Elevation: 6,300 ft
GPS: 36.367, -105.728 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 86,779 total · 659/month
Shared By: Mike Howard on Oct 12, 2009 with 1 Suggestions
Admins: Mike Howard, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski
Access Issue: COVID-19 New Mexico State Requirements Details

Description and Geology

A nice collection of quality climbing on iron hard pocketed basalt. There is something here for everybody and a few more to come. From vertical to overhanging jug-hauls, to technical corners, powerful roofs and thin fingers. Mostly sport, some mixed and a few classic trad pieces in sound, clean stone. Set above the "Rock Garden" of the Rio Grande Box, this area is surrounded by climbing areas, rafting, fishing, camping, and mountainbiking all about 20 miles from the town of Taos. Expect solitude, which means low traffic and no chalk marks.

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.

Getting There

See Dead Cholla Wall under Taos Area or click the Aerial Photo link above for driving instructions toDead Cholla Wall parking 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.

143 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: Utopian Vistas Change
Type:  to 
Quality:
Pitches:
Sort by:   then:
 

Classic Climbing Routes at Utopian Vistas

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 16
Klein's Corner
Sport
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 40
Tijerina
Sport
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 23
Forever Jung
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 13
Chomping at the Bit
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 14
Nirvana Blues
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 6
Stinky Finger
Trad, Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 8
Wizard of Loneliness
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 16
Stimulus Package
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 6
Handfull of Fist Jams
Trad, TR
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
 11
Utopian Vistas (var.)
Sport
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
 25
Obamanos!
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 3
El Grito del Norte
Trad, Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 8
Milagro Beanfield War
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 9
Hopper's Hangover
Sport
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 5
Black Mamba
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Klein's Corner (L2) Hopper's Hangove…
 16
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Tijerina (L2) Hopper's Hangove…
 40
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Forever Jung (L2) Hopper's Hangove…
 23
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Chomping at the Bit (L5) Good Craic Wall
 13
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Nirvana Blues (L1) John Nichol's Wall
 14
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Stinky Finger (L2) Hopper's Hangove…
 6
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad, Sport
Wizard of Loneliness (L1) John Nichol's Wall
 8
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Stimulus Package (L1) John Nichol's Wall
 16
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Handfull of Fist Jams Panorama Wall
 6
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad, TR
Utopian Vistas (var.) (L2) Hopper's Hangove…
 11
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Sport
Obamanos! (L1) John Nichol's Wall
 25
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Sport
El Grito del Norte (L3) El Grito Del No…
 3
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad, Sport
Milagro Beanfield War (L1) John Nichol's Wall
 8
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Hopper's Hangover (L2) Hopper's Hangove…
 9
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Black Mamba (A1) Utopian Vista Up…
 5
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
More Classic Climbs in Utopian Vistas »

Weather Averages

High
 
Low
 
Precip
 
Days w Precip
 
Prime Climbing Season
J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D

Photos