The Box climbing areas Rock Climbing
Looking West from the Socorro Box.
This area has a series of cliffs and boulders of mixed-quality rhyolite. Nice area for winter climbing and bouldering on days with mild winter temperatures. Summer can be hot and buggy, but shade can be found and many sport climbing faces are very pleasant in the mornings. One can find a plethora of moderate sport routes in the 5.10- 5.11 range, most of which are bolted, though some are mixed and require the occasional gear placement.
Though initial impression of rock quality may be disappointing, much of the rock is actually quite solid (and it varies depending on the area you are climbing at). Some of the looser faces have some routes that have had holds reinforced with glue, and some were chipped.
Well the climbing is fun, the bouldering is spectacular, particularly up at Alf Rig.
The best camping here is south of the cattle guard, south of the parking for the southern areas. There is a pulloff to the left that is sheltered from the wind and gets good morning sun.
Box can be broken up into four major areas to ease navigation:
Northern Box areas are accessed from the first large parking area. This parking area has a toilet, trash container, and information kiosk. Areas served by this parking include Red Wall, Waterfall Wall, Streambed, Dirt Wall, and Wine Wall.
Southern Box areas are mostly accessed by following the road south through the wash and up and over the hill. There is a good trail serving Major Wall, Alcohol Wall, Pocket Change, etc. on the northern end of this parking. Another trail on the south end of the parking near the cattle guard heads to Unbeatable Boulder, Tres Hermanans, Harmonica Convention, etc. Please don't park in the turnaround spot and please use the trails as this is a delicate environment.
Spook parking is accessed by turning off US60 before The Box.
The western Box areas generally are more scattered and require a bit more hiking. These include Alf Rig, Inflatable Hitler Wall, Hidden Wall, Dog Ball Banana Wall, and Mesquite BBQ Wall. There is no general parking and the trails are faint or overgrown.
Rack: 10 draws, set of wires, and a single set of Camalots up to #3 should be fine. Though, just a set of quick draws will get you up a most of the routes.
- The Socorro Bouldering Guide: infohost.nmt.edu/~bob/boulder_...
- An seemingly abandoned but promising guide to both the boulders and the cliffs: enchantedtower.com enchantedtower.com/PrintDrafts...
Rock Climbing New Mexico by Dennis R. Jackson. Incomplete and inaccurate, but currently the only in-print guide to the area.
"The Enchanted Tower, Sport Climbing Socorro and Datil, New Mexico" by Salomon Maestas and Matthew A. Jones, 1993. (Out of print)
Find Socorro on Interstate 25 (about 1 hour south of Albuquerque). From there head west on US highway 60, and drive about 7 miles. Keep your eyes peeled left as you cross a bridge (you are driving over the bridge that goes over the canyon), and you will see The Box to your left. Just after crossing that bridge turn left onto a dirt road. You will see a sign for The Box. Follow the road over and then down the hill about 0.25 miles, take a left, and you will find parking for the northern Box areas. The southern and western Box areas are about a mile further down the road to the south.
Weather station 5.7 miles from here
308 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',8],['3 Stars',87],['2 Stars',152],['1 Star',51],['Bomb',0]
Classic Climbing Routes in The Box climbing areas
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Box climbing areas
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Box climbing areas:
Featured Route For The Box climbing areas
Bat out of Hell 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a NM
: Socorro Area
: ... : Major Wall
Climb a broken intermittant crack system with a lot of dicey lay backs and big moves. Once past the 5th bolt get a great rest and make easier moves up past one more bolt to the anchors. Very sequential with a surprise move before the end of the difficult climbing, makes this a difficult onsight. May be wet after rain....[more] Browse More Classics in NM
BETA PHOTO: Geology of the Socorro climbing areas
BETA PHOTO: Overview map of bouldering areas at Box with roads...
BETA PHOTO: Overview of Socorro Climbing areas (The Box, Minor...
Apr 8, 2008
A lot of these routes were put up quite a while back...many of them are listed in my 1993 guidebook. I think they were put up before sport development really turned into an art. And it shows. Non-existent anchors, poorly placed anchors, too many shared anchors, too many unprotected bouldery starts, too many ill-considered bolt placements. It kind of takes the gloss off what SHOULD be a really fun area. The rock is great, the movement is good, but the route development is...not so good. I've never considered retro-bolting to be a topic even worthy of discussion, but this area has made me wonder. I think if I had just discovered this area and were doing the development, I could make it much better. It's not a big deal but I just thought I'd lob it out there. During the 3 days I was at Box I never saw any other climbers. I've never had that happen at Datil (which is not very far away). Is the quality of development part of the reason ?
From: Denver, CO
Sep 18, 2008
Yes, I think that the way this area was developed is one of the reasons why this area sees so little traffic. While there are many good / great routes here, there are also many that are missing anchors, need supplemental gear, or were just bolted poorly (Spook Canyon for instance). One example is Hurt Me Not, this climb never saw any traffic prior to it's retrobolting, now their is commonly chalk on it. While I was disappointed at the additional bolts as it takes away from the FA and the few subsequent ascents, I never led it until the extra bolts were added, and it is a single pitch route in a mostly sport climbing area.
Another reason for lack of traffic is that this area needs a good guidebook. The 1993 guidebook is far better and more accurate than the error ridden new Falcon guide, where many routes in the guide either don't exist, are in the wrong location, or aren't mentioned.
From: ABQ, NM
Mar 16, 2009
It also really depends on the time of year that you visit Socorro. If Datil is climable in most peoples opinions, yes most will head to the Tower, but if you visit in the middle of winter on a weekend I would be absolutely shocked if you did not see others out unless you were purposely trying to avoid other by avoiding the sun. One of Socorros most redeeming qualities is that when everything else is too cold to climb routes Socorro is still generally pleasent.
In addition, a handful of routes are getting "fixed" from time to time, and yes the Falcon guide is terrible, incomplete and inacurrate but is the only guide currently availible. It probably has fewer than half the routes and none of the bouldering which is quite good in places.
By erik rieger
From: Ridgway, CO
Jul 21, 2015
This area deserves more credit than it's given. Quality bouldering and fun routes on pretty good rock with decent temperatures throughout the cold months and easy camping.