Elevation: 8,132 ft
GPS: 36.416, -106.198 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 45,762 total · 256/month
Shared By: Anthony Stout on Jan 20, 2006 with 4 Suggestions
Admins: Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski
Access Issue: COVID-19 New Mexico State Requirements Details

Description

Continuing up the road from the sport climbing area, is a ~100m high monolithic cliff that provides a good setting for traditional (gear-protected) climbing.

Its attributes include: lack of crowding, good access, interesting and solid rock, generally good protection, and that very rare commodity: high quality climbs at moderate difficulty levels. This is the perfect spot for a beginning climber to learn multi-pitch technique, with plenty of exposure to motivate mastering the art of placing protection. These are the "El Rito Trad" cliffs. (text copied from Gary Clark's online guide: lamountaineers.org/Elrito/t… )

See Gary Clark's online PDF guide for route details and an excellent topo.

There are two spots for camping at the parking area with established fire rings. 3G cell service with Verizon at parking & base of the rock.

Getting There


GOOGLE MAP DIRECTIONS FROM HIGHWAY 84: goo.gl/maps/Er17AeteGQ6pJPp79

At the NE end of El Rito, Highway 554 makes a 90 degree turn, turning SW or SE depending on your direction of travel. Forest Service 44 (FR44) continues off the pavement to the NE at this point. Zero your odometer and head up FR44.

Mile 1.2: Ignore the left turn onto FR248. Stay right.

Mile 3.7: Keep going straight on FR44, ignoring the left turn onto FR44A. At this junction is a parking area and some primitive camping near the trailhead for the El Rito Sport Area. Keep going straight on FR44.

Mile 4.3: Drop down to the left road - FR44B, which is significantly less substantial and probably unmarked. After this, you'll likely appreciate having high clearance and maybe four-wheel drive. Even so, with dry conditions and care, front-wheel drive vehicles with some clearance can typically drive FR44B.

In wet conditions or without a high-clearance vehicle, park as soon as practical on FR44B and hike the remaining ~1 mile of the road.

Mile 5.2: Do not pass through the gate indicating private property. Instead, turn into a hilly "parking lot" just before the gate on the right.

HIKING TO THE WALL:
Look for a cairn marking the trail just after the fire ring at the SE end of the parking area. The trad wall is roughly a quarter mile up a good trail. You can see the wall through the trees.

DESCENT OFF THE TOP TO THE NORTH:
Do not descend into the steep rocky gully at the north end of the wall! Instead, do the work to find the descend trail which will get you back down to the bottom via a very easy trail that skirts the rock at the north end of the formation. The best way to find this trail is to head straight up to the top of the ridge, then start looking for cairns on the ridge itself or a just a bit down on the east side. Follow the cairns north past the steep gully and continue all the way down and around back to the fallen tree which crosses the main trail coming from the parking lot. Take a left at the fallen tree to get to the base of the wall or right to get back to the parking lot.  If you end up in the steep gully by mistake, head up the gully and look for the cairns marking the descend trail.

DESCENT OFF THE TOP TO THE SOUTH:
From the top of the ridge, follow the cairns south. You'll descend into a steep gully that comes out immediately south of the Cave Woman route. There are several areas that require down climbing.

19 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at El Rito Traditional Area

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
 17
Cave Woman
Trad
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
 14
Gnarly
Trad 2 pitches
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a R
 10
Refritos
Trad
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 60
Packrat Dihedral
Trad 2 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 16
Pedernal Cracks
Trad
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 41
The Big "E"
Trad 2 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
 6
Swollen
Trad
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 5
Senile Superhero
Trad 3 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 11
Juniper Overhang
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 13
Bring Me a Bucket
Trad, Sport 2 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Cave Woman
 17
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c Trad
Gnarly
 14
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad 2 pitches
Refritos
 10
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a R Trad
Packrat Dihedral
 60
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad 2 pitches
Pedernal Cracks
 16
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad
The Big "E"
 41
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 2 pitches
Swollen
 6
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13 Trad
Senile Superhero
 5
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 3 pitches
Juniper Overhang
 11
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 2 pitches
Bring Me a Bucket
 13
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, Sport 2 pitches
More Classic Climbs in El Rito Traditional Area »

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