Timber Mountain

April 1, 2022


Truth or Consequences, NM

Timber Mountain is the highest peak in Caballo Mountains to the south of the city of Truth or Consequences in New Mexico. This peak boasts over 800 m prominence and that’s the sole reason why it caught my attention. The ascent is nothing fancier than a “walk” on roads and open country, but the access requires some lengthy driving on dirt roads with some remote feeling. I finished Organ Needle earlier in the morning and immediately decided to check out this peak in the afternoon. I was planning to drive back northwards on I-25 anyway.

“Truth or Consequences” is a weird name of a city so I expected some weird feelings there. The city turns out to be quite small and the streets layout and traffic pattern feels exactly like the villages in Mexico, just not nearly as busy. A dozen or so stop signs later I exited the city onto country roads with hardly any traffic. The dirt roads were all labelled on Google Map so the navigation to Timber Mountain was not challenging, but boy it was a long one. Eventually I turned westwards towards the mountain. I was hoping to drive close to the summit but as soon as the road became steep I had to stop and park. It was here that I learnt the rental Mitsubishi wasn’t even an AWD vehicle. There’s enough clearance but the 2WD sucked and couldn’t even handle the first steep hill. I was stubborn enough to try at least 4 times to get the vehicle up the first hill and eventually succeeded. But then I turned around and parked.

Timber Mountain via the roads. GPX DL

It’s about 4 or 5 kilometers of road-walk to the false summit where some communication structures were built on. There wasn’t much worth mentioning, but the views were overall better than expected. Part of me was glad that I did not drive all the way up as otherwise I would not have appreciated the views. From the false summit I descended to the saddle along the ridgeline and easily plodded onto the true summit where I took about an hour break as I was tired and needed time to recollect.

Black cows on the road…
This rental SUV is useless for off-roading…
The start of the road-walking in the heat…
The whole route is not sheltered. I definitely forgot that I was in the desert…
Looking back at the red rocks of the area
From one of the switchbacks looking north towards the lower peaks in this range
Caballo Lake to the west
Ahead would be the false summit. This peak is composed of limestone layers
Brushy Mountain to the south
This is an expansive western view from the false summit
Looking back towards the false summit from false/true saddle
Organ Mountains on the horizon in the far distance
Another look at Brushy Mountain to the south in the same range
Summit Panorama from Timber Mountain. Click to view large size.
Looking back at the false summit with the communication towers
The rest of Caballo Mountains to the north in foreground
Me on the summit of Timber Mountain
Lots and lots of cactus on this peak as well… I got stabbed by Agaves on descent
Another photo of me on the summit. The register is rich with peakbagger’s names

On the descent I took a short-cut across the east slopes of the false summit to avoid the elevation regain, and then easily plodded back to the car. The round trip distance was almost 10 km so this peak was definitely not that much of a “dumpster” as I thought. Once back to Truth or Consequences I found another Mexican restaurant for dinner but then I got an email saying my Alaska Airline flight to Seattle was cancelled due to strike. That really messed up things as I had to extend the car rental by a day. I called Alaska Airline (1 hour or wait) to get a full refund and meanwhile I booked a new flight with Delta. Once everything’s set I drove northwards again and found a Rest Area to park and sleep.

Just after starting the descent, looking back at the true summit
Looking ahead to the false summit that I would bypass on the east side
Back to the rough roads
The mountains look cooler in the late afternoon sunlight
Caballo Cone is that little peak in the foreground
This area definitely has lots of red rocks and probably lots of minerals too
I would eventually walk down all of those switchbacks…
One sub-summit and the road
Looking back towards the north side cliffs of the false summit
Mexican dinner in Truth or Consequences