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Routes in Hail Peak

Poker T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
West Face Direct T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Windy Ridge T 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c

Description

Name's origin: Reed Cundiff ... and John Wells got caught in a hail storm doing this in 1962 or thereabouts. According to Reed, "We were rather prosaic in naming peaks and routes back then."

The summit of Hail Peak stands about 1000 feet in elevation below the Sandia Crest summit. The two are separated by a deep notch off the north end of Hail Peak. Generally speaking, Hail Peak resembles a giant fin with its length aligned roughly north-south and the highest point near the north end. The summit affords a unique and broad view of Domingo Baca Canyon and surrounding crags including Jaw Bone in the ~SE, Alioth in the ~NE, The Thumb in the ~NW, and Ego Boost in the ~W.

Getting There

Given the location of Hail Peak, it may well be that any of several approaches are equivalent in terms of time off of maintained trails. The route of interest may be the deciding factor. General options include: down Echo Canyon from the junction of the La Luz Trail and the Crest Spur Trail; up Domingo Baca Canyon from Albuquerque; down a gully in a more direct line between Hail Peak and the La Luz Trail. Doing these approaches before the day of a climb can be a time saver.

For any approach, use care around boulders. It may not be obvious that they are only precariously at rest. In fact, some are ankle breakers or worse as told by history. The area surrounding Hail Peak sees little foot traffic.

Summit Descents


Options for descending from Hail Peak summit - both are described in Mike Hill's "Hikers & Climbers Guide to the Sandias", 3rd edition:

West Face Rap
  • Locate and descend the west face rap route; reportedly there are 2 raps and the longest rap is around 110 feet long; this rap route seems relatively obvious when viewed from the base of the west face although I have not done it.

Rap/down-climb North Ramp Route
  • Only 1 rope needed.
  • At the summit, head north and negotiate a ~20 foot down climb. Not much further north along the ridge, a short fourth class down climb to the northeast leads to a tree with rap slings. Tree and slings are visible before this down climb.
  • At the rap tree, can do a 90' rap down to trees.
  • Now scramble down from there until impassable, then one can go down at far skiers right until impassable and do one short rap from center; or might be able to scramble from skiers left.

3 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Hail Peak

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Poker
Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
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Bill Lawry
New Mexico
Bill Lawry   New Mexico
We went out there about 45 years afterwards when Mark Grazier and I did a counterclockwise circumnavigation of the peak. We got hailed on coming up the east side. The name sticks! Sep 19, 2009
John Wells and I got caught in a hail storm doing this in 1962 or thereabouts. We were rather prosaic in naming peaks and routes back then. Sep 15, 2009

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