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South of Santa Fe

The Sandia Mountains are part of a localized geologic uplift South of the Rocky Mountains in New Mexico. Towering to the east of Albuquerque New Mexico the Sandias offer both Hikers and climbers a vast array of backcountry experience. The Sandias rise from 6000 ft to an impressive 10,678 feet above sea level. With Four thousand feet of elevation gain approaching in the Sandias can turn into an epic. Sandia means watermelon which is captured when the western sunset illuminate a pink hue in the evening light.

The Sandias encompass four climatic zones. A Hiker or climber can experience all ranges of temperature and weather conditions while traveling in the Sandias. Be Prepared.

Climbing in the Sandias can be very rewarding with many classic traditional climbs to choose from. Traditional climbing in the Sandias requires a solid and experienced background as route finding can be difficult and the rock tends to be loose in places. If you are up for a truly awesome foray into Yosemite like rock in New Mexico, Check it out. As with all Alpine related ventures, get an early start, carry plenty of water and have a sound plan. Routes in the Sandias are accessible from the rim as well as the base. While you are here do not forget to ride the tram.

Resources: Sandia Rock by Mick Shein

Central To Santa Fe (30 Minutes)

Cochiti Mesa
Cochiti Mesa located on the southern flank of the Jemez Mountains is an older sport climbing area primarily developed in the late eighties and early nineties. Cochiti is located thirty minutes south of Santa Fe off the St. Peters Dome Rd. Out of Cochiti Lake New Mexico. Cochiti features pocket climbing at its best with its Welded Tuff formations. Climbing routes vary from 40 ft to 120 ft long. Very aesthetic face routes on crimpy pockets, don’t get tweaked. The best time to climb at Cochiti is April through June and September to November. Summer days can be very hot. Quick Link to Tent Rocks Hike

Access to Cochiti climbing area is as follows: Take exit 259 off of I-25 from Santa Fe. Follow State rd. 22 west for approximately 16 miles to the Cochiti Pueblo turn off.. Turn on the Cochiti golf course Rd. Follow for a mile past two gates on the right to third right ( No Gate) Turn right onto this rd. Follow for 1.5miles to stream crossing. From here go 2.5 miles to a sign that marks trail 118 this is Eagle Canyon. About .5 Miles further will be parking for Cochiti ( Two switchbacks). Cochiti is located in the Santa Fe National Forest, Camping is allowed. Camping is also available on a fee basis at Cochiti Lake Camp Grounds.

Jemez Rock by Marc Beverly
Rock climbing New Mexico, Dennis R. Jackson
* Stop by Sangre de Cristo Mountain works we have shop copies for your convenience.

White Rock Climbing Area
The Town of White Rock a Bedroom community to Los Alamos is home to many great traditional and Sport climbing close to Santa Fe. The columnar Basalt overlooking the Rio Grande valley is a perfect place to tune up your Sport Climbing as well as traditional crack climbing. Routes vary from 30 feet to 60 feet and the variety is endless. The Overlook can be confusing as entrance points are through neighborhoods in the town of white rock. The area is broken into several areas as follows: Below the old New Place, The Doughnut shop, The Under-look, The Sununu Place, The Lounge and Pajarito. Top-roping can be found at the playground and the New-New Place. Spring and fall offer the best temperatures for hitting the White Rock area. For route info and directions stop by Sangre de Cristo Mountain Works.

Jemez Rock by Marc Beverly
Rock climbing New Mexico, Dennis R. Jackson
* Stop by Sangre de Cristo Mountain Works we have shop c copies for your convenience and reference.

Las Conchas, Jemez Springs
Las Conchas is a great area for summer climbing and respite from the desert heat. Las Conchas is located due west of Los Alamos off of NM4 near the town of Jemez Springs. Parking can be found at the East Fork of the Jemez River where the prominent climbing area Cattle Call Wall is located. The Climbing at Las Conchas is mostly bolted sport routes on rhyolite, a miliion year old volcanic formation. The cliffs of Las Conchas wind through lush alpine meadows at 8400 ft. Las conchs are Part of the Jemez Caldera.

Most of the climbs at Las Conchas are shot 30 to 60 feet. There are a wide variety of options ranging from 5.8 to 5.13. there are several areas within Las Conchas as follows: Cattle Call wall, Gateway Rock, Chilly Willy Wall, Love shack Area, Dream Tower, The Sponge and The Leaning Tower.

Jemez Rock by Marc Beverly
Rock climbing New Mexico, Dennis R. Jackson
*Stop by Sangre de Cristo Mountain Works we have shop copies for your convenience and reference

Diablo Canyon
Diablo Canyon Located just to the west of Santa Fe is a new old place in the sense that people have been climbing in and around Diablo for many years but it is just since the early nineties that Diablo has become an established climbing area. Diablo canyon is the closest climbing to Santa Fe and it also offer some of the longest climbs in the area. Diablo canyon has several walls, The Early Wall, Beyond the Grotto, The Grotto, Cocksomb Crag and Winter Wall.

Climbs at Diablo Canyon vary from short to very long at 300 ft. There are 70 bolted routes as well as longer traditional routes requiring the placement of gear. Diablo climbs are steep and exposed ranging from 5.8 to 5.13 in difficulty. There is still a great deal of potential for route development and F.A.’s in the Diablo Canyon.

While Diablo is close and convenient, don’t be mistaken it can be VERY DANGEROUS!. Diablo’s Basalt is Loose and Chossy especially on the south facing exposures. The extreme Temperature gradient creates a massive freeze thaw in the rock. The columnar nature of the crystalline structure in the rock makes for an ever changing landscape. Always WEAR A HELMET when climbing at Diablo Canyon, ROCK FALL IS COMMON.

Rock climbing New Mexico, Dennis R. Jackson

Stop by Sangre de Cristo Mountain Works we have shop copies for your convenience and reference.

Northern NM

Questa Dome
Big and wild Questa Dome offers climbers a true alpine Back country Climbing experience. While the dome only offers 6 routes with some variation the granite is tremendous and provides for a thrilling traditional climbing experience. Located on the western slope of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Questa Dome is on the far edge of the Latir wilderness and is not the easiest area to get to ( this is a good thing).
The 500’ Granite dome offers 6 routes 5.10 to 5.13 in difficulty. The Trad Nature of Questa makes it an incredible test of climbing skill and endurance with sustained difficult climbing. Questa offers the climber every possibility in terms of terrain and technique. Bring all your guns for friction, crack, face and dihedral climbing. Questa Direct is a classic! Questa is in a wilderness area and Bolting is not permitted.

Questa is located 7 miles North of the town of Questa or 13 s from the Colorado border. Look for a sign for El Rito turn east toward the mountains on a narrow paved road. The Trailhead is 2.1 miles from the highway. This road requires 4 wheel drive. When road comes to a T junction Turn right ,park in pull out .2 miles from this point. This is the trail head. Please be respectful as it is necessary to pass private property on your way in. The approach takes about 40 minutes. No crowds here.
Taos Rock by Jay Foley

Rock climbing New Mexico, Dennis R. Jackson

* Stop by Sangre de Cristo Mountain Works we have shop copies for your convenience and reference.

Tres Piedras
Tres Piedras, Spanish for Three rocks rises up magically on the high mesa overlooking the Rio Grande Gorge. The area offers he granite on the western side of the Rio Grande rift in New Mexico. The quality of the rock and the cool alpine setting make Tres Piedras an exceptional place for Sport and rock climbing The rock formations make up West rocks, Middle rock, Mosaic rock and South rock. The area offers one to two pitch traditional and sport routes of the finest caliber. Test you iron on some of the original lines at the Tres and find out what Tres Piedras 5.10 is all about. Most lines are in the 5.9 to 5.11 range. Weekdays can bring solitude.

Access here is sensitive and tricky and climbers need to be sensitive to this. The Management is shared between the forest service and a private land owner. He later is not thrilled with the activity of climbing. Do everything in your power to respect the sensitive nature of this treasure. Please No camping as this is fundamental to the access to Tres Piedras. Be quiet , be clean, and be considerate. Thank You.
Tres Piedras is Located 80 miles North of Santa Fe and 30 Miles west of the town of Taos in Tres Piedras. At the Junction of 285 and 64. climbing access is reached due west on HWY 64. Please follow all postings.

Taos Rock by Jay Foley
Rock climbing New Mexico, Dennis R. Jackson
* Stop by Sangre de Cristo Mountain Works we have shop copies for your convenience and reference.

El Rito
A few miles north of the small New Mexico community of El Rito, tucked well up side canyons in the Carson National Forest, lie two cragging areas: First, an area of broken cliffs and boulders high on a west-facing canyon slope that provides just the right setting for a "sport" area. The adjective "steep" here is only applied to walls beyond the vertical. However, the holds are plentiful, and the faces are just the right height for half-rope bolted routes. In addition, there are few other visitors to the area, so the inevitable wear and tear, visible anchors, and chalk-defaced crags are only seen by climbers.

Further up the road is a 100m high monolithic cliff that provides a good setting for traditional (gear-protected) climbing. Its attributes include: lack of crowding, good access, interesting and solid rock, generally good protection, and that very rare commodity: high quality climbs at moderate difficulty levels. This is the perfect spot for a beginning climber to learn multi-pitch technique, with plenty of exposure to motivate mastering the art of placing protection. These are the "El Rito Trad" cliffs.

Taos Rock by Jay Foley

Rock climbing New Mexico, Dennis R. Jackson
* Stop by Sangre de Cristo Mountain Works we have shop copies for your convenience and reference.

Wheeler Peak, 13,161ft above sea level. New Mexico’s Highest!
Wheeler Peak is the highest point in New Mexico at 13,161'. The hike to the summit is about 15 miles round trip, and has an elevation gain from 9,000 to 13,161'. This climb is non-technical during most of the summer. But extreme care should be taken during the thunderstorm season-July and August-since much of the Wheeler Peak trail is above timberline and exposed. Getting to and off the summit before thunderstorms this time of year will entail a near-dawn departure.
USGS Map, Wheeler Peak,Latitude/Longitude.36 33 24N/105 24 59W
Wheeler Peak Arial View by Pikes Peak Photography

Santa Fe Climbing Gym
Santa Fe Climbing Center
825 Early Street Suite A
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505
(505) 986-8944

Mountain Skills
P.O. Box 206, Arroyo Seco
New Mexico 87514



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