Little River Wall Rock Climbing
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This climbing area is shared with raptors that nest on the cliffs. Help us maintain access and please avoid climbing near active nests/ledges that raptors are using. If a raptor is disturbed during nesting season it may exhibit aggressive defensive behaviors like vocalizing or dive-bombing. If you witness this behavior, retreat from your climb immediately and find a location on a different formation or a different part of the wall far enough away from the raptors that they are no longer noticeably agitated. If they remain agitated, then please leave the area immediately.
Raptor awareness is especially important during nesting season from mid-February to late May but needs to be considered through the end of August. Please report disturbed and/or nesting raptors to the Carson National Forest the appropriate district office (see below) and share relevant information here on MP. Human-raptor encounters can have negative impacts for the birds and climbers in the area. The Cason NF wants to maintain climbing access while protecting raptor reproduction and relies on climbers to recreate responsibly and share information in order to avoid the need for formal raptor closures.
Questa Ranger District
Camino Real (Comales Canyon) Ranger District
Tres Piedras Ranger District
El Rito Ranger District
The Little River Wall (LRW) area offers 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'. In addition to the main wall, there are a few other shorter areas. 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. Also, numerous rattlesnakes have been seen around the base of the walls so really pay attention when walking around.
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, or if the lowering biners are worn out, as many biners may be aluminum and could use an upgrade to steel.
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.
Map for accessing Little River Wall and 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.
Google map driving directions from Highway 84: https://goo.gl/maps/biDBgPkDrczMcrpDA
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