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Routes in Mexican Breakfast Formation

Mexican Breakfast Crack T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Tarantula T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b


The Mexican Breakfast formation is a relatively minor formation ~160' tall, located just in front of and below the big west face of Torreon. It would probably be forgotten amongst the larger faces in the Sandias were it not for the striking 10' horizontal roof midway up it, and its clean cracks. The namesake route on the cliff, Mexican Breakfast Crack, is a Sandia classic, and Tarantula, the other obvious line on the formation, is relatively high quality as well.

The crag faces southwest, and is therefore shaded until the afternoon.

A logical enchainment is to do a climb on Mexican Breakfast Formation followed by one on Torreon, to get max climbing with minimal hiking.

Getting There

A couple of options for the approach to Mexican Breakfast formation.
  • The fastest and recommended way is the Torreon approach, which leads you to the top of the Mexican Breakfast formation. [Go down the Crest Spur trail to the first switchback, and take a faint trail heading north through the forest, and after around 100 or so yards begin looking for a 4th class descent through the limestone (this is just before a dead tree you'd need to step over or under gets in the way). After this downclimb, the trail kind of disappears, but go down staying on the ridge as best as possible. You might come to a collapsed log building in a flatter area. Go north from here and drop in the 2nd gully, which has a striking greenish-yellow arete/corner. The gully ends at a talus slope at the base of the cliff, follow this north to reach the base of Torreon and top of Mexican Breakfast. You can also reach this same place going down the Sentinel approach gully. This approach is also written up on the Torreon page .] From the base of Torreon, the granite tip that doesn't look like much just to the west is the top of Mexican Breakfast formation. Scramble down on talus to either side to reach the base. Should take ~40 minutes or so.
  • A slower but more relaxed approach (with no risk of getting lost) is to hike down the La Luz to below The Thumb. At the switchback where the La Luz trail gets near to the drainage in the middle of La Cueva canyon, start to veer over up through thin forest to the formation. This has the advantage that you can pick out the formation and know about where you're headed, but takes about an hour to get to the base.

Getting Back

The most fun thing to do would be to continue up one of the Torreon climbs- if you're doing this, come prepared for 5 more pitches, and to climb with everything you carried.

If hiking out, head down the talus, through the trees, to the La Luz Trail, and hike up its relatively gentle grade of the La Luz Trail ("gentle" compared to steep gully alternative). Reversing the Torreon approach gully wouldn't be fun.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Mexican Breakfast Formation

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Mexican Breakfast Crack
Trad, Alpine 2 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Trad, Alpine
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Mexican Breakfast Crack 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad, Alpine 2 pitches
Tarantula 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad, Alpine
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