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By Karl Kiser
Apr 23, 2006
The Linda Rosul and Ted Dunning article of the Organ Mountains In Rock and Ice #48 (March/April 1992) contained redrawn topos (see page with Southern Comfort Wall) provided by the Southwest Mountaineers. There are errors in the article and the topos do need to be updated.
For the record, the persons who generated these topos in the 1970s and 1980s include (hopefully I didn't omit persons): Steve Wondzell, Edmund Ward, Paul Seibert, Paul Kemp, Mark Motes, Glen Banks, Matt Monagle, Jim Graham and Karl Kiser.
By Karl Kiser
Apr 26, 2006
"Rock Climbing New Mexico"--Dennis R. Jackson (2006) contains a section on the Organ Mountains pp. 390-407. I offer some additional comments here.
Many of the older ratings 5.6 to 5.9 could be one grade harder. This would not apply to all climbs but do not underestimate an easy rating in the Organs. These mountains are not crags.
The approach times seems to be off a bit (see book times below). The approach to the Citadel and Southern Comfort are much shorter than the other areas, probably less than an hour. The first trip to any of these areas will be longer than subsequent trips.
Southern Comfort--1 hour
Sugarloaf--1 to 1.5 hours
#1 Glad We Came--better at 5.8/5.9
#2 Wish You Were Here--better at 5.8/5.9. The climb was originally done in two short pitches although the climb can go straight up (runner well) and left to the anchor. Pitch1: climb up left facing dihedral, exit right and belay. Pitch 2: traverse left to bolted anchors. One can continue up and go to the summit of the Citadel although most parties rap. Rap to the east and walk back to gear. The notation about 5.11 face climbing is WRONG. This is information about the third pitch of Hercamur Snurd. This pitch is seldom done and contains old 1/4" bolts.
#3 Hercamur Snurd--both pitches better at 5.10-; new 3/8" bolts have been added (thank you Jim)
#7 Finger Zinger--better at 5.10a/b
#9 West Ridge--better at 5.7; one can rap either to the east (more common) or west off the summit (two ropes and hard to find--used more for routes on the west face of the Citadel).
#13 Black Velvet--I put in the two bolt variation on lead, they are 1/4" bolts and need replacement!
#14 Margaritville--better at 5.8/5.9
#15 Hangover--one can escape left on the second pitch if the crack proves too difficult.
#15.1 DT--Mark Motes doesn't mind if someone places a couple of good bolts on the pitch to make this a still exciting lead. The route is usually a TR, start with DWI and then go left after the roof moves up a shallow dihedral.
#16 Tooth Fairy--descent for all three routes noted in book is the same, three double rope raps down the center of the face.
Topo for T or C: the first pitch is wrong, this is the unprotected variation. Follow the written instructions--up the crack then traverse right to the belay.
One can approach the Wedge from the east as well. Go up high on the Pine Tree trail then up a ridge to a flat area below the short east face of the formation. This is where the short rap is found. Go right and descent to the start of the West Ridge, go left to descent to the start of the Shillelagh route.
#20 Diagonal Route--there are several starts to this route, 5.9 and 5.10. The route is better know as the Shillelagh Route.
#21 Robbins Route--this has historical interest but there is no established route up the face, the book misleads here Several strong parties have climbed in the area of the historic route (at 5.11) but to my knowledge no route has been definitely described.
One can rap from the east side with a single rope (useful) and frequently done. Then just walk west under the south face, around to the north side and follow the rock down to your packs. Some friends just climbed Sugarloaf and did not see an intermediate rap station from the southwest rap, it needs two ropes.
#22 North Face--better at 5.7 and grade III, this cannot be a grade IV when the long and hard Organ Needle East Face routes are noted in the as a IV.
#23 The Left Eyebrow--this route is also better as a grade III.
#24 Science Friction--the 5.11 moves are just a couple off the belay at the top of the second pitch, one can simply aid this as well (much less scary than the less than well protected 5.9 face climbing to the left). I do not know if the 1/4" bolts have been replaced. They are 30 years old and necessary. I would not do this route unless the bolts have been replaced!
By Charles Cundiff
Oct 4, 2006
Back in progress, a more definitive guide to the Organs (and the Mesilla Valley). Everything else is finished (ie. Dona Ana's, Rough and Readies, Percha Creek, and Pena Blanca. It's going to be hard to finish though, as I'm currently living in Ft. Collins Co. Anyone who wants to put together something comprehensive on Orp, the Lesser Spire or the Rabbit Ears... it would be helpful. I don't have good stuff on Bastion or the Card Deck either. Also, names of routes on La Cueva? All I know is Banana Split (10b?)
By Karl Kiser
Mar 26, 2007
|Most of the multi-pitch climbs in the Organs were put up with 45 or 50 m ropes. One should take two ropes to rap unless one can confirm that there is a single rope rap route.|
By climber pat
From: Las Cruces, NM
Dec 5, 2007
|Be very concerned about the 1/4 bolts. I know of two which broke under body weigth in the early 1990s. One was on the Citedal and one was in the Dona Ana's.|
By Jason Halladay
From: Los Alamos, NM
Sep 17, 2008
|We're now entering the nice season for climbing in the Organs. Late fall and early spring are ideal because it gets way hot in summer. Winter offers some fine climbing weather too but the days are shorter and if you get a system rolling through, it can get pretty damn cold.|
From: Las Cruces
Dec 4, 2008
|I've heard a people refer to a "mini half-dome" somewhere in the Organs on the West side. I feel like they're talking about something that's around the dripping springs area...Anyone else heard this or know what I'm talking about?|
By Aaron Hobson
From: Clinton, TN
Dec 9, 2008
|The Peak that strikes me most as being Yosemite-like is Sugarloaf. Not being a Yosemite climber, I'm probably not the best to judge, but it doesn't seem to me that Sugarloaf is much like Half-Dome.|
From: El Paso, Texas USA
May 22, 2009
|See Organ Needle/Normal Route (classic hike).|
From: Las Cruces
Apr 3, 2010