Luna County High Point Trip Report

Cookes Peak (8,408 ft)

Date: December 22, 2001
Author: Ken Akerman

I used the directions in Laurence Parent's Falcon Guide, Hiking New Mexico. I drove up to the gate the night before and slept in my SUV. As I was preparing to begin my hike in the morning, I saw some hunters unlocking the gate and driving through it. I asked how they got permission, and they explained that they had asked back at the Hyatt Ranch, about six miles to the south just off the main road. Therefore, I drove to the Hyatt Ranch, found Mr. Hyatt at the barn, and asked for permission to drive through the gate. He gave me the combination for the lock. I drove back to the gate and unlocked it, then drove in on the rough road, passing the hunters who had decided to leave and were on their way out. I asked the hunters about the condition of the road up ahead, and the said that it got increasingly rougher so I decided to park at the windmill about 1.5 miles from the gate and begin my hike from there.

Just before beginning this trip, I had purchased a GPS, so I sat outside my SUV reading the instruction manual and figuring out how the device worked. With the extra driving to and from the ranch and time spent learning about the GPS, I didn't begin hiking until about 9:30 am. However, this was just enough time for me to complete the hike before it got completely dark, as I reached the summit of Cooks Peak at about 2:00 pm and returned to my vehicle at about 5:30 pm during the evening twilight.

The hike was very steep and appeared more difficult than described by Parent. There was a light layer of powdery snow on the upper slopes, which made ascending the peak a little more difficult, but the snow was not deep enough to keep me from reaching the summit.

I set a way point at the summit of Cookes - (32° 32' 9.6" N, 107° 43' 53.2" W). This compares to the value on TopoZone of (32° 32' 13" N, 107° 43' 50" W).