In the shadow of Hueco Tanks lies this lesser known and lesser quality area. Pena Blanca is a sprawling rock playground on the southern foot of the Organ mountains. There are scores of established boulder problems and potential for more. Much of the rock is of poor quality which keeps the area relatively free from the crowds seen at Hueco.
There are a handful of short sport and trad routes, as well as top-rope problems that merit a visit. But what Pena Blanca has most of is bouldering, and it is through bouldering that this area will get known.
The area is currently designated as Wilderness Study Area by the BLM which restricts off-roading activities. Petroglyphs are found here and if you find some refrain from climbing near them.
When driving between Las Cruces and El Paso on I-10, Pena Blanca is clearly visible to the east. Take the Mesquite exit and head east. The paved road takes you buy a landfill and liquid waste site, then turns to a dirt road. When you are approximately due south of the rocks there are rough roads that lead to the different climbing spots. A 4WD vehicle is required to reach some of the parking areas.
There is a collection of rough maps with names/difficulties of routes and problems at Pena Blanca. Contact Aaron Hobson (or see the above link and browse)to get them sent to you. They are by no means complete, and only give the user an idea of the large amount of climbing that occurs here.
By Aaron Hobson Administrator From: Las Cruces, NM Feb 28, 2006
Once again I am having naming issues. I have some documents that someone put together about route names and which formation they are on (see the above link). However, I don't have specific information as to what the routes look like, where they are located etc... The problem I am faced with then is trying to match the names I have with the actual routes.
If you see that a route is named wrong SAY SOMETHING. Hopefully this site can be used to bring some of this information together.
Every crag lies in the shadow of Hueco Tanks. Hueco is a diamond and Pena Blanca is a jewel that surrounds it. If there was no Hueco. Pena Blanca would be in the limelight as a local crag. This is the second best place to boulder in this area and the 1st and only place to enjoy pure grain free - outback & wild bouldering like it should be. No gates, times, Rangers or hype. Just you and the mountain.
I was out here this today, Easter, and when I was leaving I got pulled over by some cops looking for a group of people who had been reported shooting at each other. There were three cars over by the volcano, but I just want to let everyone know there is also legal recreational firearm use out here so be careful.
Also watch for vehicle break-in's. It hasn't happened for several years, but don't leave climbing gear or anything valuable in your vehicle. Always park where you can keep an eye on it. If you ever see something going down. Get the license plates and contact 911.