the trail past Sugarloaf and all the way to it's end at a nice camp-ground. From here bush-whack your way up the ridge directly towards Minerva's Temple.
The West Ridge route and other shorter summiting routes can be approached from the West via Filmore Canyon or using the same approach as for Organ Needle regular routes. The maple-filled canyon between Minerva's Temple and Organ Needle is absolutely sublime when in fall foliage.
This is the summit baggers route, the simplest and most obvious way for someone to gain the summit of Minerva's Temple. Unlike the nearby summits, this one requires technical climbing abilities and gear, even if it is only for a single pitch.Starting from the gap between the Retaining Wall and Minerva's Temple the route takes an obvious weakness directly on the west end of the ridge. After climbing up 30 ft, the corner can be turned over onto the south wall where a small bush impedes prgress alo...[more]Browse More Classics in NM