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Elevation: 9,918 ft
GPS: 35.23568, -106.46289
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Page Views: 73,117 total · 367/month
Shared By: Orphaned on Oct 13, 2007 · Updates
Admins: Jason Halladay, Mike Hoskins, Anna Brown

Description Suggest change

The Shield is truly a "rite of passage" at several levels of climbing in the Sandias. This is the biggest wall in the area and harbors some of the most difficult and long routes in the state. 

Most climbs on the Shield are a very serious undertaking. You are very much alone here, like the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. There's no water, the rock is variable and much of the climbing can be run-out, especially on crux pitches. The rewards are high for summiting! This is one of the most beautiful places in the Sandias when the aspens change.

The first climbing accident was logged on the Knife Edge of the Shield and most recently, a plane crashed just below the North Peak leaving shrapnel all throughout the oaks in 2007.

Getting There Suggest change

Access from the top: 
Park at the last switchback on the Crest Road. Hike the North Crest Trail to North Peak. This is easy to find if you keep peeking out over the limestone band. Descend the limestone band on a fairly beaten climbers' path. From about 1/2 the distance from the North Peak drop-off to the top of the Shield, start to bear back towards the southeast. Look for a few aspen trees in a gully where a static fixed line is tied off to a pine tree. Rap the fixed line or rap your own rope(s). Drop down skiers' left for 10m and then cut back through a notch and contour across to find some hand lines several hundred meters from the rap station. This will gain you access to the Ramp and routes Smorgasboard to Procrastination. Details on the fixed rappel and hand lines.

Access from the base: 
Park at Piedra Lisa TrailHead and plan for at least a 1.5 hour approach via the Fletcher "trail". To find the Fletcher Trail, start up the Piedra Lisa Trail. It will initially rise and then fall back into a creek bed. At this point veer slightly north (to the right and at a 1-20' slightly higher contour. The trail is very faint. You'll pretty much think you are on a game trail. Follow this faint trail along a north-trending creek bed and toward the Rincon Ridge/Placitas until the trail begins to steepen. Look carefully for the Fletcher Trail as it gains elevation and eventually brings you the base of UNM Spire, and subsequently, the Shield if accessing anything from Procrastination or climbs farther to the right. For accessing the Standard "S" route and climbs farther left, it may be easier to gain the Rincon Spur trail (essentially the Knife Edge) and traverse in.

18 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Shield

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
More Classic Climbs in Shield »

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