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Areas in Palomas Peak

(00) The Right Wing 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
(01) The Entrance 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
(02) The Slab Wall 1 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
(03) The Franks 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
(03.5) The Dove Bar 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
(04) Showdown Wall 3 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 9
(05) The Transition Zone 2 / 7 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 9
(06) The Dihedral Wall 2 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
(07) Randy's Wall 1 / 19 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 22
(08) The Far Side I 2 / 7 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 9
(09) The Far Side II 2 / 18 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 20
(10) Red Light District 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Elevation: 8,613 ft
GPS: 35.235, -106.406 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 65,750 total · 424/month
Shared By: Anthony Stout on Jan 24, 2006
Admins: Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski
Getting weather forecast...
Access Issue: June 15, 2018 - Sandia Mountains closed due to Cibola National Forest Stage III fire restrictions Details


Palomas Peak (8,250ft) is a minor peak in the Sandia massif. As in the Sandia Mountains proper, the top layer of Palomas is limestone, forming in this case two separate cliff bands; the higher cliff band (at around 8,000ft) is the developed Palomas crag, although the lower cliff band is seeing some limited development (the online guide only covers the upper cliff band; the lower band has few routes, is exposed to rockfall from activity on the higher band, and features rock of much lower quality.) The limestone is of good quality, with very sharp, highly textured surface; taping up for cracks is mandatory and frequent resoling necessary. Be prepared for a lot of smearing and edging and for small holds. The crag has two Flavors: one area at the south end is very steep and features hard (12s and 13s) overhanging climbs, while the rest is a mix of natural-pro cracks and bolted, nearly vertical slabs; the latter are the most characteristic feature of Palomas. The cliff band varies from 30ft to 70ft, with most climbs in the 50-60ft range. All sports climbs (and several crack climbs) are equipped with lowering anchors (mostly two bolts and chains, but also welded coldshuts or rap hangers). (Pasted directly from online guidebook.)

Getting There

From Albuquerque, take I-40 east, exit at Tijeras (Exit 175) and head north on NM 14 through Cedar Crest; after about 6 miles, turn left onto the Sandia Crest road (NM 536); soon after passing the ski area base (about 9 miles after leaving NM 14), turn off right (at Balsam Glade picnic area) onto dirt road leading to Placitas; after about 2 miles, stop at left turn with 3 concrete barriers west of the burn area. (If you get to Las Huertas picnic ground or the Sandia Man Cave, you have gone too far down.) Drive time is 40-50 mins. From Santa Fe, you can take I-25 to Placitas, exit to NM 165 and drive 14 miles to the parking area (the last 5 miles on dirt), but it is faster to take NM 14 south to the junction with the Sandia Crest road and proceed as above. Parking is limited and often a severe problem on week-ends: there is room for 8-9 cars at the 3 concrete barriers if you park perpendicular to the barriers; about 40m down the road from the turn, there is room (sideways) for 4 more cars on the uphill side; note that rangers will ticket any car that impinges upon the roadway. PLEASE CARPOOL and PARK WELL! Take the trail right by the barriers (note: walk UP the hill a little way beyond the barriers, and the trail is very large and prominant!); follow it across the burn area and through the forest, on a mostly level course, to a dry creek bed; at the creek bed turn sharp left onto an ascending trail that takes you to the corner of a LARGE clearing. The first turn on the left (sometimes barred), just before entering the clearing, puts you on the trail to the lower cliff band. The second turn on the left, just after entering the clearing and thus only 10 yards beyond the first turn, puts you on the trail to the upper cliff band (if you begin going through a huge open area, you are going too far. You can see the cliffs up and to the left when you see the trails veering off to the left). Allow about half an hour for the hike up with a full pack. Please stay on the trail: the native flora is easily damaged. From December till March, expect hazardous driving conditions on the dirt road (often only accessible from the Placitas side), possibly deep snow on the trail (bring mountaineering boots or snowshoes), and cold temperatures, although the rock dries up quickly and stays warm in the sun. (Copied directly from online guidebook).

The Walls of Palomas

The Palomas climbing area is composed of 10 different walls listed from right (southeast end, first area you hit as you come upon the climbing area along the trail) to the left (northwest).

(01) The Entrance
(02) The Slab Wall
(03) The Franks
(04) Showdown Wall
(05) The Transition Zone
(06) The Dihedral Wall
(07) Randy's Wall
(08) The Far Side I
(09) The Far Side II
(10) Red Light District

99 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Palomas Peak

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Wavy Gravy
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Motion Activated
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Pussy Whipped
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Lonesome Dove
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Don't Miss Out
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Tiger by the Tail
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Pizza Stone
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Take 'n Bake
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Spanky Says NO
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Green Eggs and Ham
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Rode Hard
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Nature of the Beast
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
Turbo Trad
Trad, Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Wavy Gravy (05) The Transition Zone
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Motion Activated (07) Randy's Wall
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Pussy Whipped (09) The Far Side II
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Lonesome Dove (09) The Far Side II
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Don't Miss Out (09) The Far Side II
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Tiger by the Tail (09) The Far Side II
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Sport
Pizza Stone (09) The Far Side II
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Take 'n Bake (09) The Far Side II
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Spanky Says NO (07) Randy's Wall
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Green Eggs and Ham (06) The Dihedral Wall
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Patchwork (09) The Far Side II
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Rode Hard (05) The Transition Zone
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Gunslinger (04) Showdown Wall
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
Nature of the Beast (01) The Entrance
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Turbo Trad (02) The Slab Wall
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c Trad, Sport
More Classic Climbs in Palomas Peak »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season
Nick Manke
Edgewood, NM
Nick Manke   Edgewood, NM
A great guide book for this area is the Falcon Guide for New Mexico. Nov 10, 2008
That's not a great guidebook for anywhere. The online guide (see link, above) is way better, and free! Feb 15, 2009
Gotta agree with Dave on that one.
Falcon guides are notoriously inaccurate.

They seem to be the dash and slash version climbing guides. Feb 16, 2009
Quick poll for anybody interested: I'd like to put in a new anchor for "Patchwork" ("Far Side II" area) at what's currently the last bolt. Will avoid the final 8 feet of awkward and potentially dangerous climbing off the big bivvy ledge to reach the current anchor. I don't have contact info for Randy Eisler (listed as the first ascentionist, and I'm assuming he's also the bolter...). If I don't hear back from someone soon, I'm just going to do it, because it's a quality climb (aside from the finish), and more importantly, because it's a safety issue. I'll also put in lowering clips, to further improve safety and convenience. Sep 4, 2009
Morrison, CO
Monomaniac   Morrison, CO  

I think its a good idea. I recommend that you leave the original anchor so that each climber can decide for themselves if they want to do the final boulder problem.

I wonder if Randy Eisler is the same Randy that cranks like a teenager at Stoneage. LeeAB would probably know... Sep 4, 2009
LeeAB Brinckerhoff   ABQ, NM  
I can try to contact Randy, though I have not seen him in the gym in at least a year. A note of interest on Randy, a couple of years ago he complete the leadville 100 for the 10th straight year. . . and no, not on a bike, the running race. So he might just be running now. Sep 4, 2009
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
I was wondering if that Randy was the same Randy I know from Hardrock and Leadville. Cool. I might have contact info for him or at least know how to get it. I'll try for it... Sep 5, 2009
Actually, I was planning to put the bolt in on lead, using a hand drill the old-fashioned way. A tribute to John Bachar. Power drills are for wussies. By the way, Mike, congrats on your Climbing mag photo. Hopefully I'll make it up there soon to sample some of your new routes.

  • *Note - this comment was written in response to a post that once existed, but has been removed (mysterious Taos climber/recluse - you know the type). Anyhow, it's not as random as it seems.
Sep 6, 2009
On the lead ?
Aren't you standing on a big ledge to drill the bolt?

While I'm all in favor of the "new" anchor, I doubt JB would feel all that honored by it. Sep 7, 2009
Damn, you weren't supposed to tell anybody about the ledge! I was going to write an article about the bolt placement for Climbing mag, complete with a teetering bat hook, rope-eating hanta-infested mice, and dive-bombing peregrines.
Seriously, I don't have any particular plan for bolt drilling yet, and I'm hoping to talk to Randy before going ahead. I think he authored a great route (which is, by the way, sustained and plenty long enough without the top bit), and I'll leave the original anchor alone under the assumption that he had some reason for putting it up there (which continues to elude me and many others...). I'll have to borrow a hand-drill or power drill from a friend - it'll probably be the former because I don't want to lug a power drill all the way up there for the sake of one bolt. Sep 8, 2009
Found a good deal on Fixe sport anchors:…
A bit klunky and obvious from below, but these puppies will make cleaning the anchor quick and safe. Any better ideas?
- Dave Sep 9, 2009
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
Thanks for the link, Dave. Those Fixe sport anchors are way quality and I've installed a few myself (when I could afford them.) I paint them with a primer spray paint to try to match the rock color and they don't hardly seem intrusive. Sep 9, 2009
No Juan  
I don't think this is a great idea. I have been to Palomas recently and am glad you never added a new anchor station. The last eight feet of this climb helps make the grade, and is exciting after the long lead. Apr 9, 2010
ian watson
Albuquerque, NM
ian watson   Albuquerque, NM
I did my first outdoor lead here, the route was in the red light district i belive and i think it was a 5.6, the route is not listed here but its the one that traverses to the left alot. Anyone know what this route is called? If i remember correctly it had 3-4 bolts to 2ba with chains. (EDIT) , the route was called people mover and has been added to the datebase. Oct 18, 2010
There is a large no parking sign right in the middle of the parking area. Is this new? Oct 30, 2010
C Brann  
Easy to find area. Parking at trail head is limited to about cars, but likely that's all there will be as there aren't usually more than two groups on the cliff face at any one time. The hike is not bad, but ~2 miles. Crags are easy to identify. Trail is to the right of the guard rail and easy to follow. I can't wait to climb this area again. Apr 17, 2014
Miguel D
Miguel D   SLC
Went out May 24th. Great area. At this time of year, you'll get morning sun in the further north areas and evening sun in the closer (southern) areas. During the afternoon is sunny mostly everywhere.

I made the trip with two friends from Dallas and was able to find the cliffs no problem. Directions are spot on and will get you to the cliffs easily. We were able to get on a few routes but there were several that we climbed that I couldn't identify. I'm probably just bad at reading the diagrams from the guide though. I did notice some discrepancies between the guide and the MP info, mostly just routes present in one and not the other. I know the guide is older, but I think I remember some stuff on the guide missing on here May 26, 2015
Found a helmet this Sunday (4/17) below Finger flake at Showdown. If it's yours, contact me here with details and we can arrange a pick up. I'll also post at Stoneage. Apr 17, 2017
Minh N
Berkeley, CA
Minh N   Berkeley, CA
I'm about to visit Albuquerque (end of June, forecast in the high 90s). Given the orientation of the cliffs, it seems to me the best time to avoid the hot sun is to hit the crag in the morning. Is that so and is it even worth it? Thanks! Jun 20, 2018

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