Quality of rock is very good for the first three pitches and then deteriorates to poor somewhat before the difficulty eases. Although sometimes sparse, protection is generally good for the first three pitches and becomes less so as one nears the top. The crux may be early in the fourth pitch although each pitch will get the attention of the 5.8 leader. See route marked on accompanying photo.
Note: I believe that the below route closely follows that of Mike Hill's guide. A slightly different version of the route can be found in a photo comment, courtesy of Marc Beverly.
Pitch 1: Start up the left-facing dihedral. Eventually, escape to the left and upward to a finger crack. Finish the short crack and then scramble right and up a scree slope to a ledge with several large trees and belay.
Pitch 2: Climb straight up from the ledge in a shallow crack to a small and relatively sharp horn (half a football). Step right, then ascend up and left to a wide but short crack just below a vegetated platform with a very small, very loose, and very dead tree (still there Oct 2008). From the platform, aim for the base of the dihedral which is about 45 feet up and 15 feet to climber's right. Bomber pro seems sparse in this section, and I have not found a very satisfying way. Perhaps there is better climbing on a parallel route to the climber's right that completely bypasses the vegetated platform. Belay 10 or so feet below the dihedral.
Pitch 3, an outstanding pitch. Work up to and then ascend the right facing dihedral with some good jamming until the crack ends. Finger-tip traverse rightward to a good short hand crack in a small left-facing book. Continue up the right face of the dihedral with cracks for descent protection. One can avoid an inset pillar of rocks that is loose by climbing just to the right of it. Traverse left to the original right-facing dihedral top arrive at a bolted belay.
- Marc Beverly indicates in the photo comment that it is just greater than a 70 meter rap from the top of pitch 3 to the top of pitch 1. Bailing from the top of pitch 3 may mean leaving gear at an intermediate rap station.
Pitch 4 and 5: These pitches are loose with often sparse protection. Continue straight up in the dihedral or chimney for 30 feet to a large chockstone which is turned to the right. Ascend the dihedral above and then traverse right just beneath a steep yellow section of wall. Continue right and then up following easy rock to the top. Belay options include: a) belay above the large chockstone to minimize stretch if the second should fall or b) belay at the end of the rope on easy terrain, possibly at the top depending on rope length.
- To start pitch 4, Marc Beverly identifies a variation to continuing up and right from the bolted belay in this photo comment. This felt like an improvement over the above in that the belayer is less likely to get bombed; but pro is equally sparse.
The quickest approach is probably to rap Pino Wall Route if one accepts that there are real issues with potential rock fall. See Pino Wall for details.
A less risky approach is to hike down the couloir. This may or may not take longer than rapping the route. See Pino Wall. For this approach and once down at the far west end of the base of the wall, traverse eastward along the base of the wall until finding an obvious, left-facing black-stained dihedral. This is the start of the route.
Lastly, if one raps License and a Visa then it is a reasonable scramble - by Sandia Mountain standards - to traverse over the saddle westward to the base of Pino Wall Route. However, I doubt any time is saved compared to hiking down the couloir immediately west of Pino Wall. See Pino Wall.
1 1/2 sets of nuts and cams up to 3 or 4 inches; a few small slider nuts or micro cams are useful; anchors at top of each pitch in order: large tree, gear, two bolts, gear, large tree.
Along with an approach and route description, another take on the protection is provided in a photo comment, courtesy of Marc Beverly.
Matt at the top of the outstanding pitch 3: "You'...
Matt on approach, after hitting the view point jus...
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