This excellent crag offers numerous slab and crack climbs. This is a popular area for first-timers and large groups, due to the apparent low-commitment. These routes are generally devoid of loose rock, and offer a great variety of difficulty and techniques.
Begin at the La Cueva picnic ground. From the outhouse, walk 50 feet south on the paved road to the first parking space on the E side of the road. Pick up a trail heading E from the parking space. This trail joins the "Tramway Trail" after 200 yds. Head N (left) on the Tramway Trail for about 200yds. Just before the trail enters the La Cuevae Canyon river bottom, there is a brown wooden post on the left that identifies the Tramway Trail. Head E at this junction on a good trail into La Cueva Canyon. You will cross numerous slabs, but stay on the S (rt) side of the river for the first 5 minutes or so. The trail is always good, so you shouldn't be bushwhacking, but occasionally the trail disappears as it crosses open slabs.
Eventually the trail crosses the river. Continue on the N side of the river to a point where many large boulders have recently fallen to the canyon bottom. At this point some easy scrambling over boulders is required. At the top of this talus field, Flake n Bake will appear on the left (N). Coninue E another 50 feet, along the N side of the creek, then follow the canyon as it snakes hard to the left (N). After heading N for 50 feet, the trail heads back toward the creek through thick brush. Duck under a massive boulder and cross the crick (if you were born near Datil, or creek if you were born elsewhere). You are now on the E side of the creek. Head S for 10 feet, then turn back to the E and head up a small slab. Traverse right along the top of the slab, then pick up a steep but good climbers trail that switches back up the rounded ridge. Continue towards the "Aid Boulder" (see photo) -- a steep short overhanging boulder with some old aid relics and bolts. Once at the boulder, traverse E below the Gemstone slabs.
Weather station 2.2 miles from here
9 Total Routes
['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',2],['2 Stars',7],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
Browse More Classics in Gemstone West
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Gemstone West:
Gemstone 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Alpine, 2 pitches, 180'
Pair of 4s 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
PG13 Trad, Alpine, 1 pitch, 150'
Featured Route For Gemstone West
Gemstone 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c NM
: Sandia Mountains
: ... : Gemstone West
Pitch 1: Start up the obvious large left-leaning offwidth. Traverse left under the roof. Climb easier cracks in the left-facing corner above to a bolted anchor on a ledge.Pitch 2: Step right and climb a left-leaning hand crack with poor feet to easier climbing (crux). Continue in the same left-angling crack system; some variations are possible. There are 2 sets of anchors at the top. Simplest descent is one rappel with 2 ropes. It may be possible to rap the route with 1 rope, or to...[more] Browse More Classics in NM
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Gemstone West. The crag's centerpiece route, the ...
Unknown party on Gemstone on 6 May 07
Howard Snell enjoying the day.