Elevation: 9,918 ft
GPS: 35.236, -106.463 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 47,125 total · 297/month
Shared By: Orphaned on Oct 13, 2007 · Updates
Admins: Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski
Access Issue: COVID-19 New Mexico State Requirements Details

Description

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.

To see another party on this formation might seem unlikely. However, because there is only a limited time that climbers can legally access these routes, the likelihood of getting scooped is higher than you might think.

Getting There

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 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.

From the base: Park at Piedra Lisa Trail Head 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 will 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.

14 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.
Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c
 88
Knife Edge
Trad, Alpine
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 3
Route 6
Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
 18
Procrastination
Trad, Alpine 10 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R
 7
Chicken Chop Suey
Trad, Alpine 10 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 8
The Odyssey
Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 8
Slipping Into Darkness
Trad, Alpine 10 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R
 6
Rainbow Dancer
Trad, Alpine 9 pitches
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c A4+ R
 3
Purple Haze
Trad, Aid, Alpine 10 pitches
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 4
The Promise Land
Trad, Alpine 11 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Knife Edge
 88
Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c Trad, Alpine
Route 6
 3
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
Procrastination
 18
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R Trad, Alpine 10 pitches
Chicken Chop Suey
 7
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R Trad, Alpine 10 pitches
The Odyssey
 8
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
Slipping Into Darkness
 8
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad, Alpine 10 pitches
Rainbow Dancer
 6
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R Trad, Alpine 9 pitches
Purple Haze
 3
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c A4+ R Trad, Aid, Alpine 10 pitches
The Promise Land
 4
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Trad, Alpine 11 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Shield »

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