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On July 1, 2020, the New Mexico state governor issued an executive order (cv.nmhealth.org/wp-content/…) requiring all visitors from out of state to self-isolate or self-quarantine for a period of at least 14 days from the date of their entry into the State of New Mexico or for the duration of their presence in the State, whichever is shorter. The terms "self-isolate" or "self-quarantine" refer the voluntary physical separation of a person or group of people in a residence or other place of lodging. Any person who is self-isolating or self-quarantining may only leave a residence or place of lodging to receive medical care and should not allow others into the residence or place of lodging except for those providing medical care, emergency response, or other individuals designated by the New Mexico Department of Health.
The executive order also closes all New Mexico State Parks to non-NM residents.
This Executive Order shall take effect on July 1, 2020 and shall remain in effect through the duration of the public health emergency declared in Executive Order 2020-004 and any extensions of that emergency declaration or until it is rescinded.
Additionally, NM state guidance requires all persons to wear a mask anytime they are out in public, including outdoor recreation areas.
Celebrating the spirit of escapism, independence and defiance many of these route names honor the visionaries, artists, authors and crazies that saw a Utopia in Northern New Mexico's Vistas.
These are new routes and they might still give up a hold or two so a helmet is recommended. Yearly freeze thaw can be severe on New Mexico's basalt, climb with caution.
The geology of the Rio Grande Box is largely volcanic. Olivine tholeiite basalt forms the three main layers of the Servilleta Basalt. The middle basalt unit is separated from the upper and lower tiers by layers of sediment forming the benches. These horizontal basalt layers of dark-gray, pahoehoe (ropey), vesicular (air pocketed) lava compose the main climbing walls in the gorge (Vista Verde, Utopian Vistas, Dead Cholla, John Dunn area, Horse Thief, etc.). The rock we climb in the upper Box area of the Wild and Scenic is more dense, can be red to light brown and was not from the lateral Servilleta flow. These remnants of volcanic plugs are more appropriately termed dacite, and it may contain crystal inclusions known as phenocrysts. The middle box or La Junta section has several examples of swirled volcanic rock from old low relief dacite volcanos. Miners' crag is a nice example. The wall across from Miners' is also a remnant.
Star ratings are relative to this area.
In the past, climbers had used an old two-track from West Rim Road to drive closer to the crag. However, vehicles are now prohibited on this old road. Please respect the rules of land managers and do not use this approach. Instead, access Utopian Vistas from the Dead Cholla Wall parking.
From the Dead Cholla (trailhead for the West Rim Trail) parking, it's about 15 minutes along the West Rim Trail to the wash on the rim -- if you continue past there to where the power lines cross the gorge, you've gone too far (maybe half again too far).
If you time the walk -- at 6 minutes from the car, the trail makes its first significant bend east toward the rim before bending back north; there is a second one of these at 9 minutes. When you hit the third such bend at 15 minutes, you are there -- look for a pullout on the right just as you come over a rise (the rim of the wash).
Drop southerly (right) along the wash to the rim, and follow cairns left (north) along the base of the Upper Tier, then, as Bob says, pretty much straight downhill from Black Mamba, the pretty black-streaked corner. The trail goes down past the juniper and deposits you at the south end of the lower cliff.
Classic Climbing Routes at Utopian Vistas
Days w Precip