Luna County High Point Trip Report
Cookes Peak (8,408 ft)
Date: March 18, 2002
Author: Mike Coltrin
Figuring there was no reason to hurry, I took my time driving to Deming from Tucson. On the drive into
the ghost town of Cookes Peak I took the detour to the Hyatt Ranch and received the rancher's permission
to cross his land and the combination to his locked gate. I found the road beyond the gate to be in fairly
good shape for a backcountry road and had no trouble driving to the ridge 2 miles north of Cookes Peak.
My hike began at noon. I contoured around most of the first hill on the ridge (6925) then found unexpected
trouble in finding a route through a band of limestone about fifteen feet high that belted the southern portion
of this hill. At the top of the place, I climbed I found a small cairn.
At the next major bump on the ridge (7208), I took a late lunch break.
The next section of ridge line was fairly open and easy hiking taking me up to where the real climb began.
I contoured toward a talus slope and climbed toward the most obvious break in the summit cliff. The talus
was very loose. I did not intend to climb through the notch, I only wanted to gain elevation and avoid an
oak thicket south of the talus. I ended up higher than I probably should have been so my traverse to the
south side of the summit block was a bit exposed. Once on solid rock, the final 300 feet to the top was a
piece of cake. I reached the summit at 3:00 pm.
On the way down, I found a better crack at the lower part of the cliff and descended on a talus slope about
200 feet south of the one I had climbed. This was a safer route. At about the 7600-foot level, I traversed
back to the north ridge and made my way back to my truck. In order to avoid the limestone 'wall' that was
such a bother on the climb, I dropped down to the road in the gully between points 6847 and 6925 and hiked
the road back to the saddle. If I were to do this hike again I would begin it at this gully.
I was back at my truck at 5:00 pm.