Elevation: 6,953 ft
GPS: 36.406, -105.574 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 571,369 total · 3,415/month
Shared By: Jay Foley on Oct 4, 2006
Admins: Mike Howard, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski

Town of Taos and Surrounding Area

Taos, "the Place of the Red Willow" in the native Tiwa of the Pueblo Indians, has long been the rendezvous of the Southern Sangre de Cristo Mountains and of the various cultures that call this region home. The Spanish referred to it as "Remote Beyond Compare" and it is for that reason it has remained to this day, unspoiled. Artists since have gathered at the foot of the Sangre De Cristo to take advantage of the high desert light and how it plays along the peaks and down into the Rio Grande Rift valley. The Taos Society of Artists, as well as Georgia O'Keefe, Ansel Adams, Paul Strand, and Dorthea Lange had an affection for the "Taos Light" and the extraordinary diversity of landforms and cultures in northern New Mexico.

Taosenos enjoy a diverse topography spanning from the basalt crags of the Rio Grande Gorge (John Dunn Bridge Area, Dead Cholla Wall, Miner's Crag, Utopian Vistas, Vista Verde Crag, Wild and Scenic, from about 5500 to 7000 ft) to the pristine granite of Tres Piedras or Questa Dome, the metamorphic rocks of Comales Canyon (up to 10,000 ft.) and the cobble conglomerate of El Rito all within a reasonable drive from one of the oldest continually inhabited communities in the U.S. Bring your sense of adventure and independence (as well as your rack, rod, boat, bike and skis/board) and get lost in the expanse. Gradual development and expansion of local crags has added a variety of new sport and trad pitches in the area surrounding Taos.

The geology of the Rio Grande Box is largely volcanic. Olivine tholeiite basalt forms the three main layers of the Servilleta Basalt. The middle basalt unit is separated from the upper and lower tiers by layers of sediment forming the benches. These horizontal basalt layers of dark-gray, pahoehoe (ropey), vesicular (air pocketed) lava compose the main climbing walls in the gorge (Vista Verde, Utopian Vistas, Dead Cholla, John Dunn area, Horse Thief, etc.). The rock we climb in the upper Box area of the Wild and Scenic is more dense, can be red to light brown and was not from the lateral Servilleta flow. These remnants of volcanic plugs are more appropriately termed dacite, and it may contain crystal inclusions known as phenocrysts. The middle box or La Junta section has several examples of swirled volcanic rock from old low relief dacite volcanos. Miners' crag is a nice example. The wall across from Miners' is also a remnant.

Season: Year-round. Hit the sunny, sheltered Rio Grande Gorge on winter mornings (most cliffs face east) or on afternoons in the warmer months. In high summer, find cooler temps at Tres Piedras, Questa Dome, El Rito, and Comales Canyon

Disclaimer: As Lew Wallace once said: "Every calculation based on experience elsewhere, fails in New Mexico", and that may be doubly true for Taos. (Therefore climbing is dangerous, BETA is just that, use your own judgment, blah, blah ...). Oh, and if you are wondering, "Taos" rhymes with "house".

Jay Foley working "Letting Go" 12c in the Bat Cave, Vista Verde near Taos
Photo: Jay Foley working "Letting Go" in the Bat Cave. Photo by Bob D'Antonio

Local Climbing Resources

Guide Service - Mountain Skills climbingschoolusa.com/index…
Shops- Mudd N Flood 134 Bent Street Taos, NM 87571 (505)751-9100
Guidebook: Taos Rock: Climbs and Boulders of Northern New Mexico. Author:Jay Foley Publisher: Sharp End Publishing, 2005
and/or Rock Climbing New Mexico (Regional Rock Climbing Series) by Dennis Jackson

Climbing Magazine Article:UTOPIAN VISTAS
By Matt Samet from Climbing Magazine No. 278 - September 2009
Photos by Andrew Burr / AndrewBurr.com


taosvacationguide.com/
taospueblo.com/

Cycling Resources

Guidebook
Gearing Up Bicycle Shop
Taos Cyclery
Recommended MTB Rides
South Boundry Trail
Others

Hospital/Medical Care

Holy Cross Hospital


Holy Cross Hospital
1397 Weimer Road
Taos, New Mexico 87571
Phone: 575-758-8883

South of Town. Turn East on Canon Bypass (look for Chevron at corner of Paseo Del Pueblo and Canon Bypass). About 1/2 mile to 2nd round-about for Weimer Road turn Right (South) to Hospital (Approx 1 mile)

Taos Search and Rescue


High Angle Unit: contact 911 and ask for State Police to dispatch TSAR (Directo: Richard McCracken of the Direct Northwest Face on Half Dome, 5.10 A3+ VI 5.13c/d. FA 1963 with Royal Robbins. 1963 Robbins Route, Mount Proboscis, Logan Mountains, NWT, Canada with Jim McCarthy, Layton Kor and Royal Robbins. 1964 North Face Mount Hooker, Wind River Range, Wyoming, USA. With Royal Robbins and Charlie Raymond)

Eats: The World Cup Cafe, on the Taos Plaza, has the best espresso in town. In Arroyo Seco, the Taos Cow is the place for java, lunchables, and ice cream. For muy delicioso New Mexican fare, Orlando’s, in north Taos, serves some of the state’s best chile (say, “Go Christmas,” when ordering, for half-green and half-red). Willing to spend a little more? Check out The Love Apple, built in an old, chapel just east of Taos and serving fresh, locally grown, mouthwatering meals (try the quesadilla with egg). Doc Martin's in the Taos Inn is a must for breakfast or dinner. Ask Bob D'antonio for his recommendations for a meal or climb, he manages the place.

Camping: Most crags have camping on National Forest and BLM land. Particularly primo are the improved Orilla Verde Recreation Area campgrounds, right along the Rio Grande —$7 per night, blm.gov/nm, (575) 751-4899. Hot showers and check with the camp host if you can use the hottub. blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/recre…

Lodging: Why rough it when you can stay in a lux adobe? Donna Longo, Jay Foley’s wife, rents two vacation homes in Arroyo Seco: Casa Seco and Casita Seco, both on an acre of pasture overlooking the Taos Valley. Prices vary according to season and number of people — climbtaos.com/rental.html, (575) 776-2222. Or enjoy the mountain air below El Salto peak at walkingrainguesthouse.com. The iconic Abominable Snowmansion, in Arroyo Seco, offers private and dormitory-style rooms, teepees, and camping — snowmansion.com, (575) 776-8298.

Rest-Day Activities: World-class fly fishing on the Cimarron and Rio Grande, as well as kayaking and rafting on class 2 to 5 rapids; marinate in mineral water at Ojo Caliente hot springs, about an hour southeast Taos; unwind with massage or yoga (Foley recommends amaniyoga.com, [575] 776-8075); hike or bike the myriad mountain trails; ski Taos Ski Valley; go fly fishing thesolitaryangler.com, or visit Taos Pueblo, home to about 150 Taos Indians. First built more than 1,000 years ago, this World Heritage Site is the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States — taospueblo.com, (575) 758-1028.

View from south on Rift Valley MTB trail. Vista Verde, Dead Cholla and Utopian Vistas along dirt road climbing west side of gorge from the Taos Junction Bridge.

Getting to Taos

From Albuquerque: I-25 to Santa Fe; exit on 599 north to by-pass Santa Fe; Hwy. 285 to Hwy. 68 to Taos.
From Arizona: I-40 WEST to Albuquerque; I-25 to Santa Fe; Hwy. 285 to Hwy. 68 to Taos.
From Denver: I-25 to Colorado Springs to Walsenburg; Hwy. 160 to Fort Garland; Hwy. 159 and Hwy. 522 to Taos.
From Texas: I-40 EAST to Albuquerque; I-25 to Santa Fe; Hwy. 285 to Hwy. 68 to Taos.

Driving Distances / Approximate Times to Taos

Albuquerque 135 mi. / 2:15
Amarillo 302 mi / 5:00
Dallas 682 mi / 11:00
Denver 300 mi / 5:00
Durango 208 mi / 3:30
Phoenix 568 mi / 8:30
Santa Fe 72 mi / 1:15

Ernest Blumensheim, founder of the Taos Society of Artists documented his own love of the topography

555 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: Taos Area Change
Type:  to 
Quality:
Pitches:
Sort by:   then:
 

Classic Climbing Routes at Taos Area

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 50
Dirty Diagonal
Trad 2 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 43
Chicken Heads
Trad
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 48
Chicken Shit
Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
 58
Mama Jugs
Trad 2 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 67
Serpentine Crack
Trad 2 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 35
Roadside Construction
Sport
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 39
Tijerina
Sport
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 46
Clean Green Dream
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 37
Alien
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 30
Jam Time
Trad
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13
 28
Serpent Face
Trad
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c PG13
 35
Question of Balance
Trad 5 pitches
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
 25
Obamanos!
Sport
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
 21
Techweenie
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 22
Family Man
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Dirty Diagonal Tres Piedras > Mosaic Rock
 50
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad 2 pitches
Chicken Heads Tres Piedras > Mosaic Rock
 43
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Chicken Shit Tres Piedras > Mosaic Rock
 48
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Mama Jugs Tres Piedras > Mosaic Rock
 58
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13 Trad 2 pitches
Serpentine Crack Tres Piedras > Mosaic Rock
 67
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 2 pitches
Roadside Construction Red River Area > Rdside Distraction
 35
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Tijerina Utopian Vistas > (L2) Hopper's Hangove…
 39
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Clean Green Dream Tres Piedras > Mosaic Rock
 46
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Alien Tres Piedras > W Rock
 37
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Jam Time Dead Cholla Wall
 30
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Serpent Face Tres Piedras > Mosaic Rock
 28
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13 Trad
Question of Balance Questa Dome > Questa Dome
 35
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c PG13 Trad 5 pitches
Obamanos! Utopian Vistas > (L1) John Nichol's Wall
 25
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Sport
Techweenie Tres Piedras > Mosaic Rock
 21
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Sport
Family Man Comales Canyon > Fire Wall & Upper Tier
 22
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
More Classic Climbs in Taos Area »

Weather Averages

High
 
Low
 
Precip
 
Days w Precip
 
Prime Climbing Season
J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D

Photos