Otero County High Point Trip Report

Sierra Blanca

Date: April 2000
Author: John Mitchler

This beautiful high peak is the southernmost extent of Pleistocene glaciation. The peak lies entirely on Mescalero Apache Indian land. Before the trip we contacted the tribal council in Mescalero, NM and they indicated that permission is required to access the peak. The manager of the ski resort (leased from the NF by the Mescalero) warned us that the Indian Reservation uses helicopters to patrol Sierra Blanca because of the extreme fire danger (NM open lands are in near-shutdown mode because of the recent dry years). When we stopped in Mescalero on the way to Chaves Co., the tribe's conservation manager explained that the peak is off limits, not because of fire danger, but because of the trash found on this peak. The climb to Sierra is fairly easy, with a 450' descent off Lookout Mountain to a saddle, a steep climb up a grass slope, and a Class 2 walk on a rock ridge, following a use-trail, to the summit boulders, 850' above the saddle. We could view the entire route from Lookout Mountain. [see Lincoln County report]