|Pecos River Canyon
Rick McWilliams on "nearly classic" (5.11b)
Pecos River Canyon is a picturesque granite crag northeast of Santa Fe, NM in the Santa Fe National Forest. The crag offers five separate cliffs of one-pitch, mixed trad and sport climbs on excellent pink-hued granite, nestled among the pines above the trout-filled Pecos River. On a typical weekend day, climbers will be outnumbered by fishermen 3 to 1. This ultimate roadside crag suffers and benefits from its accessibility. Complete solitude will be difficult to attain while belaying from the highway shoulder at Cathedral Rock; however, the dense vegetation and mandatory river crossing can make the Bleachers, only 100 feet distant, feel a world apart.
This crag offers excellent climbing on thin slabs, steep jug hauls, and blocky cracks (usually with a roof or two). This is a haven for the granite face-climbing afficionado, reminiscent of the best rock in the Sandias and Gilman. There are a number of pure trad lines (generally dihedrals), but this crag doesn't have any 'splitter' cracks. The real prime routes are in the 5.9 to 5.11- range, which would make this place popular in any state but NM.
From Interstate 25, head north to the town of Pecos. Continue north from Pecos on State Route 63 for about 7.5 miles. The Cathedral, which is the main crag, will appear on the right (E) side of the road, just as the road bends sharply to the left. The Cathedral is 10.5 miles from the intersection of 66 and 63 in Pecos. There is a small, sometimes crowded pullout on the left (W) side of the highway about 25 feet past the Cathedral. Additional parking can be found N and S of the Cathedral at various Forest Service picnic grounds, etc.
Browse More Classics in Pecos River Canyon
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Pecos River Canyon:
Featured Route For Pecos River Canyon
BETA PHOTO: Approach view of the Grandstand
View of the cheap seats, from the Grandstand.
|Comments on Pecos River Canyon
|By Randall Gann|
Jun 20, 2007
I'm not sure the term "excellent climbing" really applies to any of the Pecos River Valley Crags, but certainly not the cathedral. The climbs are short for the most part and often contrived and definitely not worthy of being advertised as quality climbing. Some of the rock is very good and some of the routes might be worthy if you were already in the Pecos, but the drive in from the interstate might be too far for anything more than novelty.
|By Karl Kiser|
Apr 1, 2008
There is a section on this climbing area in Marc Beverly's book Jemez Rock (2006) pp. 239-254. I agree that Cathedral near the road lacks location but the area offers a nice change for the hotter summer months.
|By Randy Carmichael|
From: Boulder, CO
May 10, 2008
Cathedral Rock is about 10.5 miles from the intersection of 66 and 63 in Pecos.
|By tom wezwick|
Nov 12, 2008
yes sir,,,I surley ditto Karls comments........
|By Karl Kiser|
Apr 17, 2012
Most of the routes at Pecos were put up by Tom Wezwick, Karl Kiser, Mark Thomas, Chris Kessler, Steve Hattenbach and Bryan Pletta during the years 2000-2005.