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Areas in Tres Piedras

Aspen Alley 5 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
Beastie Alley 7 / 7 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 12
Far Rock 2 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Independence Gully 4 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Lookout Shelf 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Middle Rock 4 / 4 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 7
Mosaic Rock 27 / 8 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 32
North Rock 2 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
South Rock 11 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 12
Tres Piedras Bouldering 0 / 0 / 0 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
West Rock 6 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 7
Elevation: 8,408 ft
GPS: 36.661, -105.983 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 70,325 total · 520/month
Shared By: Mark Mathis on Jul 12, 2007 with updates from Levi Wilner and 1 other
Admins: Mike Howard, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski
Getting weather forecast...
Access Issue: Some rocks in this area are on private property. Property owner requests signed waiver. Details


Tres Piedras offers a selection of traditional routes on quality granite slabs, cracks, and steep faces. Spanish for "Three Rocks" Tres Piedras (obviously) consists of six major rock formations.

In addition to the taller routes, the bouldering is excellent here and it is not uncommon to see as many crashpads as ropes.

The 2 guidebooks ('Taos Rock' and 'Rock Climbing: New Mexico') are both excellent and virtually identical as far as the route descriptions and photos. 'Taos Rock' (unlike RC:NM) also documents some of the bouldering.
An aging incomplete guide by Bill Johnson, John Joline, Cayce Weber and Lee Sheftel from the 70s is posted on the LA Mountaineers website here

First Ascentionist Bruce Holthouse on his Clean Green Dream Image courtesy of All rights reserved.
Bruce Holthouse climbing Clean Green Dream on the the 30th anniversary of the FA.

Getting There

The small village of Tres Piedras is at the junction of US 285 and US 64. From the intersection, go west on US 64 for 0.7 miles (past the ranger station) to an unmarked dirt road on the right. Look for the big green water tower on the ground. Go through the barbwire fence gate (and close it behind you). Follow this for 0.5 miles to the parking area (left at the "T", left at the "Y").

U.S. Forest Service Information

Guide Service - Mountain Skills…

96 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Tres Piedras

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Dirty Diagonal
Trad 2 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Chicken Heads
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Chicken Shit
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Yikes Dikes
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
Mama Jugs
Trad 2 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Serpentine Crack
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Clean Green Dream
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Gila Monster
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Unknown (Right of Mama Jugs)
Trad, Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13
Better Red Than Dead
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Cowboy Bob's Chickenhead Delight
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13
Serpent Face
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Holthouse to Hell
Trad 2 pitches
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Dirty Diagonal Mosaic Rock
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad 2 pitches
Chicken Heads Mosaic Rock
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Chicken Shit Mosaic Rock
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Yikes Dikes S Rock
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Mama Jugs Mosaic Rock
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13 Trad 2 pitches
Serpentine Crack Mosaic Rock
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 2 pitches
Clean Green Dream Mosaic Rock
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Alien W Rock
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Gila Monster Aspen Alley
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Sport
Unknown (Right of Mama Jugs) Mosaic Rock
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad, Sport
Better Red Than Dead Mosaic Rock
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13 Trad
Cowboy Bob's Chickenhead De… Middle Rock
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Serpent Face Mosaic Rock
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13 Trad
Holthouse to Hell Mosaic Rock
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c Trad 2 pitches
Techweenie Mosaic Rock
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Sport
More Classic Climbs in Tres Piedras »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season
Chris Wenker
Santa Fe
Chris Wenker   Santa Fe
Historical Query: In the old-school guide that is linked here, does anyone know what the capitalized letters in the route descriptions stood for?
Such as:
BLACK LICHEN (5.6 I, 1 pitch, B.P. )
CRACK N' FRICTION (5.5, I, 1 pitch, E. )
QUEEN CRACK (5.8, II, 1 pitch , E.D. )

What do the "B.P." "E." and "E.D." stand for? These are the only three acronyms that are used, appearing repeatedly throughout the document. Are they descriptions of the protection? Maybe, because "E.D." appears to correlate with climbs that were not free leads. Jun 2, 2008
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
Chris Wenker wrote:does anyone know what the capitalized letters in the route descriptions stood for? What do the "B.P." "E." and "E.D." stand for?
Chris, you may have already gotten this information but for the edification of others, I just recently posed this question to long-time local climber Norbert E. and his response was:
Norbert E. wrote:But I think I remember that they refer to the protection on the route. B.P. is Bomb Proof, E. I don't remember, and E.D. is Extremely Dangerous. I think you will see that these designations are appropriate for the climbs listed.
Apr 28, 2009
Chris Wenker
Santa Fe
Chris Wenker   Santa Fe
Thanks for that info Jason.
Dennis Jackson's books mention that a "classic unbound, self-published guidebook by Cayce Weber and Ed Jaramillo has been circulating since 1981."

But the .pdf that's on the LAM site is apparently not that guide. I've been told by a guidebook author that the .pdf is an even earlier version that was put together by Bill Johnson, John Joline, Cayce Weber and Lee Sheftel. (How old does that make it?).
So, it'd be cool to actually see Weber and Jaramillo's 1981 guide too.

I'm still hoping someday to figure out the locations of some of those older climbs that aren't in the modern guidebooks (like where Puddin' really goes, or where Summer Dreams should be (I think it differs from Jackson's description), and comparing Bats in the Belfry versus Crowbait, etc). Apr 30, 2009
Just spent three awesome days in TP! Great climbing and some great locals. Thanks for the beta, and the little pick me up. Can't wait to come back! May 7, 2009
George Perkins
The Dungeon, NM
George Perkins   The Dungeon, NM
It's tough to feel good when climbing at your limit over 30+ year old rusty 1/4" bolts.

Also, it's important to remember that:
On most climbs at TP, and nearly all of those 5.10 or under, the fixed gear and bolts are in great condition and trustworthy,
despite the reputation this area has unfortunately gained over the years. First time visitors, and climbers staying on 5.10 or easier climbs, should not be discouraged from coming here, and should not worry about bolts.

Here's my take on the known and suspect hardware to help people avoid (or seek out?), or upgrade these routes. The majority of climbs at TP appear OK. I'm not sure about the buttonheads- I think the 1/4" ones are sketchy but the 5/16" are generally considered trustworthy? Don't hesitate to let me know if you see any scary fixed gear that I haven't found yet, so I can update this list:

Lookout Shelf- From Here to There- 1 bolt- haven't climbed it or looked at it
S Rock- Airy Scary- 2 bolts- 1st bolt is 1/4" but 5.10 climbers won't fall there; 2nd bolt ok; 1st pin ok; 2nd pin = junk
Mosaic Rock- Raise the Titanic- 1 bolt is ok(?); comment on MP says (2) pins should be checked
Mosaic Rock- Clean Green Dream- possibly 1/4" first bolt - REPLACED 11/10/09 SS FIXE 3/8x2 3/4 Bolts with Fixe Hanger (all holes over-drilled 2 cm deeper)
Mosaic Rock- Holthouse in a Haulsack- has 2 1/4" bolts and 4 pins that look fair/good
Mosaic Rock- In Step (direct start to Bolts to Nowhere)- some modern bolts, some buttonhead bolts, 1st bolt has no hanger- REPLACED missing Hanger on first bolt
Mosaic Rock- Bolts to Nowhere- at least 2 buttonhead bolts
Mosaic Rock- Holthouse to Hell- all 6(?) bolts are 1/4"- REPLACED 11/09/09 Hilti Quick Bolt 3 with plated Fixe hanger. Thanks to Jay and Mountain Skills for the hardware
Mosaic Rock- Direct Start- bolts are buttonheads, but they held when I fell on them- REPLACED 11/10/09 with SS FIXE 3/8 and Fixe Hangers
Mosaic Rock- climb left of Holthouse to Hell- buttonheads
Mosaic Rock- Serpent Face- all bolts are ok (may have been replaced at some point ~10 yrs ago?)
Mosaic Rock- Better Red Than Dead- first 2 bolts are 1/4"- REPLACED 11/10/09 SS FIXE 3/8x2 3/4 Bolts with painted Fixe Hanger
Mosaic Rock- Chicken Heads- the recently installed bolted anchor was chopped (might have been for a line left of this?)
Mosaic Rock- 5 Years After - bolted anchor was chopped, but reinstalled -REMOVED SMASHED BUTTONHEAD, PATCHED HOLES, CLEANED 11/10/09
Mosaic Rock-Dirty Diagonal- bolted anchor was chopped, but reinstalled CLEANED 11/10/09
Mosaic Rock- TBOL- 2 buttonheads and 2 3/8" bolts, all with SMC hangers
Mosaic Rock- Seaman Girl- 1 buttonhead with SMC hanger- may have been replaced now?
Independence Gully- all bolts & anchors are ok
Beastie Alley- Unnatural Attraction- only one bolt at the top of the steep section, there may have been a 2-bolt anchor here previously
Beastie Alley- forgotten mixed line left of 41 with 2 old 1/4" bolts could be replaced
Beastie Alley- mixed line right of Inner Sanctum- 1 1/4" bolt on this, but you could maybe get to the new bolts of I.Sanctum.
Middle Rock- Cowgirl Pump- haven't climbed it; Taos Rock says "old bolt", I looked for it but didn't see it from the next climb over.
Middle Rock- Dragons Lair- 3 bolts, put in '90, probably is good, but I haven't looked at it
Middle Rock- Grandmas Cancer- 5 bolts, haven't climbed or looked at it
Middle Rock- Raging Chicken- 4 bolts, put in '90, probably is good, but I haven't looked at it
West Rock- Alien- anchor was upgraded with chains in '08
West Rock- Geez Louise- bolt is old rusty 1/4"
Aspen Alley- all bolts and anchors are ok, except "Analog Analogy" is missing hangers.
North Rock- I haven't been out here. Supposedly some of these were chopped; and/or are 1/4" bolts.

Edit: most recently edited 6/15. Jul 20, 2009
William Penner
The 505
William Penner   The 505
I agree with George--90% of the best routes at TP have good to excellent natural and fixed gear. The remaining 10% with gear in possibly poor condition are mostly harder routes or less interesting obscurities. Jul 20, 2009
Jan Studebaker
Jemez Springs, NM
Jan Studebaker   Jemez Springs, NM
The Los Alamos Mountaineers now have a guide to Tres Piedras that combines several sources together to create an easy to follow climbing guide to the area. MountainProject route descriptions are referenced for all routes. Many thanks go to all who helped with the individual descriptions!

Click here to view this guide. Apr 27, 2010
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
Very nice work, Jan. Thanks.

And speaking of the LA Mountaineers, I believe the annual LAM climbing school graduation is being held at TP this Saturday, 5/1/2010. If you seek solitude at TP, it's best to avoid the area this Saturday. Apr 27, 2010
no need for the rope,bouldering there is awsome, beer crashpad and colorado green is all you need,warm no people and tons of virgin lines love it. Mar 31, 2012
Does anyone know if there are any moderate routes accessible from the top for some rope soloing? Aug 1, 2013
Owen S.
Los Alamos
Owen S.   Los Alamos
yep, aspen alley Aug 1, 2013
Thanks Owen! Do you know specifically which of the route anchors are accessible from the top? Aug 2, 2013
Owen S.
Los Alamos
Owen S.   Los Alamos
all of them I think. Ive definitely set up/taken down anchors on Unknown 5.10a, Analog Analogy 5.11b/Digital Dilemma 5.11c (same anchor) & zorro 10a. Im fairly sure gila monster is the same. the "unknown" 10a is actually a cool climb and you can do a few variations on toprope. Actually the bolted line isnt the easiest line - on TR you can climb this face at ~5.9. Aug 2, 2013
evan h
Denver, CO
evan h   Denver, CO
There is a new restaurant/cafe/grocery store/B&B at Tres Piedras called Chili Line Depot. On the way back to CO this morning, we stopped in for a quick breakfast burrito. We met one of the owners, Debbie, and she expressed a lot of excitement about serving the climbing community in the future. She was amazingly friendly and showed us around the bedrooms for rent, which also included a pool table/lounge area. The breakfast burritos were excellent (didn't try any other food). I think the bedroom might be a great option for colder temps when camping is out of the question. Either way, I told her I'd give a shout out on MP, so stop in and say hi! Their number is 575-758-1701.… Sep 1, 2014
I found a blue lightweight puffy jacket at the base of dirty diagonal. If this is yours let me know and I will get it back to you. May 1, 2016
Teddy, sent pm to you about the found puffy., but no response, so: I believe I know owner, says he left/lost it at Mosaic a few weeks back. blue Golite. plz let me know if you think it matches. May 3, 2016
Laura.Burkhardt   Alamosa
HI! My name is Laura. I recently moved to Alamosa and am seeking climbing partners for Tres Peidras and other areas. Let me know if you'd like to get out! 720-355-8484. Thanks!!! Aug 13, 2016
Cait Vitale
Pocatello, ID
Cait Vitale   Pocatello, ID
Headed down to New Mexico this next week and hoping to climb in the Taos area- How are snow conditions there? I assume to basalt areas are good, but would love to climb some granite. Thanks! Mar 17, 2018
Due to Peregrine nesting, the Forest Service is requesting that climbers keep their distance from the nest. The nest is located near the Alien; Therefore, West rock and the West side of Middle Rock is closed to climbing. Jun 21, 2018

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