Bernalillo County High Point Trip Report

Sandia Crest (10,678 ft)

Date: September 30, 2002
Author: Adam Helman

I was with Edwarl Earl on this one. Owing to its hefty prominence of some five thousand feet, he was intent on Earlizing this summit, i.e. ensuring at least a one thousand foot vertical gain. Thereby taking the ski tram to within 300 vertical feet of the summit was inadequate. Edward's flight was mid-day - so ruling out a hike from the base along the La Luz trail. Our remaining option was to drive up to within a thousand vertical feet of the summit, park the car and walk the remainder.

Upon arriving the previous evening to the base of the summit road we learned that automobiles must have a parking permit - and this regardless of where the vehicle is parked - including the summit parking area.

We also learned that overnight camping is not allowed anywhere on the mountain. Evidently the Forest Service has gotten fed up with rowdy locals from Albuquerque making camp, getting drunk, and annoying the majority of well-behaved campers. So nobody is allowed to camp.

We drove to an undeveloped campground well-distanced from Sandia Crest and located to the south of I-40 along route 337 near Cedros Peak about five miles south of Tijeras.

We awoke at 6 AM, about one hour before sunrise, and drove to what Edward estimated to be a bend in the summit road one thousand feet below the summit. The original plan was then for me to drive about a mile further and park at a 10,000 ft high lot used for dayhiking - meeting Edward at that point for the balance of his hike.

I was quite tired - and decided, after dropping off Edward, to simply drive to the summit parking lot and sleep for an hour in anticipation of his arrival. When I got there I was too excited to sleep. Rather, I trivially walked to the well-concretized summit area with gloves and ski hat - it was cold at dawn with a decent wind on this, the final day of September.

Albuquerque lay at our feet after Edward arrived via a shortcut he located as an actual trail. It was faster and more enjoyable than a road walk. I spied both I-25 and the runway of Albuquerque Airport where Edward would be some three hours later. Mount Taylor of the previous day lay far west on the horizon.

With this hike Edward got his 180th county highpoint - and I got my fiftieth for the season.