Elevation: 6,500 ft
GPS: 35.686, -106.656 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 102,345 total · 693/month
Shared By: Brian Quiter on Aug 3, 2008
Admins: Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski
Access Issue: COVID-19 New Mexico State Requirements Details

Description

Ponderosa is acclaimed as the best bouldering in New Mexico. Climbing ranges from thin face problems to steep overhung burl-fests with both lowball and highball climbing. The rock is volcanic tuff, but quite different from the popular tuff area, the Happys in California. Ponderosa doesn't have the thick and solid patina layer that the Happys does. Where there is thick patina here, it is probably choss. But where the patina is thin, it is awesome and very grainy, making for excellent pocketed face climbs. Conversely, the climbing on the underside of the boulders is quite similar to the Happys.

There appear to be classics here of all difficulties. I can't really vouch for the harder climbs, but Marc Beverly's "Jemez Rock" book covers the area well, and vouches for the quality of climbing. That said, his book also has many omissions and I noticed a couple errors.

That Beverly's book has omissions isn't really a bad thing... there are a LOT of boulders with obvious problems he doesn't document, but know they are there!

The setting is pleasant once you get away from the road - I encountered abandoned used diapers in the parking area (yuck) but the boulders are surrounded by Pinons and generally nice scenery on a gentle hillside.

It appears that people have camped under boulders, I'm not sure whether this is permitted, but there is certainly camping nearby. Just up the road is a national forest campground. Suds are available in Ponderosa, and there are more services on Hwy 4.

Getting There

From any direction, the easiest way to get to Ponderosa is via Highway 4, then go east in northern Jemez Pueblo on Highway 290 aka Forest Road 10 towards the town of Ponderosa. After you pass the only bar in Ponderosa, it is 2.6 miles to the parking area. After you pass an irrigation pond, look for the turn to the left. This is parking for the lower area. I can't tell you how to get to the upper area because I haven't been.

From the north, it is easier to turn left off of Highway 4 near the mailboxes between mile markers 33 and 34. There's also a sign saying to turn left here for Ponderosa. From here, you follow Forest Road 10 for ~15 miles, hoping you stay on FR 10 and not some other road. I went this way, but I can't tell you the exact mileage because at one point, the signs indicating you're still on 10 become rare and the road gets worse (and I turned around to see if any other roads were better - they weren't). But if you follow the straight-looking way at any intersection, you'll get there. After ~13 miles, you come upon the aforementioned national forest campground, then right before the pond, turn a soft right into the parking area.

From the gate at the end of the parking area, follow the 'road' westward towards the north end of the pond. From here, most boulders are further west, climbing a gentle ridge via a good trail, however the Cube is more northward (and visible) up the wash.

The GPS location is somewhere in the middle of the climbing.

155 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Ponderosa Bouldering

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
V2 5+
 24
KFAD arete
Boulder
V3 6A
 39
Spitoon AKA: The Scoop
Boulder
V3 6A
 17
Picture Perfect
Boulder
V4- 6B
 16
Fannie Mae
Boulder
V4 6B
 11
Cowboy Up, AKA: The Tall Arete
Boulder
V5- 6C
 18
Dot Dot Space, AKA: V5 ArĂȘte
Boulder
V5-6 6C+
 3
Jesus Built My Stockcar
Boulder
V6 7A
 5
The Joker
Boulder
V7 7A+
 20
King for a Day
Boulder
V7 7A+
 9
Powerstroke
Boulder
V7 7A+
 3
Swiss Cheese
Boulder
V7 7A+
 3
What's the Scoop
Boulder
V7 7A+
 9
Scoop
Boulder
V9 7C
 7
The Valsalva Maneuver AKA: Left…
Boulder
V10+ 7C+
 5
Mario Andretti
Boulder
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
KFAD arete Pond > King for a Day Boulder
 24
V2 5+ Boulder
Spitoon AKA: The Scoop Pond > Scoop Boulder
 39
V3 6A Boulder
Picture Perfect Pond > Picture Perfect Boulder
 17
V3 6A Boulder
Fannie Mae Pond > Fannie Mae
 16
V4- 6B Boulder
Cowboy Up, AKA: The Tall Arete Pond > Scoop Boulder
 11
V4 6B Boulder
Dot Dot Space, AKA: V5 ArĂȘte Pond > King for a Day Boulder
 18
V5- 6C Boulder
Jesus Built My Stockcar Pond > NASCAR Boulder
 3
V5-6 6C+ Boulder
The Joker Pond > King for a Day Boulder
 5
V6 7A Boulder
King for a Day Pond > King for a Day Boulder
 20
V7 7A+ Boulder
Powerstroke Pond > NASCAR Boulder
 9
V7 7A+ Boulder
Swiss Cheese Pond > Upper Deck > Tree Slab
 3
V7 7A+ Boulder
What's the Scoop Pond > Upper Deck > Lost Descent
 3
V7 7A+ Boulder
Scoop Satellite > Pinball Simulator Area
 9
V7 7A+ Boulder
The Valsalva Maneuver AKA:… Satellite > Pinball Simulator Area
 7
V9 7C Boulder
Mario Andretti Pond > NASCAR Boulder
 5
V10+ 7C+ Boulder
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