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Elevation: 5,817 ft 1,773 m
GPS: 35.80518, -106.13898
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Shared By: Anthony Stout on Feb 12, 2006 · Updates
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Description Suggest change

Diablo Canyon is located outside of Santa Fe New Mexico, and offers fine climbing on basalt cliffs up to three hundred feet tall.

With over a hundred sport lines and many good crack lines, Diablo offers a wealth of climbing with easy, quick access from Santa Fe. Grades range from 5.8 to 5.13 and vary in steepness and exposure. Many routes are in the moderate 5.10 arena and, for 5.10-5.12 climbers, this is one of the best sport climbing areas in northern New Mexico. With the greatly increased popularity of Diablo Canyon, by now traffic has cleaned much of the loose rock from many of the more popular climbs, but some remains.

Climbing in Diablo can be found nearly year round, with shade in the summer and sun in the winter.

Approaches to the various crags can range from 5 to 30 minutes.

DANGER: Please wear a helmet while climbing at Diablo, rockfall is a significant risk here. South facing rock appears, and is, chossy and loose. This is due to the extreme fluctuations in temperatures during the winter, where the rock temperature can swing from over 100 to below 0 F in a 24 hour period. This freeze/thaw cycle is associated with tremendous thermal expansion and contraction, which can make rock that was solid yesterday become airborne today. Tread lightly while leading, belay from a spot out of the line of fire, and (if they have brains worth protecting) WEAR a HELMET.

NOTE: The majority beta text and photos are reprinted here from the website, losalamos.com/diablo/, by permission of Rick Bradshaw, who was kind enough to allow me to use his material here.

Free, undeveloped camping available in a few BLM developed campsites at the parking area.

A new pit toilet was installed at the campground in late fall of 2023. Please do your part to keep the toilet tidy and clean. 

TRASH AT THE CAMPGROUND/PARKING AREA

The campground/parking area at Diablo Canyon is starting to see lots of climber/camper/hiker traffic, and as a result there is trash accumulating near the toilet and catching in the brush/weeds. There are no trash cans at the campground/parking area. PLEASE take a minute to do your part by picking up trash and take it with you.

Getting There Suggest change

1) Get on the Santa Fe Bypass route (Veterans Memorial Hiway 599) either from I-25 south of Santa Fe or off of Saint Frances Drive NW of Santa Fe.

2) Exit onto Camino La Tierra heading west toward the Rio Grande, setting your odometer to 0 at the turnoff. After 4.7 miles, turn right on Old Buckman Road, which is a reasonably well-maintained dirt road. At 7.7 miles you'll pass a large blue/green colored frame (apparently used to be a windmill painted like a daisy) on your left as you follow the main Diablo wash toward the river. At 12.2 miles you should reach the first turn off into the Diablo parking area on your left. The canyon is clearly visible beyond. 2WD vehicles make it there all the time. They get stuck in the sand or mud on their way out at a somewhat less frequency.

Watch out for rattlesnakes basking and tarantulas looking for mates in the middle of the road. This is their home we're visiting, please give them the right of way.

Resources:

Suggest change
The guidebooks "Jemez Rock" and "Rock Climbing: New Mexico" both cover the area but are grossly outdated. There has been a huge amount of development in the Diablo Canyon area in the past decade. Using the MountainProject app is your best bet for current area and route information.

388 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Diablo Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 256
Post Moderate
Sport
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 109
Naked Lunch
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 155
Grape Ape
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 46
Evil Paradise
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 75
Affirmative Action
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 65
Blind Faith
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 86
Top Gun
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c PG13
 44
Sun Devil
Sport 3 pitches
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 49
Bedeviled
Sport
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
 96
Pale Face
Sport
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
 38
Aerostar
Sport
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
 28
Astro Devil
Sport 3 pitches
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 40
Bush in a Blender
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 56
Clovis Hunter
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 23
The Book of Souls
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Post Moderate Winter Wall
 256
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Naked Lunch Winter Wall
 109
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Grape Ape Winter Wall
 155
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Evil Paradise Grotto > Top of the Grotto (Oj…
 46
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Affirmative Action Grotto > Grotto Left (E Side)
 75
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Blind Faith Winter Wall
 65
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Top Gun Early Wall > Runway (Lower Tier)
 86
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Sun Devil Sun Devil Wall
 44
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c PG13 Sport 3 pitches
Bedeviled Grotto > Grotto Left (E Side)
 49
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Pale Face Winter Wall
 96
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Sport
Aerostar Early Wall > Runway (Lower Tier)
 38
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Sport
Astro Devil Sun Devil Wall
 28
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Sport 3 pitches
Bush in a Blender Grotto > Grotto Left (E Side)
 40
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Clovis Hunter Solar Cave
 56
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
The Book of Souls Grotto > Grotto Left (E Side)
 23
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
More Classic Climbs in Diablo Canyon »

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