Muralla Grande Rock Climbing
|GPS:||35.215, -106.455 Google Map · Climbing Area Map|
|Page Views:||23,187 total · 158/month|
|Shared By:||George Perkins on Jan 22, 2006|
|Admins:||Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski|
DescriptionThe 800’ Muralla Grande is the most popular large formation for multi-pitch climbing in the Sandias. This massive SW-facing cliff face is easily seen from Albuquerque, standing just beneath the communications towers in upper Chimney Canyon. The rock wall boasts many long, quality routes from 4-7 pitches, including The Second Coming (the most popular multi-pitch 5.8 in the Sandias), Warpy Moople (a classic 5.9 with a somewhat runout “rite of passage” crux pitch for a 5.9 leader), Excitable Boys (a beautiful clean corner system and one of the most popular long 5.9s in the area), Little Yellow Jacket (5.11-, a great intro to Sandia climbs over 5.10), and Thunderbird (an adventurous 12- that’s invariably on the hit list those who seek out this grade). The rock quality is quite good (about as good as it gets in the Sandias), except for the top pitch of some of the climbs. The approach is fairly quick (~30 minutes) and on a well-established climbers' trail. Most climbs will be shaded early (I've often been shivering at the first belay), but go into full sun by late morning.
Although popular, Muralla Grande routes are a step up in seriousness & commitment compared to the shorter 1-2 pitch Sandia climbs off the La Luz trail and in Echo Canyon at the same grades. Over the years, many parties have reported having some routefinding difficulties on sections of climbs like Second Coming, Warpy Moople, and Little Yellow Jacket. Bailing off from most of these climbs will probably involve leaving gear behind and building intermediate rap anchors, followed by an unpleasant hike up the loose approach gully (so don’t bail!).
If you finish early and need more climbing, consider lowering in and climbing the various finishing pitches on the Second Coming headwall (great 5.8-5.10 cracks), or go over to the nearby Clandestine Wall.
Getting ThereFrom the North End of the crest parking lot, locate a prominent trail that skirts just around the fence (North Crest Trail). Follow it, as it slowly winds you down toward the limestone band near the top of the crest. This prominent trail continues along the limestone band for about 10 minutes or so, than you will come upon an intersection at a wooden sign. Take the climbers’ trail (Chimney Canyon Trail, unmarked) that angles to the left (it starts off initially level). Don’t take the trail that angles downhill more steeply from this junction; don’t continue north on the North Crest Trail.
The Chimney Canyon Trail contours its way to the south and drops through some minor limestone bands (don't take subsidiary trails that keep going south along the limestone band, drop down to the right). After 4 switchbacks it emerges at a flat area with aspen trees and tall grasses making the trail more obscure, and a trail junction. The straight ahead (to the South) trail branch goes down the correct approach gully (this appears less well traveled initially). The right trail branch (to the West) goes to Muralla Grande summit (You can take this one if you wish to leave anything at the summit where all the climbs end). If you go all the way to the Muralla Grande cliff-top, return back to the junction where you entered the aspen meadow-- if you try to take a shortcut, you’ll likely end up bushwhacking through spike bushes down the wrong (western) gully, which is much looser.
From the aspen meadow, the Chimney Canyon trail goes to the south, and soon drops down a steep, rocky, gully into Chimney Canyon. (The gully is loose enough that you want shoes, but doesn’t involve any scrambling or downclimbing.) You will see the prominent Chimney formation ahead. At the base of the gully, the Chimney Canyon trail passes to the right of the Chimney. Muralla Grande is the large face on your right. The first clean face on Muralla Grande is “Lawyers, Guns & Money”. Next is The Second Coming, which is directly on the South Face (and is in the sun for a good part of the day in fall and winter). Continue down and around the formation to the other climbs on the main southwest face.
It's also possible to rap in via "The Rapture" (3 rappels w/ 2 60m ropes), though I personally favor walking down the gully for various reasons.
Classic Climbing Routes at Muralla Grande
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season