Organ Needle and NE Peak, Doa Ana and N Doa Ana Peak (New Mexico)

Harlan W S & CP
Oct 26-27 , 2015

I first saw the Organ Mountains in 1982, on a drive to Kilbourne Hole. I was so taken, that I looked up the range in Ungnade's book ("New Mexico Mountains"), and decided I would soon go to Organ Needle. 
About the same time, I read about nearby Doa Ana Peak, which had such an odd description that I decided I would never climb that lower summit. 

I worked in Albuquerque, and as weekends filled up with work, the drive to Las Cruces seemed longer and longer. 
Back then, the route to Organ Needle was supposed to be a pretty tough bushwhack, and nobody wanted to join me for the climb. Then I moved to NV in 1998, so I thought Organ Needle was lost to me.

Then CP and DB invited me to meet them in Las Cruces as they drove across the country... and now the route to Organ Needle has a use trail all the way!

GPS tracks (in gpx fprmat), to use AT YOUR OWN RISK, are here and here. (Right-click PC, or ctrl-click Mac, or do a long press on touchscreen. Then pick SAVE AS or SAVE LINK AS.)  In the steep, cliffy areas near the top of the Needle, your gps will probably not track correctly, especially if you wear the gps low on your body.  We started at the "traditional" TH, which requires some tough 4x4 driving.  Frankly there is no advantage over starting at Dripping Springs, with a paved parking area, except the possible limitation in hours (doesn't open till 8am).  While the peak  has over 4000' gain, there is now a use trail all the way, and if you  are reasonably fit, you should be able to do the RT in 6 hrs, provided the weather isn't too hot.

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We took the "traditional approach"
below Modoc Mine.

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The contour map is a pretty lame
indicatior of the ruggedness
of the summit area; it doesn't
even resolve Minerva's
Temple.
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View WSW as we walk.


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View SE toward Organ
Peak.
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View W out of 1st
narrow valley. We then
crossed N along the
base of a cliff to
enter another gully.
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View W at notch to
aptly-named Dark
Canyon.
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View E from notch to
Minerva's Temple. One
descends L here,
into low trees, then climbs
up to...
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the base of the class 3
crux, probably no more
than 20' vertical.  If you
are comfortable with
the method, it may be
easiest to get good
handholds and climb
with your feet on steep
rock on S (R side)
of crack.
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Looking down, Tracy at
base of crux.
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Tracy comes up crux.
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At top of Needle, view of
NE peaklet, actually
more challenging.
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View N to the Squaretops.
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View ~S with Organ Peak.
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MJ was here!
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Tracy does...???
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Me on top, doing
MJ's MO.
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CP on NE peaklet.
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Tracy imitates
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Now I'm on NE peaklet,
looking down to Tracy
on crux.  There was an
old piton anchor at R
(about my level), and a
rotten sling by Tracy.
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View back at highest
Needle peak, from
peaklet.
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Tracy and I came down
a handline.  I spotted Tracy,
then CP threw down the line,
and Tracy spotted CP.
(After this pic, I climbed back
up and supported Tracy.)
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View SW on descent.
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View back NE on descent.
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Organ Mts behind us to E,
as we walk out on Modoc
Mine road.
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Next day we went to Doa Ana.
The route recommended by
COHP and others is now
gated, so we took a route
CP figured out from topos.
It was short, class
1-2 to the named summit,
but we intentionally took
a harder route to N peak.
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Heading NW through
the wash
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View SW as we leave wash
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On top with (L to R) CP,
DB, and Tracy.
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Top, Organ Mts in distance,
L skyline.
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The northern peak, which
is supposedly just 2' lower.
We followed ridge on R side.
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Farmland in distance to SW
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Now we head E...
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View SW as we up
Northern Peak.
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View NE off top
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Tracy has gone off to check
west summit (CP and I went
there soon).
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This and next 2 pics:
descending rocky rib off
northern summit.
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Organ Mts to SE
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DB comes down a dryfall.