Welcome to the New Mexico section of Mountainproject!
As noted by Tim Toula in Rock and Road, "The west is still wild as far as climbing in New Mexico goes." Though difficult to compare to Utah or Colorado in terms of amount of climbing, the diversity of climbing around the state is tremendous.
NORTHERN NEW MEXICO
Areas from the Colorado/ NM state line to Interstate 40 (though not including around the Albuquerque Area). Areas are Listed from North to South.
- Sugarite State Park: A 40-50' basalt cliff with a variety of fun vertical cracks & face climbs near Raton.
- El Rito: This area in north-central New Mexico has exciting sport and traditional climbing on unique cobble conglomerate.
- Taos Area: Outside the beautiful town of Taos, there is a unique topography that enables a variety of climbing, ranging from the several basalt crags in the Rio Grande Gorge, to the lowland and easily accessible granite of Tres Piedras, alpine granite at Questa Dome, and Comales Canyon.
- Los Alamos & White Rock: There are several basalt cragging areas (sport and trad) at White Rock and steep sport climbing at The Dungeon near the town of Los Alamos.
- Jemez Valley Area: From granite to welded tuff to travertine; single pitch, multi-pitch, and bouldering, this area has various types of rock and styles of climbing and bouldering in the beautiful setting of the Jemez Mountains! This area includes: Gilman Tunnels, Battleship Rock, Crystal Cave, Area 37, and Las Conchas.
- Santa Fe Area: Pick your style - exciting sport climbing on granite (you can even get heckled from the roadside at the Pecos), multi and single pitch basalt at Diablo Canyon, or alpine adventures into the southern Sangre de Cristos. It all exists around the capital city of New Mexico.
- Cochiti Mesa & Surrounding Crags: Great welded tuff sport and trad climbing on the mesa edges and in the canyons in the southern Jemez Mtns between Santa Fe & Albuquerque.
- New Mexico Navajolands: As it is tribal land, climbing is not allowed without special permission. However, it has been included for historical significance.
CENTRAL NEW MEXICO
Includes areas generally South of I-40 and the Albuquerque area south to Truth or Consequences.
- Gallup Area: The most popular place in this area, Mentmore, offers exciting and well protected sport climbing with a large number of moderate climbs. If you seek adventure on soft sandstone, try Church Rock or El Malpais.
- Albuquerque Area Climbing: Many areas exist just east of the city of Albuquerque. Enjoy Multi-pitch adventures in the Sandia Mountains, granite bouldering in the Sandia foothills at U-Mound , or technical limestone at Palomas Peak.
- New Canyon: Small, little known limestone climbing area near the town of Manzano. Climbs 40-50 foot vertical to less than vertical routes.
- Enchanted Tower: AMAZING sport routes on a beautiful formation. This pocketed tower is home to the best sport climbing in the state.
- Tucumcari Mountain: Sandstone bouldering just outside of the town of Tucumcari, New Mexico. Not far from the Texas border.
- Box Canyon Area: This area has a series of cliffs and boulders of mixed-quality rhyolite. Great winter area!
- Luna Park: Could be either central or southern New Mexico, take your pick. A lesser known area with mostly bolted routes, a "fun moderate climbing on moderate quality volcanic rock... Care is required until the flakes stablize."
SOUTHERN NEW MEXICO
Areas South of Truth or Consequences to the bottom of the state.
- Percha Creek, Hillsboro: Small basalt crag with a series of moderate traditional and sport climbs.
- The Tunnel: Outside the town of Alamagordo. Expect difficult limestone sport climbing here (highest concentration of difficult climbing in the state.)
- City of Rocks: A nice bouldering area northwest of Las Cruces.
- Las Cruces Area Climbing: Host to a couple climbing areas in the Mesilla Valley. The mainly granite Organ Mountains offer long adventurous peaks and routes, as well as cragging walls and bouldering areas. The Dona Ana Mountains have rock the is similar to that of the Organ mountains without the long approaches.And for small local sport climbing check out the Rough and Ready Hills.
- Sitting Bull Falls: Remote, but with high quality limestone routes ranging from moderate to wildly overhanging and difficult.
- Last Chance Canyon: Excellent limestone cragging near Queen, New Mexico.
"Sandia Rock" by Mick Schein. Sharp End Publishing, 2013.
"Jemez Rock & Pecos Area" by J. Marc Beverly. Sharp End Publishing, 2006.
"Rock Climbing New Mexico" by Dennis R. Jackson. Morris Book Publishing (A Falcon Guide), 2006.
"Taos Rock Climbs & Boulders of Northern New Mexico" by Jay Foley, Sharp End Books, 2005.
Emergencies and Search and Rescue Information
Added at the suggestion of Bill Lawry
Information from: www.nmmountainclub.org/search-and-rescue.html
Some surrounding states place the responsibility for Search And Rescue (SAR) emergencies at the county level. New Mexico places it at the level of the State Police District or Sub-District. This makes a significant difference in the number to dial for the most direct and efficient response to a SAR emergency (i.e., when time is precious).
The below information is provided with the aim of minimizing the period of time from recognizing the need for rescue by outside organizations to the arrival of help. The below information is not guaranteed to be correct for every situation. Still, in the event that you find needed improvements, please notify the site administrator as soon as practical.
In New Mexico, Call State Police for Search and Rescue (optimal)
This is the fastest way to activate SAR operations. New Mexico is divided into various State Police Districts and Sub-Districts. It is suggested that people program the local State Police number of districts they visit into their cell phones; see section NM State Police District Numbers (below) for help in determining the correct numbers. Fully charge your cell phone and take it along with your other emergency precautions.
Why isn't calling 911 optimal? Search and Rescue in wilderness areas of New Mexico is handled by the New Mexico State Police and trained wilderness rescue volunteers, not city or county fire and police agencies. In most cases, the local State Police office is not tied into the 911 system, and calls are only transferred to the State Police if the caller explicitly asks for it. This creates some confusion for the injured hiker or climber, as we have all been taught to call 911 for prompt emergency response. Certainly, it's easier to remember that one short number in an emergency. Unfortunately, in search-and-rescue emergencies, calling 911 needs to be done carefully or improper resources will be deployed before the right people are called; see section below for calling NM State Police via 911 for more on this.
Provide sufficient information: Once you are connected to the NM State Police dispatch, make sure to give them enough information to get the rescue started quickly. See section Information for NM State Police for a listing of important information to provide.
Calling NM State Police via 911 (not optimal)
As stated above, the optimal way to report a search and rescue emergency is to call the local NMSP District or Sub-District dispatch. The primary advantage for calling 911 is if you do not know the NMSP number. A possible (i.e., not guaranteed) secondary advantage is that a call to 911 may make your cell phone's location available to responding organizations. However, reception by multiple cell towers is sometimes required which is often not going to happen in remote locations; also, multiple and unusually long calls to 911 may be necessary to compute a location that may or may not be sufficiently close to your true location.
If you choose to call 911, it is suggested to state "I have a search and rescue emergency. Please connect me with the local New Mexico State Police (NMSP) District dispatch." That should cause them to directly transfer the call with no intervening interference from county or city agencies. If they connect you to county fire or city police, or ask you for your "street intersection" or "cross street" then keep asking for the local NMSP District dispatch until you actually get them. When you are connected to NMSP, section Information for NM State Police provides a listing of important information to provide.
Calling 911, without specifying who you want to talk to, is the worst way to report a Search and Rescue (SAR) emergency, especially for climbing accidents. Doing so will always activate county fire, county sheriff, or APD/AFD first, and will usually delay contact of properly trained wilderness SAR organizations. Too often, inappropriate responders arrive on scene and consume SAR resources (e.g., extra clothing, escort from the wilderness, etc.).
NM State Police District Numbers
Which NMSP District or Sub-District should be called? The appropriate local NMSP Districts and Sub-Districts phone numbers are identified via maps and other links on this NMSP page; within a district their may be sub-districts which are closer to your destination. For convenience, here are some popular outing locations listed beneath the applicable district / sub-district. These numbers have been verified as of January 2012.
1. Albuquerque District, 505-841-9256
- Sandia Mountains
- Gilman Tunnels Climbing Area
2. Santa Fe District, 505-827-9300
- White Rock Climbing Area
- Diablo Canyon Climbing Area
- Ski Santa Fe Area
3. Socorro District, 505-827-9314
- Socorro Climbing Area
4. Quemado Sub-District, 575-773-4501
- Datil / Enchanted Tower Climbing Area
5. Taos Sub-District, 575-758-8878 if no answer call the Espanola Office at 505-753-2277
- El Rito Trad & Sport Climbing Areas
- Tres Piedras Climbing Area
6. Gallup District, 505-827-9321
- Mentmore Climbing Crag
7. Farmington District, 505-325-7547
- Four Corners area
8. Las Cruces District, 505-827-9309
- Organ Mountains
Information for NM State Police
Be prepared to give enough information to get the rescue started quickly:
- State that you have a search and rescue emergency and need to activate search and rescue. They might connect you with a state police officer (called a Mission Initiator) or they might try to take down what you say and have SAR get back to you.
- State your name and the patient's name, sex, and age (the police officer responsible for starting the incident will need this information).
- PROVIDE YOUR CALL-BACK NUMBER.
- Describe the nature of the accident succinctly (e.g. "A climber who fell X feet and has a broken left leg").
- Explain your preparedness: do you have food? water? warm clothing? Shelter? (The officer will use this and the injury description to determine the urgency.)
- Tell the dispatcher what trailhead you started at, where you parked, and the license plate number of the vehicle you left there (this assures that the police correctly identify the last known point).
- If you have exact coordinates on your GPS, read them out clearly, and be sure to use words that make clear what coordinate format you're using (e.g. "My coordinates are latitude 35 degrees 27.24 minutes north by longitude 106 degrees 54.37 minutes west" not "35 27.24 by 106 54.37", which is too open to interpretation by the dispatcher, who is mostly used to hearing coordinates in decimal degrees thanks to the way cell phone companies report them).
- If you have no exact GPS coordinates, carefully describe the trail you took, the name of the formation you were on, etc. The dispatcher won't know what any of this means, but when they relay it to SAR, the SAR resources will know what you were talking about.
- And make sure that you get them to read back everything they wrote down, because when they're in a hurry sometimes they take short-cuts, and then SAR get things like "a hiker on Elena Gallegos trail" instead of "we were hiking from Elena Gallegos up the Pino trail" or evenmore critically "we were hiking from Elena Gallegos up the trail to Domingo Baca Canyon."
- After this, conserve your cell phone batteries. Do not make unnecessary calls! It may be necessary for SAR resources to contact you for more details
New Mexico Climbing Related Links
Online area guides will be posted in appropriate sections. Here is a list of climbing information around new mexico that might be of interest (please let me know if you know of any additional links by adding comments, thanks):
- Stone Age Climbing Gym: www.climbstoneage.com
- Technical Climbing Section of the New Mexico Mountain Club:
- Los Alamos Mountaineering Club: www.lamountaineers.org
- UNM Mountaineering Club: www.unm.edu/~mtnclub/
- Suntoucher Mountain Guides:
- Mountain Skills Rock Climbing Adventures
Jay Foley has been officially permitted and insured to guide rock climbing in northern New Mexico and The Red Rock National Conservation Area of Las Vegas, Nevada for over 15 years.
- Yahoo Group for Climbing in New Mexico:
- New Mexico Tech Climbing Club (Soccoro, NM):
- Some Southern New Mexico Climbing Links (including the Ingraham
Organ Mtns. guide, topos for Percha Creek, etc. Not updated
frequently but you might find something useful):
3,628 Total Routes
['4 Stars',243],['3 Stars',1284],['2 Stars',1326],['1 Star',647],['Bomb',21]
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|By Karl Kiser|
Apr 23, 2006
The Falcon-Guide to New Mexico is now out. It is considered a new book rather than a new edition (Texas is deleted, probably for the better).
"Rock Climbing New Mexico"--Dennis R. Jackson 2006 (463pp $30)
I suggest we use this forum to update the guide and add corrections.
|By Aimee Rose|
From: Bend, or
Apr 26, 2006
The new NM falcon guide is out! It's pretty darn inclusive from what I saw when I glanced at it. Even has secret areas like the Dungeon.
|By Karl Kiser|
May 6, 2006
J. Marc Beverly's book "Jemez Rock & Pecos Area"--Sharp End Publishing (2006) 270 pp. is now on the shelves of your favorite reseller. It retails for $28.
|By John J. Glime|
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 1, 2008
Whoever wrote up a brief description of each area on this page, AWESOME! Thank you! Great idea that should spread to each state's page. Super useful.
|By Anthony Stout|
From: Albuquerque, NM
Feb 4, 2008
Thanks! Glad you like it.
|By Clark Gray|
Apr 2, 2008
Does anyone climb in the El Porvenir canyon outside of Las Vegas? I remember that there were some decent faces most of which hadn't had much climbing activity?
|By Robin like the bird|
From: mountain center ,CA
Jul 29, 2008
I am going to be traveling to Santa Fe area this fall and I am looking for some classic multi pitch routes to climb close to or on the way to Santa Fe from Arizona. Does any one have any Recommendations .
|By Mike Rowley|
Mar 28, 2012
I am looking for climbing partners in NM! Specifically the ABQ area, but I plan on trying to climb all over the state. I am hoping to be in NM from early to late april and will have 3-4 free days a week to climb. I dont know ANY climbers in NM so if you wanna climb let me know!! I lead .11+/.12- sport and trad. I have enough gear to get up anything in NM for sure. Hope to get some responses and partners!
|By evan h|
From: Denver, CO
Sep 17, 2013
Does anyone know about potential crack climbing on the Entrada Sandstone around Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu Dam? It seems there's amazing potential, but I can't find any info about first ascents or beta. Surely people have climbed here!
|By Jason Halladay|
From: Los Alamos, NM
Sep 18, 2013
Evan, most of the towers in the Ghost Ranch area have been climbed, many years ago, but I've not heard of anyone repeating the climbs or seeking out other unclimbed cracks in the area. The routes on the Ghost Ranch towers are described here on MountainProject on the Ghost Ranch page. Having hiked in the area a few times, I've looked at cracks and the rock and didn't find it to be very good, generally, and would consider it serious adventure to climb that sandstone.
From: Santa Fe, NM
Sep 21, 2013
I did about 10 - 1 pitch routes around there in 1995/96. Most were up in the canyon just east of the picnic spot before you get to Ghost Ranch. Some fun stuff and I keep meaning to get back there before I post anything. Some cool Indian Creek style lines but shorter and the rock is MUCH softer (like Arches). The best were a 70' 5.9 way back in the canyon. Ed and I did a cool 5.10 hand crack with a culter formation start (bolt for protection) on the furthest south formation( on the north side). I also remember a 5.10 "Y" crack that Luke and I did overlooking the road and another one further up the road across from Ghost Ranch on the Echo Amphitheater side. All have good 2 bolt 1/2" rawl anchors with original 18 year old tat I'm sure