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West Ridge T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b


This 450 foot granite fin, one of the most westerly crags in upper La Cueva Canyon, is dwarfed by Yataghan to the north and Chaos Crag to the east. The crag is mentioned in Kline (1970:27) and Hill (1993:144), but no topos are published. Presumably all the established routes ascend the western face.
The FA's passed by a frog (toad?) in a crack on their ascent, hence the name. Hill also points out that the profile of the summit block, when viewed from below the west face, is also frog-like (or just as easily could be a Guinea Pig?).

Getting There

Approach: From the Crest, hike down the La Luz trail, past all the switchbacks, to the creek crossing (marked by a steel trail sign; about 1:00 hiking time). You are near the southern foot of the Frog formation. To approach climbs on the western face, continue west ca. 50 yards to a rock slab adjacent to the north side of the trail. Scramble up this slab and hug the base of the cliff as you continue north (same as The Happy Gnome approach). After a couple hundred yards you reach the gully that separates the Frog from the Yataghan, farther north. This gully is guarded by a huge chockstone with a big cave underneath. The West Ridge route starts near here.
Descent: After summiting, walk north off the summit ridge (a few Class 3 moves). Hill says to then descend back to the La Luz trail by bushwacking south, down the gully on the east side of the crag, but thatÂ’s crazy talk. Since you probably left your water and packs at the western base, you can just as easily rock-hop down the loose Class 3 gully that leads west, between the Frog and Yataghan. Do a 40-foot rap off the chockstone at the bottom of the gully to land next to the cave.

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Bill Lawry
New Mexico
Bill Lawry   New Mexico
If taking the westerly gully, don't miss the ring piton in the brow of the huge chock stone.

And if you came down from the Crest and plan to descend from the summit by the more easterly gully (haven't tried it), consider leaving big packs nearer the bottom of the easterly gully. Am unsure exactly where that is but somewhere uphill from the metal sign should work. Mar 31, 2014
We thought rock quality was mostly good, with the 4th class 3rd pitch being a notable exception (loose blocks; would have tried the direct finish except for lateness and wind). Protection also seemed generally good, and only got runout in a couple places (but had to meander a bit to find places to place good pro). Overall, an enjoyable climb. Jun 7, 2013
This route is not worth the hike. Rock quality is poor,and protection is minimal. I think it's one of the worst routes I have done in the Sandias.
We were not off rout and we are not beginners. Mar 14, 2011
Dave Hammack and I did this around 1961 or thereabouts. We named it "The Frog" since there was a tiny green frog (toad?) inside a crack on the second or third pitch. Sep 15, 2009

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