Elevation: 10,122 ft
GPS: 35.202, -106.445 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 10,821 total · 72/month
Shared By: Anthony Stout on Sep 20, 2006
Admins: Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski
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Access Issue: Seasonal raptor closure for some areas in the Sandias Details


Though not really a tower, this formation has a high concentration of of some of the best routes in the Sandias!

Getting There

See approach information for Echo Canyon, which will lead you to the junction where you will either continue down into the canyon, or stay on the La Luz trail (if you are climbing on Yucca Flower Tower). From the trail junction, continue 10 minutes or about 0.3 miles on the main trail, paralleling the canyon. Here, the La Luz exits the trees and head northeast. Leave the trail, and head west down a climbers trail to the cliff-band. A large block is at the top of the Great Escape. Rapping from here will get you to the Yucca Flower Tower. It is also possible to hike down Echo Canyon to the base of the formation. This will get you to top of Great Escape (this is also where the GPS coordinates listed for this area will take you).

From the top of Great Escape, a single rope rap (60m rope, it's close, so tie the ends!) will get you to a large ledge at the base of the route. There is a nice set of anchors for this. From the ledge, scramble across an exposed "catwalk" to another large block. This is the summit of Yucca Flower Tower. Two, two rope raps will get you to the base of the formation. Make sure to head right instead of rappelling into the gully!

7 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Yucca Flower Tower

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Aces and Eights
Trad, Alpine
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Yucca Flower Tower
Trad, Alpine 3 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Great Escape
Trad, Alpine
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Trad, Alpine 2 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Western Justice (Frontier Justice)
Trad, TR, Alpine
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13
Where Eagles Dare
Trad, Alpine
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a PG13
Squash Blossom
Trad, Alpine 2 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Aces and Eights
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Alpine
Yucca Flower Tower
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, Alpine 3 pitches
Great Escape
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad, Alpine
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad, Alpine 2 pitches
Western Justice (Frontier J…
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad, TR, Alpine
Where Eagles Dare
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13 Trad, Alpine
Squash Blossom
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a PG13 Trad, Alpine 2 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Yucca Flower Tower »

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George Perkins
The Dungeon, NM
George Perkins   The Dungeon, NM
Did the approach hiking down Echo Canyon yesterday. It is a hassle to get between Bush Shark Area base to Yucca Flower Tower base- 4th class in gnarly gully required. The rappel approach is better. Jul 8, 2007
Charles Vernon
mind & body in Colorado, he…
Charles Vernon   mind & body in Colorado, he…
You can get to the base with a 70, but the rap from the top of the tower takes all the rope--maybe add slings to the anchor. Or, rap the route and leave an anchor to pick up on the way up--just make sure to rap climbers' right from the top of the tower. This could be done with a single 60 meter rope. Jun 3, 2010
LeeAB Brinckerhoff   ABQ, NM  
I usually just take a 70m on Yucca Flower Tower. The rap from the top of the tower is a stretcher for sure and we usually extend the bolted anchor with a full cordalette, so about 6 feet just to make sure there is "plenty" (ie: you are not reaching down to clip into the anchors before the rope comes out of your rappel device) of rope to reach the anchor at the top of the first pitch of Rawhide. The second rap is no issue. Jun 4, 2010
Bill M
Fort Collins, CO
Bill M   Fort Collins, CO
What routes are at the top of the gully just to the south of Yucca. We rapped down there today off a bolted rap station at the top and saw a few bolts on the head wall. Looks to be solid .11 face with small discontinuous cracks. May 27, 2012
John Kear
Albuquerque, NM
John Kear   Albuquerque, NM
You were probably looking at Where Eagles Dare. It is the route immediately south or right of The Great Escape. It is indeed 5.11 climbing but very clean face and crack features. It is highly recommended. The only thing bad about it is that that is only one pitch, plenty long though for a single pitch at 165ft. Jun 4, 2012
the schmuck
Albuquerque, NM
the schmuck   Albuquerque, NM
Did the raps yesterday. Here is my take on it. To find the anchors for Great Escape, walk down, and slightly to right as you approach the cliff band, after which you need to scramble down a broken ramp extending into the canyon before you actually see the block on top of the route (we built two small cairns). If you head straight down to the cliff and the most obvious block, it is not the correct block.

When you rap from the top of the Yucca Flower Tower, rap with a 70m to the climber's left, NOT right. Although descending to the right will get you to anchors on the YFT route, a 70m rope will not reach (ended up prussiking and penduluming to get to what I believe are Rawhide anchors). If you head slightly climber's left to the Rawhide anchors, a 70m rope will have no issues, with very little extra rope, reaching the chains. Rap straight down from there, and scramble to climber's right for YFT. Oct 9, 2012
LeeAB Brinckerhoff   ABQ, NM  

I believe when Charles was saying to rap climbers right from the top of the tower, he was implying that you build an anchor with gear, then use that to make another rap to the top of P1 of the YFT route, then, from there to the ground. If you read his comment it says to build an anchor to retrieve when climbing back up.

You are correct, that the anchor that is at full rope length and slightly left is the Rawhide/Squash Blossom anchor. Also, all ropes are cut differently, some companies cut the ropes longer, I have actually come to the ends of the rope with a 70m and had to reach down to clip the Rawhide anchor which is why I mention leaving a cordelette on the anchor at the top to get a bit further just in case. Oct 9, 2012
Bill Lawry
New Mexico
Bill Lawry   New Mexico
A Date With Death: Way far out of my league but still curious about its history.

Mick's 2003 guide indicated back then that A Date With Death still awaited a first free ascent. And then here's a video where - more recently - Cody Roth does a free ascent although it seems to imply not the first (if I recall correctly). Cut and paste the below into your browser. Making it a link just seems to display the log-in prompt.


Anyone else have some history to add? Mar 31, 2013
C Miller   CA  
This is the original write-up for the route -

  • A Date with Death (5.13c) N-A Wall, 550 yds N of Yucca Flower Tower. (FA: Duran, Marty Neibauer, 8/88)

The route (A Date with Death) was listed variously as both 5.13c and 5.13c/d sometimes even in the same publication.

Interestingly enough there's another route listed on the wall -

  • The Big Lie (5.13b TR) N-A Wall. Left of A Date with Death. (FA: Duran 8/88)
Apr 1, 2013
I'm curious if anyone has good beta for setting Date with Death up on TR. Sep 21, 2014
Aaron Miller
Santa Fe, NM
Aaron Miller   Santa Fe, NM
I think it would greatly help to find any of the crags in the Sandias if the aspect were listed. This one in particular. The face is due west, morning shade, afternoon sun.

Also, after leaving the trail junction saddle heading south towards the tramway summit, you are directly over Echo Cyn, of which the YFT is a west facing wall on a protruding ridge.

Great rock! Aug 17, 2015
Fritz Nuffer
The Western Slope
Fritz Nuffer   The Western Slope
Here are a few landmarks that would've made our approach to YFT more like the jolly stroll that it's supposed to be.

From the Crest/Luz trail sign at the south end of the gift shop:
. Pass a grey trail marker post on a switchback
. Pass another one next to a wilderness boundary
. Descend a set of stairs with a handrail
. Take a left at the signed La Luz junction
. Ignore the obvious block / tower summit with rap anchors
. After ~0.3 mi, find the overlook with the retaining wall / bench.
. From sitting on the wall, the Great Escape raps are to your three o'clock. Head down slightly through a couple trees. Oct 29, 2015