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Areas in Enchanted Tower

Captain Hook's Grotto 0 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Enchanted Tower, The 0 / 22 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 22
Frog Prince 0 / 17 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 17
Giants Molars, The 0 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
Humpty Dumpty Wall 0 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Land Beyond, The 0 / 19 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 19
Midnight Pumpkin Wall 0 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
Mother Goose Wall 0 / 10 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 10
Pogue's Cave Area 0 / 18 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 18
Rapunzel Wall 0 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
Renaissance Wall 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Sleeping Beauty Wall 1 / 10 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 11
Ugly Duckling Boulder 0 / 3 / 3 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Access Issue: Thompson Canyon Details

Description [Suggest Change]

Beautiful sport climbing on amazing clastic flow (or welded tuff, I am not sure, see the below comment!). In my opinion, this is the best sport climbing in New Mexico. Note that the guidebook that exists for this area is certainly worth the purchase, it has great topos and directions to the climbs and areas.

An excellent history of Socorro-area climbing, including the Enchanted Tower, is worth a read.

Keeping Enchanted Tower Clean: PACK OUT YOUR POO! [Suggest Change]

This is an important topic that is worthy of discussion with more climbers visiting enchanted tower. The area surrounding enchanted tower is a beautiful one and I'm sure everyone agrees, we would like to keep it that way.

An ever increaing amount of human waste is being found surrounding the camping area and even at the base of the crags (disgusting!). The idea of a pit toilet has been discussed. However, for various reasons, it sounds as if this is currently not an option.

The use of Wag Bags or RestStop2 bags are an ideal solution! Or, and alternative might be a bucket with a lid and plastic kitchen garbage bags. Put the bags in the bucket like you would a regular garbage bin, do your business in the bag, tie it up and put the lid on. You can even add litter or some other liquid absorbing media.

Used Wag Bags or RestStop2 bags can be disposed of with regular trash, such as a dumpster as you pass through Datil on your way back to Albuquerque.

For more on this, please see the discussion below or here:
Enchanted Tower: Are we our own worst enemy?

No toilet paper fairy

Getting There

[Suggest Change]
For many years climbers enjoyed privileged, short and easy access to Thompson Canyon and the Enchanted Tower via a crossing through a private ranch south of the Tower. Unfortunately, continued abuse of this privileged access by both climbers and other land users forced the ranch caretakers to close this access. As of April 2013 the standard access to the Tower is via what used to be known as the "alternative" access. The directions here reflect this new standard.

Standard Access:
Access to the Enchanted Tower is via a long, rough road through Thompson Canyon/Davenport Lookout. High clearance highly recommended. The following directions are provided by Jason Halladay, May 2013.

From the intersection of Highway 60 and Highway 12 in Datil, NM, drive 9 miles west on Highway 60 to a signed turn at the dirt Forest Road 6. Turn right on Forest Road 6 and drive 2.8 miles north on FR6, past the now-defunct Mojave Academy buildings, to Forest Road 59. Use caution on this stretch of road as two new cattle gates have been added as of July 2014. In particular, the first gate, about a quarter mile from highway 60, is a barbed wire and wooden posts gate with no reflectors. It's nearly invisible at night! To this point the road is good dirt road. Turn right on FR 59.

The road quickly gets steeper and rougher as it ascends to the Davenport Lookout. Just before the Davenport Lookout, below a large tower, take the road to the right that quickly descends into Thompson Canyon and turns into Thompson Canyon Road. The distance from FR6 to Thompson Canyon Road is 2.9 miles.

Continue on the occasionally-rough Thompson Canyon Road, past The Land Beyond, for 4.5 miles to The Enchanted Tower area.

From Highway 60 this approach takes 45 to 60 minutes. High clearance is highly recommended. A Subaru Outback or similar will do OK with careful driving.

Previous, privileged access that is no longer open:
This information is left here for historical purposes. As of April 2013 this access is no longer a viable option. Please do not attempt to use this access and further damage the reputation of climbers. This access was lost due to many issues including:
  • Arriving after dark despite sign clearly stating no entry after dark. Seriously NEVER drive on the ranch road after dark! Camp at the Datil Well Campground outside of Datil and drive in in the morning.
  • Parking on the private land blocking the road maintenance equipment
  • Littering and/or throwing lit cigarette butts onto the grass
  • Breaking down or otherwise seeking assistance from the ranch caretaker at late hours
  • Unattended campfires
  • Accessing forest land during Stage III fire restrictions
  • Shooting at cattle and cutting fences
  • Leaving gates wide open
  • Improper disposal of human waste
  • Wear on the road due to excessive driving speeds on ranch land

Historical access
Access to Enchanted Tower via the dirt road off HW 60 is granted by the ranch manager and can be revoked! Please be courteous:

This road is private property for the next 1.5 miles. Please respect the restrictions below. If you do not, permission to use the road will likely be revoked.

Timing - This road is closed for through traffic at all the following times:
  • [From 1 September to 30 January]
  • All public holidays (including adjacent Mondays and Fridays); and
  • At any time after dark.
  • The owner may temporarily close it at other times. Please respect temporary signs.

Use of road – When using the private road:
  • You do so at your own risk. It is not maintained and, for example, is unsuitable for passenger cars.
  • No RVs or other heavy vehicles are permitted.
  • Do not exceed 15 mph.
  • Leave gates as you find them (open or closed).
  • [Remove all waste, including human waste].

If going from Albuquerque, head South on I-25 to Socorro, NM. From there go west on Highway 60 for about about 1 hour. Pass through the town of Datil, continue 5.3 miles (and 0.9 miles past mile marker 73), and turn right past the guardrail.

Go on a dirt road, through the gate, and head past a field to your right and the slope of a mountain on your left.

Continue down the dirt road towards the ranch house, and turn left at the metal gate just before the ranch house. Sign in there. After entering the gate, drive on the dirt road for about ten minutes. The tower will be obvious. There is camping on the left and a day lot to your right, in front of the tower. Out of courtesy to those who are camping, please park in the day lot if you are day tripping.


[Suggest Change]
East to West, or right to left as you see them from the road.

- The Giants Molars

- Frog Prince: Many good routes from 5.10b to 5.HARD

- Rapunzel Wall: Nice beginners wall. This and Mother Goose wall are great for beginning leaders. Bolts can be a bit high and the cruxes are at the start.

- The Enchanted Tower: The namesake of the place; beautiful. Routes from 5.11b to 5.13a.

- Humpty Dumpty Wall

- Sleeping Beauty Wall: Nice selection of 10s and 11s.

- Captain Hook's Grotto

- Midnight Pumpkin Wall

- Ugly Duckling Boulder

- Pogue's Cave Area: A number of great 10s and 11s.

- Mother Goose Wall: Largest selection of beginner routes at the tower. Again, a good wall for the aspiring leader.

- Renaissance Wall: Only three routes on this wall, one being the hardest at Datil at 5.13+.

- The Land Beyond: Continue driving down the road to this one. About 1.5 miles west, past the main tower area. A few 10s but a great selection of .11 and .12 routes.


[Suggest Change]
- The Enchanted Tower-Pockets Full O' Fun by Eric Fazio-Rhicard & Guy Agee (2003, E Squared Enterprises)
- Now defunct original online guide snapshot from October 2009 via wayback machine.
- Dr. Topo also has an online PDF guidebook. Go into the website ( and go into the miniguides section, and click on New Mexico.…
- Rock Climbing: New Mexico by Dennis Jackson
- Cibola National Forest updates and closure notices (Look for Magdalena Ranger District information for the Enchanted Tower)

128 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: Enchanted Tower Change
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Classic Climbing Routes at Enchanted Tower

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Freddie Prince Jr
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Cheshire Cat
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Tarred and Feathered
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Ooey Gooey
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Pogue's Arete
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Sleeping Beauty
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Once Upon a Time
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Golden Stairs
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Flotsam & Jetsam
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Freddie Prince Jr Frog Prince
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Cheshire Cat Sleeping Beauty Wall
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Tarred and Feathered Sleeping Beauty Wall
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Ooey Gooey Pogue's Cave Area
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Pogue's Arete Pogue's Cave Area
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Grendel Enchanted Tower > N (Left) Face
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Sleeping Beauty Sleeping Beauty Wall
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Once Upon a Time Enchanted Tower > N (Left) Face
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Golden Stairs Enchanted Tower > South/Southeast (Righ…
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Technowitch Enchanted Tower > N (Left) Face
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Flotsam & Jetsam Enchanted Tower > South/Southeast (Righ…
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Rumplestiltskin Enchanted Tower > N (Left) Face
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Jabberwocky Enchanted Tower > N (Left) Face
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Shipwrecked Enchanted Tower > South/Southeast (Righ…
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
Goliath Enchanted Tower > South/Southeast (Righ…
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c Sport
More Classic Climbs in Enchanted Tower »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season
In a conversation with Adam Read (Tower first acensionist and geologist at NM Tech) Adam stated that The Tower is actually a clastic flow and not welded tuff. I write this just for info and not to argue anything. Maybe if Adam ever reads this he can comment further. Mar 10, 2006
Morrison, CO
Monomaniac   Morrison, CO  
Anyone been out to the tower recently? I'm curious about the road conditions with respect to all of the snow we've gotten.

Thanks Jan 30, 2007
My buddy and I took a spring break tour down south with the intentions of going to Mexico. We took a wrong turn at Albuquerque, and ended up in enchanted tower. Some of the coolest pockets, crappy road entry, and a New Mexico sunset kept us there for another week...Worth every second of it. The caves are rifle like but not rifle grade. Very few people and a lot more routes to be discovered but not bolted. Amazing! Dec 11, 2008
I was wondering if anyone climbs here during the winter months. I saw that is at 8000 ft I'm looking at hitting this place up in mid january but with all the snow lately Im kinda worried if its worth it? Dec 17, 2008
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
Hey Devin, I've not heard of anyone climbing here in winter. In a typical winter you'd probably need to snowshoe or ski on the road beyond the ranch house. I'm not sure about this but it certainly wouldn't surprise me. Then, of course, that would lead to parking near the ranch house which wouldn't be cool with the owners.
Also, the routes generally face west which would mean some very chilly climbing for much of the day until the sun came around.
If you're in the area in January, the climbing closer to The Box Climbing Areas would be a much better bet.
That said, I live quite far north from the Tower so I'm by no means an expert. Dec 18, 2008
Thanks for the info Jason. I'm also from Los, but go to school in las Cruces so I was hoping to hit up the tower on my way down in jan. but Soccoro probably would be a safer bet. Hopefully the snow will clear enough that i can climb a bit while I'm up here. Dec 18, 2008
I called the number listed above(520-326-1449) to see about the gate code,this isn't the number to stoneage gym, its to the lady who publishes the datil guide. She said there isn't a lock onthe gate anymore. Jul 9, 2009
Jason Hundhausen
Bozeman, MT
Jason Hundhausen   Bozeman, MT
augie: Could not agree with you more. TP is all over the place. At a very minimum, dig deep and burn the TP (make sure the fire's OUT!) or, an even better solution is to bring Wag Bags and take it out with you - there are tons of nice, convenient trash bins on the highway back to Magdalena to drop it off in. See this discussion for more: Enchanted Tower: Are we our own worst enemy? Aug 17, 2009
Anthony Stout
Albuquerque, NM
Anthony Stout   Albuquerque, NM  
This is a good and necessary discussion.

The idea of wag bags = a good one in my opinion. When I get around to it, I will include a link to this discussion and add some comments to the area description. Aug 19, 2009
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
Great idea about adding some info to the main page about Wag Bags and/or Restop 2 bags, Anthony. I never go to the Tower without them and bring enough for my friends. Super convenient to use (easier than any other option, really) and there is a public dumpsters area right in Datil so there's really no reason to not use these there. Let's spread the word and encourage the use of these bags at ET. Aug 19, 2009
Jason Hundhausen
Bozeman, MT
Jason Hundhausen   Bozeman, MT
I would like to think that most (some?) people that climb at the Tower are interested in keeping it clean. WagBags/RestStop2 bags are an ideal solution - aside from the expense and having to go purchase them, which may deter some. For those not up to such a monumental challenge, an alternative is to use a bucket (2-gallon?) with a lid and plastic kitchen garbage bags. Put the bags in the bucket like you would a regular garbage bin, do your bizness in the bag, tie it up and put the lid on. You can even add litter or some other liquid absorbing media to the bag if you're wanting to get fancy, or just do that half outside the bucket. Works like a charm and sitting on the bucket can be pretty comfy for the more enduring (pumpy, in climber terms) efforts... Aug 20, 2009
Thanks Jason, perhaps that information on the introduction page will help. I think donated wag bags would help too. ON another note, perhaps we could encourage people to camp at the datil well campgound as well? I know this has become the preferable alternative to some ABQ climbers and it makes some sense. The toilets are already there and they are only 15 minutes away. Maybe a mention of this in the intro as well. I am sure that some people would rather do this than pack out their poo. Or at least I hope so. Sep 2, 2009
Tom R
Denver, CO
Tom R   Denver, CO
Just went and bought one of these ( ) for my trip to ET. Cheap and simple. Sep 4, 2009
Anthony Stout
Albuquerque, NM
Anthony Stout   Albuquerque, NM  
Augie - Probably not. I would much rather camp at the tower campground than at Datil well, as I am sure the majority of climbers would as well. Nothing like being right at the crag when you wake up in the morning. There are few places that is an option.

If you have never used one of those wag bags it's really not all that bad. Seriously. Everything is quite contained. I recommend giving it a whorl.

Tom brought up another good option, the luggable loo. It's a 5 gallon bucket with a lid on it. I also found that you can pick up bags for it at Wall-Mart. They can go into the trash can on your way home. The nice thing is it's all contained into a bucket and you just dump the bucket out. Sep 4, 2009
Tom R
Denver, CO
Tom R   Denver, CO
Just gave the Luggable Loo it's maiden voyage to the Tower. I wish I had bought one of these years ago. It's more comfortable than squatting and more convenient than digging a hole. The lid snaps down to hold a wag bag firmly in place and the bag is easy to change. I paid $16 for the bucket and lid. Bags are a bit expensive ($2.95), but they are biodegradable. I plan on putting a sicker on "Lou" (I've named him) from everywhere he goes, but I could not find any stickers in Datil or Magdalena. If anyone knows of a sticker representing the area, I would love to get a hold of one. Sep 7, 2009
What is the "Season" a the tower? It is not noted above. Sep 18, 2009
Season is all through the fall and spring. Particularly good in the fall, when temps are perfect, winds low, and leaves turning.Fall's particulaly good for sending. Sep 19, 2009
LeeAB Brinckerhoff   ABQ, NM  
Depending on the weather Datil could be good, though you will want to climb in the sun for sure. Remember that Datil is somewhere around 8,000 feet, but if the sun is out and the wind is calm.

I know people who have climbed at the tower in December but it is more of a local thing since you can just go when the weather allows. You would definitely be taking a chance with a road trip in November. Also most routes only receive afternoon sun, so unless you are wanting to get on the two routes on the Renissance wall your days will be short.

If you do go I would recommend being willing to move to Socorro, Alamogordo (Tunnel) or Last Chance where it is easier to climb in the sun. Nov 16, 2009
I read the mention of packing out waste and thought id share a product I use. Its called a Biffy Bag and it is far superior to the Wag Bag and Reststop systems. It does not require a bucket or commode and comes with everything you need in a little package. It has a triple sealed puncture proof containment bag which prevents all odor and chance of leaking. WONDERFUL product I recommend to everyone. The rammifications of human waste are seriously effecting these beautiful areas we love so much so I ask everyone to address this matter more seriously. Mar 18, 2010
Tim Kuss
Durango, CO
Tim Kuss   Durango, CO
Just wondering if anyone more local to the Tower than me has considered replacing all the time bomb bolts and hangers that exist on nearly every route there? Beware. Many recalled SMC hangers. Many lower grade Redhed style bolts. Rusty. Crap. Never mind the missing hanger on Rumplestiltskin. May 1, 2011
J. Albers
J. Albers   Colorado
I would second Tim Kuss' comment about hardware updates. I noticed more than a few bolts (on Shipwrecked for e.g.) that are from the mid-nineties and should really be replaced. May 2, 2011
El Paso, Texas USA
Lowell   El Paso, Texas USA
I HAD A BLAST....but

I wasn't impressed with the 30 year old SMC bolt hangers. Also clipped some odd questionable chains with hundreds of rusted washers and lowering on a single ancient carabiner is so 1980's.

I'd be willing on donating hangers etc. to locals if need be. I'll even help do the work. This place is so cool it needs attention. May 10, 2011
Bob Broilo
Socorro, NM
Bob Broilo   Socorro, NM
Regarding the hardware, there was a motivated local named James Hunter who was doing updates. He was focused on the anchors and fixed many of the sketchy older jobs. He has since moved away. Getting replacement gear is not a problem. The motivation to fight the crowds at the tower for the same old routes when there is so much other stuff to do, is. For the Socorro folks anyway. Also there is the ongoing effort to mitigate the effects of the many people who camp and poop there, which also generates many complaints from visitors. Why so many people need to drive onto the virgin grass and make a new fire ring, I will never understand.

Back on subject. The tower rock is soft and I imagine some of those old, small bolts are beginning to get weak. Especially those at odd angles near cruxes (for example, i wonder about that second bolt on Blessed and Blissed when I see a dozen falls on it a day, that would be a grounder).

I work a few minutes away and sometimes go to the tower on weeknights after work. It is usually much less crowded then. I lack a drill and experience though. So I will try to drag the guy who has been updating hardware at Box out and maybe we can fix some of this stuff. I have a few routes left to redpoint there.

The main problem at the moment is the impending temporary forest closures due to fire danger. Cibola NF now at Stage II restrictions, so hope for rain! May 13, 2011
I did not realized a majority of the routes needed some anchor replacement until friend told me the crux bolt for red/white queen is hanging out of the rock partially. Last time was at the Tower was the early 90's.

After having talked with people who have way more bolting experience than I do, it is my understanding that the Glue-ins are the best option for anchor replacement.

Not sure how much time and money I have got to contribute to this over the summer as I am already committed to other activities. I could loan out a my turbo charged hilti to a responsible and motivated individual as all it is doing is collecting dust right now. May 24, 2011
Is the gate open to the tower still as of 10/13/2011? Oct 14, 2011
The last I heard in early October was that there was a closure sign on the road. If the road is posted as closed, please respect the closure and use the Davenport Canyon access. NM CRAG and the Access Fund are currently in discussions with the landowner to clarify the landowners intention with regards to access through Thompson Canyon and will post details here once final word is received from the ranch owners. Nov 3, 2011
Peter Olson
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Peter Olson   Santa Fe, New Mexico
Is the gate open? Has anybody been to the Tower in the last couple days? Apr 23, 2012
Joseph M.
Tucson, AZ
Joseph M.   Tucson, AZ
I am planning on heading out to the tower for Labor Day Weekend. Will the gate be open or should I plan to access the canyon through the other road? Thanks for the help! Aug 22, 2012
LeeAB Brinckerhoff   ABQ, NM  
You should plan on going the other way since the request of the land owner is that it be closed between September 1st and January 30th. Even if the gate is unlocked you should still go around, remember there are people living there as well and they don't want to always have to be locking and unlocking the gate to get in and out themselves. So just because the gate is unlocked does not mean that it is open and if you go in that way and expect to get out you may find it locked on your way out. Aug 23, 2012
Any new word on access March 2013? Mar 24, 2013
the schmuck
Albuquerque, NM
the schmuck   Albuquerque, NM
My understanding that the access road is no longer open. We were there 3 weeks ago, and the gate was unlocked. A friend went by last week, and the gate was locked. When I called the gym and asked about the situation, I was informed that the gate is indeed permanently closed, but may be ocassionaly open at the owners' whim. Mar 30, 2013
Found a grey/black duffle bag with wheels sitting on the side of the dirt road this weekend (4/28/13). It had one pocket open with a few things scattered, it appeared to have fallen off or out of a vehicle. It has women's clothing and other stuff in it. If you are missing your bag let me know and you can pick it up at Stone Age Climbing Gym. If you're not in ABQ you can call the gym and ask for me and we can arrange shipping. (505) 341-2016 Apr 29, 2013
A set of keys were accidentally left at the campsite directly across from the main trail head. They have a purple carabiner, Ford car key, and a green turtle bottle opener. I'd appreciate it if anyone headed there in the near future could take a look for them and email me if found. Thanks!! Jun 9, 2013
Hello every body my name is john/chain i grew up right there in datil i was piddling ran all thru 'mushroom mountain' as phylicyban mushrooms grow so abundantly there i had many many nights of running amuck and for that i l had to leave my buddys and i were great climbers i was young and spending money on wring things so i never bough gear i am planning on heading up there pretty sure we got more coverage on that 20 mile ratius will get pics/gps locations sooner ir later when i fund up if i know what needed ps try leading unknown on renaissance with left hand Oct 23, 2013
Owen S.
Los Alamos
Owen S.   Los Alamos
John Gregory wrote:Hello every body my name is john/chain i grew up right there in datil i was piddling ran all thru 'mushroom mountain' as phylicyban mushrooms grow so abundantly there i had many many nights of running amuck and for that i l had to leave my buddys and i were great climbers i was young and spending money on wring things so i never bough gear i am planning on heading up there pretty sure we got more coverage on that 20 mile ratius will get pics/gps locations sooner ir later when i fund up if i know what needed ps try leading unknown on renaissance with left hand.
I dont say this very often, but... lol Nov 15, 2013
Anthony Stout
Albuquerque, NM
Anthony Stout   Albuquerque, NM  
Wow! Now that is a gem. A Keeper for sure! Feb 12, 2014
Allison Moran
Denver, CO
Allison Moran   Denver, CO
These two smarty pants decided to hike in from 59. Our road tripping car definitely doesn't qualify as high clearance and we NEEDED to see what Enchanted Tower was all about. The hike is about 15 miles and 6 hours round trip. Do I regret it? No. Would I do it again? No. Well.. maybe. Enchanted Tower is stelllar! Seroiusly, that road is rough. Don't consider driving in unless you have a car that can take it. Mar 7, 2014
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
Allison M wrote:These two smarty pants decided to hike in from 59. Our road tripping car definitely doesn't qualify as high clearance and we NEEDED to see what Enchanted Tower was all about. The hike is about 15 miles and 6 hours round trip. Do I regret it? No. Would I do it again? No. Well.. maybe. Enchanted Tower is stelllar! Seroiusly, that road is rough. Don't consider driving in unless you have a car that can take it.
I love the dedication! Was the road snowy or is it passable right now (with 4x4 of course)? I've measured the distance from the highway to the Tower at 10.5 miles. Alternatively, I've hiked over the ridge between the highway and the Tower and it's roughly two miles and takes about an hour. Mar 7, 2014
John Tex
John Tex   Estes
How much snow is there in March, if any at all? Mar 15, 2014
Jake Mortensen
Albuquerque, NM
Jake Mortensen   Albuquerque, NM
Is it possible to park outside the ranchers gate and hike in on his land if it is done quietly during the day? I am trying to find alternatives to hiking the forest road because my car cannot handle four wheel and I don't think my girlfriend would appreciate a 16 mile backpack trip on the forest road. Please let me know if you have had any luck hiking in on the ranchers land. Mar 15, 2014
LeeAB Brinckerhoff   ABQ, NM  
Jake, see Jason's comment two above yours. In addition to Jason I know of at least two other people that have gone this way. You will need to do some research though to figure out where to park and where to hike over the ridge. If I'm not mistaken you will want to head for the side valley that the Renaissance wall is in. Maybe Jason can provide some clarification. Mar 16, 2014
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
John Tex wrote:How much snow is there in March, if any at all?
John, I'm far from a local but knowing NM winters, the March snowpack will vary. This year I'm guessing there's little snow in the area now. The north-facing slopes will likely retain snow into April but all other aspects ought to be pretty dry. The long road in is in some narrow canyon spots at times so my educated guess is it's kinda sloppy and/or icy in spots into April. Hopefully someone more local will chime in if they know conditions.

Jake, Re: hiking in via rancher's land, don't do it please. That's blatant trespassing. I sent you a PM with some additional information and ideas for access via public land. Mar 19, 2014
Jason Hebert
Socorro, New Mexico
Jason Hebert   Socorro, New Mexico
We have hiked in before, about an hour each way. Park on the forest service road that you would take to drive around (can't remember the name) just past the cattle guard. If you hike over the saddle just to the east of there and drop down the other side it puts you in the upper end of the side canyon that drops down to Renaissance wall. Not a bad hike really, but I hate hiking. Mar 21, 2014
thinking of heading in this coming weekend...any info on the road conditions would be greatly appreciated! Mar 26, 2014
erik rieger
Ridgway, CO
erik rieger   Ridgway, CO
I was here for a few days over Thanksgiving. Great climbing and not a single other party. With temps 50-60F and sunny, it was hot climbing in t-shirts. Easy to chase sun or shade all day. Only a small amount of snow on shady parts of the road then. If the snowpack was low, it seems like this would be excellent throughout the winter on warmer days. Destination crag in my opinion. Feb 19, 2015
On a recent trip to the Tower, I found a handful of Austrialpin steel oval carabiners dangling from top anchors, and recalled reading the following information about them on, where they are being liquidated for $1.49 each:

"These steel non-locking oval carabiners from Austrialpin are great for general utility purposes, like making dog leashes. Their breaking strength of 10kN means they are not suitable for life-supporting activities like climbing or rescue, however."

I removed those I came across for fear that they were substandard, and stashed them in a hidden location at the Tower which I can easily describe to others. I thereafter contacted Austrialpin directly for their authoritative information as to whether these carabiners are suitable for climbing - which I wanted to post here. Austrialpin never responded. Should these carabiners be acceptable on anchors at the Tower? Mar 25, 2015
Shirtless Mike
Denver, CO
Shirtless Mike   Denver, CO  
To me, yes these would be good enough. I would lower off of these without any hesitation. A 5/16" quicklink, which is probably what is used to connect the chains to the hanger only has a safe working load of ~1760 lbs, 7.83kN…. The austrialpin website lists these carabiners as having a load capacity of ~2200 lbs, 10kN.… So while there may be some additional safety factor between safe working load of the quicklinks and load capacity of these carabiners, I wouldn't worry about it.

I'd be far more nervous about the old bolts in soft rock at the tower than these lowering carabiners.

However by all means replace them with some nice steel carabiners if you want to, as they are sub-par hardware. Mar 25, 2015
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
Confession: T'was me that placed those Austrialpin steel ovals in 2008/2009 on many routes at the Tower. As DisturbingThePeace said, the rating is higher than many oval screw links used to secure chains or other lowering hardware on most sport routes and I've not heard accounts of any screw link failures.

I wouldn't consider these biners viable for lead-climbing protection. But I'm very comfortable with the thought of lowering off 10kn steel biners because the redundancy of two biners supporting a mostly static load means the likelihood of a catastrophic failure of both biners is extremely low.

But if others feel these biners aren't acceptable for lowering, I'm certainly not offended that they get removed/replaced. Mar 25, 2015
Disturbing and Jason, good points and information. I didn't realize they'd been hanging so long. The carabiners I removed (six, I think) were in good shape and didn't show significant wear. Knowing now that 10kN is still fairly strong, I'd personally feel ok about lowering from them. If others don't voice strong opposition, I'll put them back up the next time I'm at the Tower. Or Jason, if you're heading there soon and would like to send me a PM, I can tell you right where I stashed them - well hidden, yet convenient to retrieve. Mar 25, 2015
Rich Strang
Santa Fe, NM
Rich Strang   Santa Fe, NM
Too late to find out where they are now since I'm leaving. Guess I'll go old school this weekend and have the thread the chains! Wish they were still in place. Plenty strong enough to lower thru. Mar 27, 2015
Headed down this weekend so I am curious, did the biners get put back? Also, I concur with DTP and Jason that these biners are fine for this purpose.

I would also note that aside from the occasional NMCrag donation all of the hardware at the tower was put up out of peoples pockets and many of the anchors on the tower still have aluminum leaver biners cut to various degrees. If this thread makes you think about the safety of the anchors and you can afford it please think about buying a good steel biner (can be had for < 10$) and replacing the worst anchor biner you find at the tower next time you go. Apr 2, 2015
Jason Hebert
Socorro, New Mexico
Jason Hebert   Socorro, New Mexico
At the suggestion of another Tower regular, I was considering hanging "perma" draws on Goliath (he was actually wanting them on Ripped), at least the upper pitch, as I want to work it over the next few weekends and would love not to have to hang draws each time. I have "perma" in quotation marks because the idea would be to remove them at the end of the season. I have access to nicopress tools and copper sleeves (see link) and wire rope, and was going to make them myself. I have rigging experience and full confidence in the gear. I would use 3/16 7x19 galvanized aircraft cable, which is rated to 4200lb/18.7KN. I'll put steel quicklinks on the hanger end, but was going to use Al wire gates that I have already on the rope end. I would be willing to leave them up indefinitely if people want AND if I could get some donations for quality steelies for the rope side.

I wanted to ask the community before doing this as I know leaving "permanent" gear on a route is a pretty hotly debated issue. What do you guys think?… Apr 10, 2015
Pat Mac
Salt Lake City
Pat Mac   Salt Lake City
Jason totally agree with you're opinion! As I am working it too. I say put them UP! Apr 20, 2015
Ken Noyce
Layton, UT
Ken Noyce   Layton, UT
@DisturbingThePeace, i'm not saying that the austrialpin biners are not suitable for lowering off since two 10kn biners is more than enough, but compairing a breaking strength to a safe working load is comparing apples to oranges. A safe working load of a quicklink is generally 1/4 or 1/5 of the breaking strength so a 1760 lb swl quicklink actually has an average breaking strength of at least 7040 lbs or ~ 31kN. May 14, 2015
Shirtless Mike
Denver, CO
Shirtless Mike   Denver, CO  
So while there may be some additional safety factor between safe working load of the quicklinks and load capacity of these carabiners

@ Kennoyce, I was attempting to cover this with the above statement. That said looking at their website, I'm guessing that load capacity might include an additional safety factor. The Austrian company might just use different terminology. I still wouldn't use them for anything other than anchors however. May 19, 2015
Josh Janes    
Lost Hat: I lost a black Smartwool beanie beneath Goliath last week. I threw it off my head while climbing the route and it landed in the talus below the arete. After sending I was so excited that I forgot all about it and we left that afternoon for the next destination on our road trip. If you happen to find it I would be very grateful to get it back - it has sentimental value as I've had it my entire climbing career. Thanks!

I had no problems hanging the draws on the route after scrambling up the backside of the tower and lowering over the climb. I also had no problems cleaning it when I was done. I don't see semi-perma-draws as being that big of a time/energy saver on this one - it's just too easy to access the top. Just my 2 cents. May 26, 2015
Hi folks,

A couple questions. I am visiting Albuquerque with a couple colleagues (all climbers) on business in June and was wondering if Enchanted Tower is a possibility. We would be looking for 5.6 - 5.12+, and a chill place to camp for a couple days.

Is the new approach possible in a rental car? How about a rental SUV? Can you camp there?

How will the temps/shade be that time of year? I'm guessing hot...?

Any info is much appreciated!

Josh Mar 15, 2016
Possible in a rental SUV, but insurance may be advisable.

It will be hot. The moderates will be mostly in the sun all day, but the east side of the tower (12s) gets good shade.

With how dry it has been this year, the Tower and other FS land could easily be closed in June. Mar 16, 2016
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
Jwh wrote:A couple questions. I was wondering if Enchanted Tower is a possibility. We would be looking for 5.6 - 5.12+, and a chill place to camp for a couple days. Is the new approach possible in a rental car? How about a rental SUV? Can you camp there? How will the temps/shade be that time of year? I'm guessing hot...? Any info is much appreciated! --Josh
Hey Josh, we've spent a couple of Fourth of July weekends at the Tower and while it's not ideal temps, it's really not too shabby. Our strategy is to get going quickly in the morning, climb until about 1pm, take a siesta back at camp for a few hours and climb again in the evening.
You can indeed camp right there in the canyon just below the walls. It's National Forest dispersed camping so there are no amenities--bring all your water and PLEASE bring wag-bags and pack out your poop.

As for the road in, you'd want a car with high clearance but 4WD is not necessary. There are a few spots where you'll have to slow way down, pick a line and get through some rocks. Mar 16, 2016
Thanks for the info Jason and djkyote! Sounds like the Tower in June can be a good time, even in the warmer temps. We will definitely keep an eye on any closures and make sure we have wag-bags and a suitable rig.

Jason - I took a look at your ET Picasa album, awesome pictures! The climbing and camping look perfect.


Josh Mar 23, 2016
LeeAB Brinckerhoff   ABQ, NM  
Another option would be El Rito for that time of year. Mar 26, 2016
We had a wonderful two days climbing and had the place all to ourselves. It had been almost 17 years since my last visit and not much had changed. In fact, it was better than the last time. No crowds, no trash, good trails, a few new routes, upgraded anchors... E.T. is still the best steep volcanic pocket pulling anywhere and certainly still one of the best crags in NM. Despite 102° in Socorro the temps were perfect in the shade with a nice breeze all day. The flies were very bad at the camping spot but not at the crag. They made our dog miserable.

The vegetation and trails around the cliffs were in fantastic shape and well grown in. The gate closure has some benefits keeping visitation low. We didn't see much toilet paper or trash. The dirt road was in good shape but high clearance is definitely recommended. It took about 40 min from the highway.

Jul 15, 2016
The alternate road is very rough. YOU DEFINITELY NEED A 4WD. My 4WD Escape had a hard time going over the mountain. Do not go if you don't have a high clearance 4WD. If the land owners would open the gate, I'm sure it would be much simpler.

The climbing and weather were fantastic!!! Not any other climbers this last weekend.
Aug 1, 2016
the schmuck
Albuquerque, NM
the schmuck   Albuquerque, NM
ATTENTION: we have been hiking in this past spring from the highway. Although this is a nice 40 minute hike, this approach may not be an option anymore. Although the vast majority of the hike is on USFS land, you do need to cross a narrow strip of private land. This past weekend "no trespassing" signs sprouted along the fence line, and a note was left on our car, courtesy of Quien Sabe Cattle Company. They own the strip of land from FS Road 6 all the way to the Cleveland ranch, so there is no practical way to get around it. Obviously they don't want their land crossed.

You can still drive in the back way, and the road is the same as it ever was. You do not need 4wd, but please drive carefully so that you don't rut out the road. May 22, 2017
Eily from ABQ
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Eily from ABQ   Albuquerque, New Mexico
Warning: bee hive at entrance of Golden Stairs, David, and Goliath. Aug 1, 2017
The bees on David/Goliath/GoldenStairs have become well established with a nice big honeycomb now.

I would recommend avoiding those routes for the sake of our belayer. Sep 6, 2017
Richard Heying
Albuquerque, NM
Richard Heying   Albuquerque, NM
Hey is the new road open right now Nov 7, 2017
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
Richard Heying wrote:Hey is the new road open right now?
It hasn't snowed yet this year so I'd fully expect no problems on the drive in past the Davenport Lookout Nov 8, 2017
Scott Hunt
Golden, CO
Scott Hunt   Golden, CO
Richard Heying, Did you make it out to ET? Thinking of going Sunday/Monday if the temps are good and the road is still passable.

JoeyJa, Honey bees or killer bees? Nov 20, 2017
I used to hunt there in the 60s and there are some even better rocks in the Datil mountains. Up forest rd 100 about 8-9 miles then you have to walk up a canyon to the west quite a ways, Probably 1/2 mile. Jan 2, 2018
Howdy NMicans,

Is the tower accessible and climbable in mid-March? Too cold? Snowy? Have been ogling the photos for years and have some time to climb in New Mexico then.

Thanks. Feb 27, 2018
Hi, has any one driven the road into the tower this year 2018 ? Thanks Apr 10, 2018
Danielle Aronson
Albuquerque, NM
Danielle Aronson   Albuquerque, NM
Just heard back from a friend that went last weekend. Here's his response to "On a scale of 1-10 (1 being a Honda Accord, 5 being a Subaru Forester, 10 being a monster truck), how would you rate the road's passability?" -->The forest service did some grading up to Davenport lookout so that road is improved. After Davenport it is as it was before. I'd say that a 5, with good driving skills could likely do the trip... but something with more clearance would certainly be a safer bet. (For perspective: he drives a burly 4x4 pickup.) Safe travels and climbing! Apr 23, 2018
Hank Legan
Austin, Texas
Hank Legan   Austin, Texas
I just got back from my first trip to Enchanted Tower and can't say enough good things about the place, with a special thanks to whomever has had a hand in the trail building around there--it's clear there's been a lot of sweat equity put into those trails/erosion controls/flat belay zones. Definitely looking forward to my next trip.

As for the road: I've got a 4WD Tacoma with a small lift and was glad to have both the extra clearance and the 4WD. I did see a number of vehicles there that I was surprised made it, so it's clearly possible for a lot of vehicles to make it with careful driving and/or a stubborn attitude, but I probably wouldn't do it without at least 4WD. May 31, 2018

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