Los Alamos Mountaineers To Hear About ‘Exploring New Mexico’s Volcanic Plugs’ During Virtual Feb. 22 Meeting

Cerro de Guadalupe, a volcanic relic in the Rio Puerco valley, on a winter’s day. Photo by Evan Rose.


Los Alamos Mountaineer Evan Rose will speak about his explorations of the Rio Puerco volcanic plugs at the Mountaineers virtual meeting, hosted by PEEC, at 7 PM on Tuesday, February 22. When Evan last spoke to the Mountaineers, in November 2020, he reported on his solo adventures at Lee’s Ferry and Vermilion Cliffs in Utah (see  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8_z1asdWZo .) That trip took place in March of 2020, just as COVID was taking hold.  

Later in the pandemic, in December 2020 and January 2021, he embarked on another set of solo adventures, exploring five volcanic plugs – or necks – in rapid succession.  The arid country northeast of Mount Taylor, south of Cuba NM, and between Mesa Chivato and Mesa Prieta, is dotted with them. The plugs are relatively recent volcanos, the same age as Mount Taylor (about 2.5-3 million years old), that have been dissected down to their cores when the Rio Puerco cut its valley. Thanks to that erosion, they show what a volcano looks like on the inside. Evan explored 5 of the Rio Puerco plugs in the winter of 2020-2021, reaching the

summits of all five: Cabezon Peak, Cerro Cuate, Cerro Cochino, Cerro de Santa Clara, and Cerro de Guadalupe. The last two were featured on the New Mexico centennial postage stamp, issued in 2012. That tour inspired Evan to lead a Mountaineer’s trip to Cabezon Peak in April 2021.  He will cover his approach to “plug bagging”, and share his photos and routes. Some of the ascents are straightforward, and others pose a technical challenge.

While the Mountaineers look forward to a return to in person meetings, the February event will be held virtually. Registration is at https://peecnature.org/events/details/?id=37833.