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For an easy 1-pitch climb in the Sandias, the SE Corner (SE Ridge) has it all: great exposure, fun moves, and a wonderful summit. (Seriously. I can't think of many individual pitches 5.7 or under in the Sandias that are as good as this one.)
From the west side of the Cake and Candle, climb up to the notch between the two towers. The Candle is to your left. Start on the Candle by hand traversing to its right-hand edge. Follow the crack system on the exposed arete, passing 2 pitons. There are a couple of loose blocks to be careful with. An awkward mantle near the top is the crux, maybe a little hard for the grade and hard to climb with dignity. Easy from there to the tiny summit. Downclimb the last 10' to the rappel anchor.
Rappel down the south face from a slung block (90') and/or a bolted anchor.
Standard rack to 3" or 4". [Bolts have been added to this climb since I posted it. I haven't climbed it since, but apparently not very much trad gear is needed any more. Aug 2015]
Aug 31, 2015
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
This is the view you get of the Candle while hiking down the talus field
I thought this route was fun, but the commitment level involved was higher than I thought it would be based on the description. Be prepared for a 1.5 hour approach, because coming down the (steep) hill and across the talus takes a while. Also, I didn't feel comfortable scrambling up to the notch because of the incredibly loose rock in the gully (maybe I missed something), so we ended up using a rope to get up there. I was surprised to find that almost the entire route was bolted (I only placed one piece, a 0.5 cam, on the whole pitch). The webbing that has been used in the past for rappelling was badly sun-damaged, so I used my own cordelette and added a second non-locking carabiner for the rappel. Finally, the climbing felt harder than 5.6...maybe more like 5.8. I thought the route was fun, and the exposure was incredible; but be prepared to hike quite a bit for a single pitch of climbing.