Ponderosa Bouldering Climbing
|GPS:||35.686, -106.656 Google Map · Climbing Area Map|
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|Shared By:||Brian Quiter on Aug 3, 2008|
|Admins:||Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski|
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DescriptionPonderosa 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 ThereFrom 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.
Classic Climbing Routes at Ponderosa Bouldering
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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