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Crystal Cave

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Crystal Cave 

Photos: Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 6,551'
Location: 35.7915, -106.687 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 14,722
Administrators: Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB, Marta Reece, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Anthony Stout on Aug 7, 2006
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New Mexico "CAVING"
Crystal Cave-Dope (5.13)
Closed for Sensitive Archaeological Resources MORE INFO >>>


Do Not Climb HERE for now this is the current situation:

The Santa Fe National Forest issued a temporary closure order for Jemez (aka Crystal) Cave on August 21st. The closure applies to all users and is in effect until rescinded or for one year and includes the cave and surrounding area within 50 feet as well as the access trails. They plan on fencing and posting the area next week. Violations are punishable by fines of up to $5000 and/or imprisonment of up to 6 months.

  • For more info, please see the "condition reports" from Bryan Pletta below.

This crazy place is made up of a mineral called travertine, a mineral deposit from hot springs. It has a feel of limestone with multiple pockets.

The routes here are difficult, all overhanging as they travel through the cave. Not only are they difficult to climb, we found them quite difficult to find! Typically you are lowered off single chains from the roof of the cave, and left wondering what route you did! There were many that were described in the guidebook "Jemez Rock", and we could not even figure out which was which. So, be warned, fun and difficult climbing with confusing route finding!

Please leave the biners on the chains for lowering!

Getting There 

Follow the directions to the Jemez Valley, and continue up highway 4. About one mile beyond the town of Jemez springs is the Soda Dam. Once you see the Soda Dam, continue to drive just past by some guardrails and park in the left side parking lot. Follow a trail going up the left side of the canyon, directly across from the Soda Dam, for 2-3 minutes and you will run into the cave.

Climbing Season

10 Total Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',4],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Crystal Cave:
New 1   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 30'   
Leprosy   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 30'   
Minutia   5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b     Sport, 35'   
Soul Crusher   5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c     Sport, 60'   
Dope   5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c     Sport, 50'   
Leper   5.13c 8a+ 30 X- 31 E7 7a     Sport, 50'   
Faith   5.13c 8a+ 30 X- 31 E7 7a     Sport, 60'   
Browse More Classics in Crystal Cave

Featured Route For Crystal Cave
end of dope

Dope 5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c  NM : Jemez Valley Area : Crystal Cave
Thuggy moves right off the ground lead past 3 bolts to a shelf and some underclings. Rest up here as much as possible. Continue past a couple more bolts on smaller holds to a difficult move getting established in a pair of pockets and a big throw out of them to a jug. Move up the series of jugs past another bolt. Make a long reach out left from the highest jug to clip, call it good for "Short on Dope" 5.12+, or bust the V6 boulder problem moving out left to another jug and clip, then up on flat ...[more]   Browse More Classics in NM

Photos of Crystal Cave Slideshow Add Photo
Looking out from inside the cave
Looking out from inside the cave
Topo, more the left side of the right cave
BETA PHOTO: Topo, more the left side of the right cave
Topo, right side of the right cave
BETA PHOTO: Topo, right side of the right cave
After reading the general description of Crystal Cave, I decided to attempt and clear up the routes. This is a fisheye lens and a partial work. If anybody else who knows the routes would like to help it would be appreciated. I only know(i think) the routes I've already added to the photo. If these are incorrect please let me know.
BETA PHOTO: After reading the general description of Crystal C...
Random climber at Crystal Cave.
Random climber at Crystal Cave.
Steep climbing at Crystal Cave
Steep climbing at Crystal Cave
Comments on Crystal Cave Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 16, 2013
By lance hadfield
From: tijeras
Mar 17, 2010

it sucks that the descriptions of my climbs were pulled so Marc and Timmy could bolt some variations to train on and not just give updated descriptions.

By LeeAB
From: ABQ, NM
Jun 3, 2010

I've added some photo topos with names of routes that I've been on and resubmitted the routes that I've done.

Please feel free to chime in with names of the new routes that I've just listed as "New #?" for the time being.

By Anthony Stout
From: Albuquerque, NM
Jun 11, 2010

George is right. Removing the route descriptions was done because, from the information I received from Marc, the changes that had been made in the cave made these descriptions obsolete. Removal was not intended to offend anyone. I apologize if it did.

By djkyote
May 7, 2012

while tightening the 4th and 5th nuts on Dope that like to loosen themselves, we discovered that the entire bolts are loose and can be moved up and down.

By Eric Whitbeck
Jun 8, 2012

Nice job Bryan. Removing the fixed hardware sounds like a great gesture.

By Ty Harlacker
From: Albuquerque, NM
Jul 4, 2012

Thanks for taking action!, I appreciate everything you do for the local climbing community. I hope the tentative closure can be averted. If it can, it would largely be cause of you. Thanks again.

By Dustin Stephens
Aug 16, 2012

I hope this "temporary archaeological assessment closure" turns out to be a lot less permanent than the ones here in the Red River Gorge. Best of luck with the process!

By bruno-cx
Jan 15, 2013

Might find this article interesting:>>>

Not really sure if it impacts other crags.

By David Sahalie
From: on the road again
Aug 16, 2013

It's almost been a year. Anyone have any news on when it will reopen?