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Routes in Gemstone East

Emerald City T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Opal T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
Revenge of the Elderly T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Sapphire T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Surf Naked T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
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Elevation: 8,000 ft
GPS: 35.205, -106.487 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 5,979 total · 43/month
Shared By: Monomaniac on May 7, 2007
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


This excellent crag offers numerous stellar 3 pitch slab climbs. The most classic route is Revenge Of the Elderly, but it seems that all of the routes here are excellent, featuring perhaps the best stone in the Sandias.

Climbs can be a bit runout in spots, and vegetation is common on the less popular lines. Despite its North facing aspect, this crag does get sun in the summer months. All routes are gear protected, though a few lines offer the occasional bolt. This is slab paradise, so polish your footwork and dust off the RPs before trying the harder lines.

All routes require a rappel descent.

Getting There

As for all Sandia crags, the approach can be traumatic the first time out. Once dialed, however, it should only take 30 minutes.

Begin at the La Cueva picnic ground. From the outhouse, walk 50 feet south on the paved road to the first parking space on the E side of the road. Pick up a trail heading E from the parking space. This trail joins the "Tramway Trail" after 200 yds. Head N (left) on the Tramway Trail for about 200yds. Just before the trail enters the La Cueva Canyon river bottom, there is a brown wooden post on the left that identifies the Tramway Trail. Head E at this junction on a good trail into La Cueva Canyon. You will cross numerous slabs, but stay on the S (rt) side of the river for the first 5 minutes or so. The trail is always good, so you shouldn't be bushwhacking, but occasionally the trail disappears as it crosses open slabs.

Eventually the trail crosses the river. Continue on the N side of the river to a point where many large boulders have recently fallen to the canyon bottom. At this point some easy scrambling over boulders is required. At the top of this talus field, Flake n Bake will appear on the left (N). Continue E another 50 feet, along the N side of the creek, then follow the canyon as it snakes hard to the left (N). After heading N for 50 feet, the trail heads back toward the creek through thick brush. Duck under a massive boulder and cross the crick (if you were born near Datil, or creek if you were born elsewhere). You are now on the E side of the creek. Head S for 10 feet, then turn back to the E and head up a small slab. Traverse right along the top of the slab, then pick up a steep but good climbers trail that switches back up the rounded ridge. Continue towards the "Aid Boulder" (see photo) -- a steep short overhanging boulder with some old aid relics and bolts. Once at the boulder, traverse E below the Gemstone slabs. There are many route-finding options here. To reach Gemstone Slabs East, cross under the Gemstone Slabs West area, and continue another 50 yds up canyon.

5 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Gemstone East

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
Trad, Alpine 3 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Surf Naked
Trad, Alpine 3 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Revenge of the Elderly
Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Emerald City
Trad, Alpine 2 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13 Trad, Alpine 3 pitches
Surf Naked
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, Alpine 3 pitches
Revenge of the Elderly
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
Emerald City
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, Alpine 2 pitches
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