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.
Browse More Classics in Gemstone West
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Gemstone West:
Christian Crack 5.6 Trad, Alpine, 1 pitch
Broken Ladders 5.7 Trad, Alpine, 1 pitch, 100 feet
Gemstone 5.8 Trad, Alpine, 2 pitches, 180 feet, Grade II
Shoots & Ladders 5.9 Trad, Alpine, 2 pitches
Flail Out 5.9 Trad, Alpine, 1 pitch
Seamingly Hard 5.10b Trad, Alpine, 1 pitch, 200 feet
Featured Route For Gemstone West
Christian Crack 5.6 NM : Sandia Mountains : ... : Gemstone West
Start from the top of Flail Out or the top of the 1st pitch of Gemstone. Work your way up the crack to where it pinches down (crux) just below a large chockstone. Work up past the chockstone to bolted anchors shared with Gemstone route. Double rope rap with 60 meter ropes gets you to the ground.The rating of 5.6 comes from Barry and Rita Loucks' guide. I felt like the crux was more like 5.7, albeit only a couple moves. ...[more] Browse More Classics in NM