Elevation: 8,225 ft
GPS: 35.233, -106.464 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 59,786 total · 427/month
Shared By: Chris Wenker on Feb 10, 2009
Admins: Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski
Access Issue: COVID-19 New Mexico State Requirements Details

Description

Juan Tabo Canyon has its headwaters in the huge west-facing amphitheater south of North Sandia Peak. The north side of the canyon is prominently defined by the massive wall of the Shield. The southern margin of the canyon is formed by the ridge that connects The Needle with The Prow.

Getting There

Depending on which crag you are targeting, or, sometimes, even which side of the crag you are heading for, the approaches to the climbs in Juan Tabo Canyon may involve either hiking down from the Crest or up from below. For example, the lower crags like UNM Spire and the Prow are commonly approached from below, using the Piedra Lisa Trail to access either the Fletcher or Movie Trails, respectively. Climbs on the eastern side of the Shield are commonly approached from above, from the North Crest Trail, but they may also be reached from below via the Fletcher Trail. Routes on the western end of the Shield may be better approached by the Piedra Lisa and Rincon Spur Trails. Similarly, the Needle may be approached by either dropping down from the North Crest Trail or by coming up from below, going up the Movie Trail or Waterfall Canyon.

Descents off of the Shield may be as straightforward as hiking back to the North Crest Trail, if you approached it from above. Conversely, if you approached the Shield from below, it may be more complicated. One can descend the Knife Edge, although that involves low-fifth-class downclimbing and traversing through the "W". Alternately, some reports indicate that hiking from the top of the Shield up to the Crest and then taking either Chimney Canyon or the La Luz Trail back to the bottom works.

The eastern portion of the canyon, the part that lies above about 7100 feet elevation and contains all the crags of interest, is contained in the Sandia Mountain Wilderness, with all the attendant USFS restrictions.

18 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Juan Tabo Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c
 85
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 PG13
 33
Southwest Ridge
Trad, Alpine 10 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 Shield
 85
Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c Trad, Alpine
Route 6 Shield
 3
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
Southwest Ridge Needle
 33
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13 Trad, Alpine 10 pitches
Procrastination Shield
 18
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R Trad, Alpine 10 pitches
Chicken Chop Suey Shield
 7
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R Trad, Alpine 10 pitches
The Odyssey Shield
 8
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
Slipping Into Darkness Shield
 8
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad, Alpine 10 pitches
Rainbow Dancer Shield
 6
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R Trad, Alpine 9 pitches
Purple Haze Shield
 3
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c A4+ R Trad, Aid, Alpine 10 pitches
The Promise Land Shield
 4
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Trad, Alpine 11 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Juan Tabo Canyon »

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