I'm heading through New Mexico (Tucson AZ to Taos NM) in the middle of March and am looking for a few suggestions for climbing along the way.
We're looking for single pitch sport 5.9-5.11 areas or a few long trad/alpine routes 5.6-5.9. We're fine with long run outs on easy terrain but would prefer at least a few bolted anchors (my partner leads trad but isn't comfortable making anchors). We'll have a Prius or Subaru Impreza so ground clearance may be an issue, but beyond that, if you had a few days, where would you climb?
Check out Mentmore--Its a small-mid sized crag in Gallup, NM. Good sport, some trad, high quality sandstone. Lots of fun--There's an awesome indian food restaurant in a truck stop right near it too. Not probably worth more than a day or two at, but definitely worth stopping off I40.
Mid-March is typically a bit early for longer alpine routes in Northern NM but it has been a pretty dry and warm year so the Sandias may offer some options. But Sandia approaches are long and complicated, typically. Since you'll be en route to Taos, I'd suggest the sport climbing at El Rito for the 5.9 to 5.11 sport climbing. And just up the road is the west-facing two-pitch El Rito Traditional Area. Mid-March can be tricky in terms of weather. If a system is rolling through, it'll be cold and not fun. But if it's a clear day with sun, you're set. The south-facing Winter Wall at Diablo (near Santa Fe) has some long moderates (not the best rock quality but gets loads of traffic so it's pretty clean) including some two-pitch sport routes with bolted anchors. There's east-facing basalt sport climbing at Utopian Vistas near Taos. There's also short sport and gear-protected basalt climbing near Los Alamos & White Rock.
Awesome suggestions- thanks! White Rock and El Rito sound great. Another friend mentioned the Jemez, but I couldn't find much information regarding weather- is it too cold this time of year for Las Conchas or the Upper East Fork? We might be able to get out to Mentmore, which would be fun since my climbing partner has never climbed on sandstone.
Is it too cold this time of year for Las Conchas or the Upper East Fork?
Thanks to an unseasonably warm and dry winter, we've had many great days climbing at Las Conchas and UEF this winter. Most of the climbing at UEF is pretty much south-facing so if it's a sunny day and not too windy, the climbing temps will be great. And it's definitely worthy of a visit. But if the forecast calls for clouds and/or wind, stick to White Rock or Diablo outside of Santa Fe--lower and warmer there.