> Albuquerque Are…
> Sandia Mountains
> La Cueva Canyon, Upper
If you look down from the limestone band atop the Sandia crest (hiking down the La Luz trail), into upper La Cueva Canyon, you will see a striking double summited formation dominating your view. Though it looks nothing like a thumb, unless viewed from the north. In the center of the formation a distinct corner system can be seen, which is the route, Aviary Ort Overhangs
. All of the routes on the east side will spend only the morning in the sun, so area does not not make a good fall/spring/winter climbing area. But, summertime temps on this face will likely be quite pleasant.
Note: These directions will take you to the center of the formation, where Aviary Ort Overhangs is.
Find the crest spur trail on the south side of the Sandia Crest parking lot, and follow it about 1/2 mile. Head down the La Luz trail, down several switch backs, and continuing down past a several talus slopes. After the talus slops, the trail will eventually reenter the trees. Find a faint trail at the next switchback that will head west through the woods. Following the trail, you will eventually come to a point where it is possible to scramble to the bottom of Aviery ort overhangs.
(Written by Bowe Ellis
. See comments.)
From the north summit follow the ridge line to the north until you reach a pronounced drop off. For the down climb option work your way off slightly to the right (northeast) down an easy slab to a prominent pine tree at the top of a steep gully. This route will look improbable. Use the tree to enter the gully for just a few feet then look to the right (north) to spot an easy ramp that cuts back across to the ridge line. If you find the correct route it's no worse than exposed 4th class.
Another option, from the ridge at the top of the steep section, go back uphill just a bit and work down the west side, cutting north and following a ramp to a tree riddled with slings. From here rap to easy ground below. We didn't check the distance but it's almost certainly more than 30 meters. Standard SE Ridge descent description:
by John Kear
From the top continue along the ridge heading south for 150ft. Turn right and down climb to a tree. Follow a nice ledge system down just below the S ridge of the Thumb. Continue scrambling down the S ridge to the col at the S end of the formation. Once you cut down on to the N side of the col walk hard right staying above the talus below. Keeping contouring around until above forested slopes skiers right of the boulder field. Once in the trees there is a rough climbers trail that will quickly bring you back to the La Luz trail 500 Ft below.
Routes from Left to Right
Thumb in winter
A view of "The Thumb". From this angle, you can (sort of) see how the formation gets it's name.
The Thumb as seen from Crossroads(5.10a) on Torreon.
A different view of the Thumb (from the NW).
Photo of The Thumb from the limestone band that surrounds the summit of the Sandia Crest.
The Thumb from the top of the Pulpit.
Northwest Ridge route, descending via the talus slope, to the la Luz trail (as seen from the upper la luz).