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Areas in Little River Wall

Cobble Cave 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Main Wall 0 / 17 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 17
Sideshow Attraction Wall 0 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
Slope City (a.k.a. Pink Wall) 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Vaudeville 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Elevation: 7,400 ft
GPS: 36.389, -106.235 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 17,956 total · 425/month
Shared By: Jason Halladay on Jul 27, 2014
Admins: Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski
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The Little River Wall (LRW) is a tall, 100’ foot wall situated right next to the El Rito River four miles northwest of El Rito, NM at an elevation of roughly 7,500’. The rock is conglomerate rock similar in nature to the other established sport climbing El Rito crag north of the town of El Rito. The conglomerate rock at the Little River Wall has some really good sections as well and many sections of lesser quality. Nonetheless, it has cleaned up nicely for long, enjoyable moderate sport climbs (60 meter rope mandatory!) That said, climbing development of the area only began in spring 2013 and, while most routes have seen numerous ascents, rock fall is still a strong possibility and it’s imperative that belayers wear helmets and be attentive.
Most all routes have anchors equipped with lowering carabiners on the chains. Please don’t steal these. Simply drop your rope in them to lower safely and conveniently. Feel free to contribute lowering biners to the chains of routes that don’t already have them as many biners may be aluminum and could use an upgrade to steel.

A Note About New Areas and New Routes

If you're used to climbing at older, well-established areas you might be surprised with how much rock can fall off new routes. New areas and routes take a long time to clean up. While most first ascensionists, ourselves included, do as much as they can to remove loose rocks from new routes, they can't get every possible loose rock. Ultimately it's your responsibility to climb carefully, evaluate suspect holds and be prepared for rockfall. It’s not a matter of IF you will pull something off, it’s a matter of how much and how big. Seriously, be careful! We spent hours upon hours hanging in our harnesses, until our legs went numb, cleaning the routes in an effort to make them safe. But we can't get it all. New routes in new areas will be loose/dirty/scary despite the best cleaning efforts.

The Layout

There are five established areas at the LRW--The Main Wall, the Cobble Cave, Slope City (a.k.a. Pink Wall), the smaller Sideshow Attraction Wall and the region between Slope City (a.k.a. Pink Wall) and the Sideshow Attraction wall called Vaudeville. All walls face west so they’re shady until around noon or 1:00pm. The cave is shady most all day. The walls and surrounding area are in the El Rito Ranger District of the Carson National Forest.
The setting of the LRW is what really makes the area a wonderful area to visit. The wall is tall with the El Rito River running right next to the base of the southern tip of the Main Wall. A huge, flat grassy meadow dotted with cottonwood trees at the base of the wall makes for an idyllic setting to lounge and lunch during a day of climbing. And with a flat, five minute hiking approach one can bring all the comforts they desire. Kids and dogs can play in the gently flowing river while others climb. It definitely is a special place.

All routes in the area were established beginning in spring 2013. The original guide document is still available online (last updated August 2015), if interested.

Getting There

From the town of El Rito, NM, drive northwest on the paved highway 110 for 3.8 miles where the road turns to a dirt road. Continue on the now dirt road highway 110 for less than a quarter mile to a meadow with dispersed campsites on the right side of the road and a orange/white “Be Extra Careful with Fire” and “...for a healthy environment keep your forests green” sign. Look for this sign. Park here or continue another 25 yards to a small parking area on the left (west) side of the road. You will not be able to see the wall from the road as trees obscure the view! If you drive past the parking areas and arrive at the developed El Rito Campground, you’ve gone too far and need to turn back. See this map for accessing the Little River Wall and for an overview of the area.
From either of the parking areas, hike north along a small acequia towards the river. The short, flat approach trail is sometimes cairned and follows an old, faint road for a short bit before reaching the river. Cross the river and you’re there. The wall will be obvious. In spring you may want sandals for the wet river crossing. However, upstream just a bit from the wall is a large downed Cottonwood tree over the river that makes for a convenient bridge. In summer and fall, the river is low enough to be crossed on large rocks in the river.


The area is in the Carson National Forest. A few free, dispersed campsites can be found at the parking area meadow. Alternatively the established El Rito Campground is a quarter mile further along highway 110 past the LRW parking area. The campground has 11 sites, two pit toilets but no water (you can filter water from the El Rito River, however.) The campground is open from April to November and there is no fee for camping. The campground does get busy and noisy, though.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Little River Wall

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Captain Underpants
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Zero Gravity Plinko
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Imitation Strawberry
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Baby Disco Show
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Bit By The Bit
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Charming Chelsea Charms
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Everybody Jae Chang Tonight
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Busted By Dewey
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Hawg-Dawg’s Mind-Boggling Explosion o…
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Pull the Mirrors Off Your Cadillac (S…
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Broken Desire
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Kick Me in the Jimmy
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Slopy Joe (aka King Cobble)
5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c
Broken Desire 43
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Captain Underpants Vaudeville 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Sport
Zero Gravity Plinko Vaudeville 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport
Imitation Strawberry Main Wall 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Baby Disco Show Main Wall 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Bit By The Bit Main Wall 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Charming Chelsea Charms Sideshow Attraction Wall 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Everybody Jae Chang Tonight Main Wall 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Busted By Dewey Main Wall 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Hawg-Dawg’s Mind-Boggling E… Main Wall 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Pull the Mirrors Off Your C… Main Wall 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Slope-oke Slope City (a.k.a. Pink Wall) 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Broken Desire Cobble Cave 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Kick Me in the Jimmy Cobble Cave 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Slopy Joe (aka King Cobble) Slope City (a.k.a. Pink Wall) 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
Broken Desire 43 Cobble Cave 5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c Sport
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Owen Summerscales
Los Alamos, NM
Owen Summerscales   Los Alamos, NM
This crag is cleaning up really well, almost as solid as the routes at El Rito now. How things change! Only encountered a couple of questionable cobbles after climbing all weekend. May 29, 2017
Owen Summerscales
Los Alamos, NM
Owen Summerscales   Los Alamos, NM
Regarding the log, just keep hiking up the river and you will find another one that you can use to cross. Not as convenient as the old one but it works! May 29, 2017
Ed Santiago
Los Alamos, NM
Ed Santiago   Los Alamos, NM
Heads-up: the crossing log has been washed out. River is flowing strong, so there's not really a safe way to cross right now (2017-05-14). May 14, 2017
still pretty loose. even some of the jugs and clipping holds. cave routes seems like was cleaned more but we didnt climb there. great routes and a beautiful setting. Sep 9, 2015
Chet Butterworth
Chet Butterworth   Chattanooga
Tip of the hat to the developers of this fine climbing area. LRW is perhaps the most pleasant sport climbing area I've visited; beautiful cliff, lush meadow, and cool river. It all makes for a nice high mileage clipping day after pulling hard at ERS or plugging gear at ERT. We knocked off (tapped, really) some loose rock but the belayer wore a helmet as advised. Don't miss this area, even if you climb harder than the established grades. All for fun and fun for all! Jun 6, 2015
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
As you will probably find out, our suggested ratings here are certainly just ballpark guesses and most likely soft.
As the routes clean up and chalk up, I fully expect the routes to feel easier. Routes tend to feel a bit harder when they're brand new, one is a bit cautious about pulling hard and the best holds aren't chalked up. Aug 4, 2014

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