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Routes in Alioth

Aerial Boundaries T 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a

Description

Alioth is a summit on the north side of TWA Canyon. Its 700’ southeast face is steep and one of the more compelling walls in the Sandias, but probably gets only 1 or 2 ascents each year. This wall is visible from the tram. Due to its aspect, this face sees sun from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. Because of its location and intricate descent, a day on the Alioth is sure to be a committing and rewarding adventure.

Getting There

From the Crest parking, down the La Luz spur 0.5 miles to the junction. Left at the junction (headed toward the tram terminal), passing over the top of Echo Canyon and Yucca Flower Tower. Just past Yucca Tower, the trail takes a sharp left, and contours across TWA Canyon.

Drop into TWA Canyon at its head, and thrash on down. There may be a faint trail, which picks up as you get farther. (We missed the trail initially- if you have info, please post it.) If you persevere down the canyon, you will find the trail through the bushes eventually (it’s mostly along its right/north side).

Alioth is an unmistakable big wall on the right side, and the trail enters a small clearing and passes some downed trees just before the start of most climbs on the SE Face.

Descent

If you reach the highest point on Alioth, prepare for the Sandia descent epic of legend. The guidebook says to make 2 rappels off trees on the back (NW) side, but we didn’t see any rappel anchors, and we figured we missed the rest of the recommended descent (please post beta).

What we did is as follows, and was relatively efficient: From the summit, scramble down the right (NE) ridge a ways (mixed 3rd & 4th class). Rappel off a tree 50’ into a bushy gully on the back (NW) side. Go to the Saddle in the gully on the back of Alioth. From the saddle, don't go down either gully, but traverse right on a small ledge, on the formation north of Alioth. Climb 15’ of 4th or easy 5th class on an arête, then make an upward traverse to the right on a blocky ramp (3rd class), which gains a ridge crest between Echo Canyon and TWA Canyon. Drop into a small notch; climb out the opposite (NE) side up a 15’ 4th class chimney. Regain the ridge crest, then hike just right of the ridge crest on game trails to the La Luz trail.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Alioth

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