Sangre Madness - Hayden Pass to (not quite) Poncha Pass

Sangre Madness - Hayden Pass to (not quite) Poncha Pass

Postby Jeremy Hakes » Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:11 pm

I know some of you have already done some of these peaks, but I'm throwing a sick idea together... How about a traverse of the entire northern Sangres, from Hayden Pass to (not quite) Poncha Pass? This would involve shuttling vehicles, and parking vehicles at both trailheads. From the Hayden pass heading north (starting with the more difficult side), at 10,700', you collect peaks :Galena, 12,620C, Otto, Bushnell, Twin Sisters South (not ranked) and Twin Sisters North, 12,924', Hunts, 12,401, Simmons (not ranked), and then back down Round Hill Trail (4x4 road). This would entail 17 miles. 9500' of gain. Moving at my leisurely pace, I'd say 10-12 hours, not including the shuttle. Obviously, extra vehicles would probably be needed; that, or extra patience while waiting for the shuttle vehicles to return. One problem with the route is the complete lack of water refill opportunities. It would seem extra water would have to be carried. This route would probably be available earlier in the season - April? Early May? Any ideas appreciated, and feedback for anyone interested.
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NO SNOWSHOES!!!

Postby Jeremy Hakes » Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:47 pm

No way I want to do this with snowshoes. I'd say we wait until ready to go as mostly snow-free (although snow would provide some needed water), so if that is June, June it is. We were just down in the valley this past weekend, and the snow in the bottom and trees was a little deeper than I expected, but it was VERY DRY snow, as the wind has sucked all the moisture out. The ridge had snow, but was pretty thin. The Blanca group was VERY dry.
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Postby RyanSchilling » Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:06 pm

Would the road to Hayden Pass already be clear in April? I really don't know, but I wouldn't have guessed it would be.
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Postby John Kirk » Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:41 am

Not last April - there was 50-70" of snow at the pass. It doesn't look like it cleared until late June/July. Here is a comment from someone who tried to make it up in mid-May:

We decided to take a ride up toward Hayden Pass in the hopes that enough snow had melted to allow us a shot at the summit.
No luck. Lots of water was coming down.
Lots of snow was still present.
Will have to wait until late summer.
Folks at Cotopaxi said last week there was still over 100 inches of snow at the pass.
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Postby TWorth » Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:34 pm

Sounds like a good traverse. The terrain from Bushnell to Red is straightforward, though it can get pretty windy up there in the winter/early spring.

This reminds me about a blurb in Ormes about a 1961 pack from Poncha Pass to Music Pass. I think it took 9 days with food caches. Must have a been a spectacular traverse, anyone know if there is a more complete account of this journey?
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Postby Jeremy Hakes » Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:18 am

Mike G mentioned someone did the entire Sangre Traverse, from Blancha to Poncha pass in the 80's. Wish there was an account of that somewhere. Fascinating!
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Postby Steve Knapp » Thu Jul 23, 2009 6:03 pm

Jeremy, are you still interested in this? I might be game for it sometime.
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Postby Jeremy Hakes » Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:57 am

Interested, but not sure when my schedule would allow. Work is a major conflict right now. The earliest will be August, but then I have 2 weekends already scheduled.
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Re: Sangre Madness - Hayden Pass to (not quite) Poncha Pass

Postby Steve Knapp » Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:31 pm

Brian, Mike, and I finally got this done on Saturday. It's been on my to-do list for years. We dropped a vehicle off near the N Decker Creek TH Friday night, about 1/2 mile short of the wilderness boundary due to a downed tree. Brian then drove us all the way to the top of Hayden Pass in the dark. It's a tough road on the west side, steep and loose in the straight section btw 9-10,000 ft. Once the switchbacks begin the road improves greatly. We camped on the pass that night.

The south to north traverse was awesome. Started with Galena and ended with 12401. Six ranked 12ers and three ranked 13ers including Bushnell, the Fremont county HP. One unranked (S Twin Sister). It took us about 12.5 hours to cover 15.5 miles and 9,000' gain. It's mostly talus mixed with some grass, so slower hiking than one would think for those stats. 12401 was tough to get at the end, it's a long ways from Hunts with several notable ridge bumps. And a tough steep bushwhack back down to Decker Creek at the end.

In summary, it's a great traverse with a shuttle. The 10,700 start from Hayden Pass was very helpful. Very little snow left down there, but enough to supplement our water supply when needed. I took a 100 oz camelback and a 32 ounce gatorade, and topped off the Camelback once with snow. This traverse has been done before, somebody from NM (forgot the name, not on LoJ) went from Hayden Pass to Simmons Peak in recent years. We were out there all day, so go when the weather forecast is stellar.

Good stuff, thanks for joining me Mike and Brian!
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Re: Sangre Madness - Hayden Pass to (not quite) Poncha Pass

Postby Jeremy Hakes » Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:46 pm

Fantastic, Steve. VERY jealous. I'm still training for the MS150 (which is this weekend). That's pretty much taken up all my time on weekends. :(
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