Elevation: 6,756 ft
GPS: 35.854, -106.258 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 409,961 total · 2,598/month
Shared By: Anthony Stout on Aug 17, 2007
Admins: Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski
Access Issue: COVID-19 New Mexico State Requirements Details

Description

With the amount of climbing right around Los Alamos and White Rock, one would wonder why the locals would ever have to leave! From traditional basalt crags to steep or technical sport climbing, a nice diversity exists around these two towns. The various crags at White Rock have been popular for local and out of town climbers for years, with short approaches and quality basalt, with many of the cliffs being accessible for toproping (as well as leading) on bolted climbs as well as cracks. Now, The Dungeon area near Los Alamos has become the most popular area nearby, with steep overhanging climbs that appeal to the modern-day sport climber.

Getting There

There are two different ways to get to the Los Alamos and White rock areas, one through the Jemez mountains (Highway 4) and the other by taking I-25 toward Santa Fe. The second is the most common and the quickest from either Albuquerque or Santa Fe.

From I-25, head either north or south toward Santa Fe (depending on where you are coming from), and get onto highway 285/84 toward Pojoaque. From Pojoaque head west on highway 502. Highway 502 will take you to Los Alamos or White Rock. Follow directions to specific areas from here.

Logistics

Camping
The best developed campground in the area is the Juniper Campground of Bandelier National Monument . It has running water but no showers or electric, and is very convenient especially to White Rock. It is closed for most of the winter.

Another option nearby is Camp May by the Pajarito Mtn. Ski Area.

Free undeveloped camping can be found west of Los Alamos and Bandelier in the Jemez. Good places to look are on the dirt roads that head north from NM-4 as you're going west from Los Alamos before you get to the Valles Caldera; and off the road to the Pajarito Ski Hill. Don't camp on National Lab or in Bandelier Monument (except at the campground).

Supplies
Good grocery stores are Smiths in Los Alamos and White Rock.
The nearest camping/climbing gear shop is in Santa Fe: Sangre de Cristo Mtn Works and REI.

Other attractions
-Bandelier National Monument hosts must-see archaelogy and a short loop hike can be completed in a couple of hours.
-The town of Los Alamos doesn't offer much of interest, although the museum documenting the history of this unique town built during WWII may intrigue those interested in history and science.
-The Valles Caldera National Preserve in the Jemez Mtns offers recreational opportunities for cross-country skiing and mountain biking, as well as the largest elk herd in the Jemez; however, access is not always simple.
-Pajarito Ski Area west of Los Alamos offers uncrowded skiing Fri-Sun, or skin up on the days it's closed.
-Mtn biking: various excellent mtn. biking trails are found near Los Alamos.

Looking for a Partner?

If you're in the area for a short time, and don't know anyone.. there are a couple options if you want to do some climbing but don't want to commit to a plan.

An informal toproping group loosely affiliated with the Los Alamos Mountaineers heads to a different White Rock crag and shares anchors and ropes- every Tuesday and Thursday around 5 pm from March to October. Visiting climbers and non-Mountaineering-club-members are welcome to join in. By sharing toprope anchors and ropes, you can get a lot of climbs in before dark. Just show up, bring gear if you have it, but just a harness and shoes is enough if you don't. The schedule (and directions to the crags) is posted online here:
lamountaineers.org/index.html

The Dungeon: there are almost always people climbing here on workday evenings, getting a workout on the 5.12s on the Main Wall. The climbing community here is friendly and the climbs are pumpy enough that offering a belay to an out-of-towner is a great way for the locals to have an excuse to rest. If you're a visiting sport climber who can get up 5.12s, this is probably your best option.

550 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

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Classic Climbing Routes at Los Alamos & White Rock

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 60
Princess Buttercup
Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 56
The Fire Swamp
Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 63
99 Red Balloons
Sport
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 48
Cholla Crack
Trad, TR
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 44
Beginner's Hand Jam
Trad, TR
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 36
Upper Kor's Crack
Trad, TR
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b PG13
 41
Cholla Wall
Trad, TR
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
 77
Holy Wall
Sport, TR
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 48
Way Beyond Zebra
Sport, TR
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 35
Thorazine Dream
Sport, TR
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 62
Against Nature (aka Peter's Route)
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 57
Moat Jump
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 38
Face Off
Sport, TR
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 51
Crimp Chimp
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 43
Gangland
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Princess Buttercup White Rock > Gallows Edge > Main Wall
 60
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Sport
The Fire Swamp White Rock > Gallows Edge > Main Wall
 56
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
99 Red Balloons White Rock > Gallows Edge > Main Wall
 63
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Cholla Crack White Rock > Overlook > South/E side
 48
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, TR
Beginner's Hand Jam White Rock > Playground
 44
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, TR
Upper Kor's Crack White Rock > Potrillo Cliffs
 36
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, TR
Cholla Wall White Rock > Overlook > South/E side
 41
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b PG13 Trad, TR
Holy Wall White Rock > Overlook > South/E side
 77
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b Sport, TR
Way Beyond Zebra White Rock > Overlook > South/E side
 48
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport, TR
Thorazine Dream White Rock > Overlook > South/E side
 35
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport, TR
Against Nature (aka Peter's… Dungeon > Main Wall
 62
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Moat Jump Dungeon > Main Wall
 57
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Face Off White Rock > Overlook > South/E side
 38
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport, TR
Crimp Chimp Dungeon > 45° Boulder
 51
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Gangland Dungeon > Main Wall
 43
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
More Classic Climbs in Los Alamos & White Rock »

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