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Areas in El Rito Sport Area

45 Degree Boulder 0 / 0 / 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Balcony, The 0 / 12 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 12
Beer Block 0 / 12 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 12
Beer Boulder 0 / 0 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Big Pine Wall 0 / 8 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
Bozo Boulder 0 / 0 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Cellar Wall 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Ed Woody 0 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
El Norte 0 / 12 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 12
Front Porch, The 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Gnar Wall 0 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
Mad Max Boulder 0 / 0 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Pirate's Wall 0 / 12 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 12
Rad Wall 0 / 11 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 11
Schoolhouse Slab 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Small Boulder 0 / 0 / 0 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Super Slab 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Training Wall 0 / 3 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Wall of Mediocrity 0 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Walt's Wall (aka The Outsider Wall) 1 / 7 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 7

Description [Suggest Change]

Fun, vertical to overhanging conglomerate matrix of metamorphosed sand and mud with inclusions of smooth, rounded cobbles of all sizes. The cobbles, and the holes they leave when they fall out of the matrix, form excellent holds that allow relatively moderate climbing for such steep rock. Fully overhanging routes can be below 5.11, and anything less than vertical will probably clock in at 5.8 or below. All routes are sport bolted, so you can concentrate on the climbing instead of the protection. Text copied from Gary Clark's online guide.
No toilet paper fairy

Getting There [Suggest Change]

El Rito is located about 50 miles north of Santa Fe (please see a road map to find El Rito). From the east end of the village, turn north on Forest Road 44 (dirt). Drive 3.75 miles from the pavement, and park to the left just after the sign "Cañada del Potrero." Camping is available at several locations up this spur road, which ends in about a half-mile. Now walk across the road to a trail paralleling it headed south. The trail crosses a bridge, then turns south up the sidehill to the crags. (~15 min.)
The primary parking area is relatively small. Please park head-in and save space for other vehicles.

More Beta

[Suggest Change]
Gary Clark created free PDF guides for the El Rito sport and trad climbing areas. Gary has moved away from New Mexico and Jason Halladay has adopted the guide updates. The most recent update is from 2014 but is still quite valuable and helpful for navigating the areas.

Pack Out Your Used Toilet Paper (Leave No Trace ethics)

[Suggest Change]
It is imperative climbers pack out their used toilet paper. The sport climbing area is very concentrated. The steep, loose slopes make it more difficult to find a place to use the bathroom resulting in some very popular "poop spots." Unfortunately. there is a large amount of used toilet paper floating around these popular spots. This is gross and disrespectful to the area and other climbers. Do your part--put your used toilet paper (and poop for bonus points) in a baggie and take it home for disposal.

No toilet paper fairy

123 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

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Classic Climbing Routes at El Rito Sport Area

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 115
Super Arete
Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 70
Walt's Wall Waltz
Sport
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 122
Scurvy Dog
Sport
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 95
Clast Action
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 82
Boltaneer
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 79
Blackballed
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 90
Balls to the Wall
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 67
Blackbeard
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 121
Cobble Wobble
Sport
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 54
Full Sail
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 46
Jug-or-Naut
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 38
Walking the Plank (aka The Buzz)
Sport
5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a
 99
Bolting Barbie
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 40
Stroke Me
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 74
Crack Attack
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Super Arete Super Slab
 115
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Walt's Wall Waltz Walt's Wall (aka The…
 70
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Scurvy Dog Pirate's Wall
 122
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Clast Action Super Slab
 95
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Boltaneer Super Slab
 82
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Blackballed Gnar Wall
 79
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Balls to the Wall Gnar Wall
 90
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Blackbeard Pirate's Wall
 67
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Cobble Wobble Big Pine Wall
 121
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Full Sail Super Slab
 54
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Sport
Jug-or-Naut Balcony
 46
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Walking the Plank (aka The… Pirate's Wall
 38
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Bolting Barbie Rad Wall
 99
5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a Sport
Stroke Me Rad Wall
 40
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Crack Attack Rad Wall
 74
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
More Classic Climbs in El Rito Sport Area »

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Photos

Jerry Cagle
Tucson, AZ
Jerry Cagle   Tucson, AZ
Unless you have titanium testicles bring a stick clip. B1 is consistently well off the deck. This is an odd concept for my feeble mind to grasp. Why create a route with a serious groundfall risk on the start, then bolt the remainder into submission?

For purposes of comparison: If these routes were in AZ or CO they would usually get a full number grade less than the online guide gives for the difficulty.

Kudos to the developer(s) for the excellent lower out anchors. All sport routes would benefit from a similar setup. I'm sure the cost was not minimal.

Overall this is one of the best sport areas I've seen for both the average as well as the elite climber: Beautiful surroundings, nice approach trail, unique rock with interesting features. Clark's online guide is a gem. Well done Gary...! Jul 4, 2006
Monomaniac
Morrison, CO
Monomaniac   Morrison, CO  
"If these routes were in AZ or CO they would usually get a full number grade less"

Apparently you've never been to Shelf Road (CO) or Jacks Canyon (AZ) :) Nov 27, 2006
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
Gary Clark's naclassics.com website is no more but never fear! The online content from his site moved to the LA Mountaineers website including the excellent El Rito Sport guide. Jun 25, 2007
a full number grade, come on now. I think these routes are graded pretty similar to rifle, Where in Az has steep climbing like this besides "Dry Creek"? Sep 2, 2007
ZachS00
Denver, CO
ZachS00   Denver, CO
How will the temps be in mid-March? Feb 18, 2009
LeeAB Brinckerhoff   ABQ, NM  
It should be OK in March. The cliffs mostly face west so if it is cool you can just get a lazy start and climb in the afternoon. I doubt it will be too warm to climb in the sun but it can be hot in the summers forcing you to find shade after the sun comes around. I would guess 60-70 for day time highs but pretty cold in the mornings.

A word of caution, try to avoid driving in after dark on a Friday or Saturday night as the turn off onto the dirt road is a local drinking hang at these times and bad things have been know to happen. Feb 18, 2009
ZachS00
Denver, CO
ZachS00   Denver, CO
Lee -

Seriously? That's somewhat unnerving. Thanks for the weather beta though. Feb 23, 2009
LeeAB Brinckerhoff   ABQ, NM  
Yeah several years ago some friends driving in after dark on a Friday night lost every window in their Tundra to a barage of rocks. I think if you are camping it's fine though as you are several miles in and the locals seem to just hang at the turn off. Feb 23, 2009
ZachS00
Denver, CO
ZachS00   Denver, CO
Right on, we'll take notice, thanks. Feb 24, 2009
While I don't doubt the rock throwing incident, that is by no means the norm as I've driven in many a late Friday night and have never even seen a party.

A full number grade? Seriously. Often, the ratings seem off by a letter, but never more.

If the ratings are so soft, why the stick clip? In all seriousness though, it is certainly not necessary to have a stick clip for an enjoyable visit. Mar 4, 2009
manuel rangel
Arizona
manuel rangel   Arizona
Nice area and well worth a visit. The routes were fun and graded close enough to true for me. Very user friendly. The rock reminded me of a couple cobblestone areas in Spain. Nov 11, 2009
jauernigg
edwards, co
jauernigg   edwards, co
had a fun trip there, felt the ratings were soft, and never felt the need for a stick clip Jun 18, 2010
first of all, the routes here are no more soft or hard than anywhere else in the states. Ive climbed at shelf, the red, ten sleep, eldo, rifle, and many other places. every area has its hard routes and its sandbags..cant we stop arguing about the grade and just have some fun? Feb 1, 2012
Spent last week here! First time! Really fun! Tons of great moderates! Recommend the Rad Wall! And Ojo Caliente hot springs rest day! (though try to go mon-thur, it's more expensive on weekends)
Great online guide! Would love more information on any further sport developments in the area. Apr 23, 2012
Just uploaded 12 new sport routes to the El Rito Sport Area. Look under El Norte for location and descriptions. Some of the routes still need more cleaning, and we will hopefully be able to get back this fall to work on the trial. Enjoy. Sep 18, 2013
zacharygraham
Manhattan,NY
zacharygraham   Manhattan,NY
Came out here last weekend. It seems that the "Cañada del Potrero" sign was gone but it's pretty obvious where you should park. The grades seemed right on and overall the rock was solid. The only issue was a few loose hangers on the anchors on the Schoolhouse Slab but we tightened them up with a Leatherman. Overall, it was nice and a relatively easy hike to get there. Oct 8, 2013
munge  
Yeah, I did not see a sign yesterday, so didn't know how to orient myself to the crags. Found bolts down by creek at south end. Dec 25, 2013
This page is kind of funny, probably the most I've seen grade argued about on this site.

I went to El Rito for the first time last week and in my opinion it felt like gym grading. So yes, a little soft for your average crag, but not too far off.

I got on a 5.10b for warm up thinking it was a 5.8 and thought it was a little stout for a 5.8 but not by much. Also sent my first two 5.12s.

Ultimately it's all very relative though, to location and individual style/preferrence of climbing.

Who cares though? this place is beautiful and fun. Shut up and climb! Jun 18, 2017

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