The Tunnel provides high-grade sport climbing on generally mediocre limestone, in a beautiful desert setting. This crag has been popular among Alamogordo locals for decades, but has only recently caught the attention of the general populace. Grades range from 5.7 to 5.14a, however, don't expect to enjoy the climbing unless you climb at least 5.11c. The crag really excels in the 5.12+ - 5.13 grades. With more than 15 routes 5.13 and harder, the Tunnel offers the highest concentration of hard climbing in the state.
Like many NM crags, the Tunnel is an acquired taste. Cliffs become covered in dust and grime after summer rains, and the lack of traffic ensures that almost all of the routes provide a "First Ascent" vibe each time you visit. It's common for projecting climbers to clean their objectives from rappel prior to attempting. Others complain of the repetitive nature of the crags slopey crimps, the ubiquitous cliff-base graffiti, or the noise pollution common to such road-side crags. However, if you can disregard these drawbacks, the Tunnel has a lot to offer.
The Tunnel is located entirely on Lincoln National Forest. Occasionally the forest closes due to fire danger, as in the late Spring/Summer of 2006. Additionally, as with any road-side crag, be extremely cautious not to knock rocks and debris onto the highway.
Note on Star-Ratings: For my own purposes, I've decided that 3 stars is the limit for this crag, due to the stank rock. So if I give a route here 3 stars, that's as good as it gets!
The Tunnel is approximately 10 miles NE of Alamogordo on Highway 82. Begin just North of Alamogordo at the junction of highway 54 and 82. Head East on 82 for 7 miles. The road winds up into the mountains towards Cloudcroft, passing several small limestone cliffbands. About 5.5 miles up the road, a dirt road appears on the right (south) side of the road. There is ultra-ghetto free camping down this road. At about 7 miles a signed pullout appears on the left (N) side of the road, about 200 yards before the road enters a tunnel. There is only one tunnel on this road, so its pretty hard to get confused. Please park only in the official pullout on the north side of the highway. The "Sunny Side" crags are located to the North of the highway, and the "Shady Side" crags are on the South side of the highway.
This excellent line is likely the best 12a on the Sunny Side, climbing aesthetic, high quality orange limestone. The route begins with a difficult, thin crimping boulder problem to reach obvious jugs 8 feet up. Alternatively, if you're tall (or have mad-hops), you can always go for the 'jump start'. A few moderate moves lead to more thin crimps, then a powerful, long reach from an undercling to jugs below the 3rd bolt. From here wander left to a huge jug at the base of a left-facing dihedral...[more]Browse More Classics in NM
I dont know if this is the right place to ask, but here it goes. Does anyone know if the tunnel has been reopened. we climbed out there a few weeks ago, we didn't see any signs posted and were completely unaware that it was closed. we're planning on heading out again this upcomming weekend, but if it's still closed we'll have to go elswhere.
Can someone tell me where there is some reasonably decent camping without ATV's and loud partiers somewhat close to The Tunnel? All it has to be is a flat spot to prepare meals and sleep. No amentities required. Thanks