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Dec 16-24 Climbing Trip in AZ/NM, where should we go?

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jiveclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

My climbing partner and I are looking at heading out from Vegas (where we live) on a road trip from Dec 16-24, so we are trying to create a cool route that gets us to see/climb/camp in some really cool places without freezing our nuts off.

AZ and NM seemed like logical choices since they are warmer climates and pretty close by, but I've never climbed in either state.

We sport climb in the 5.11's, boulder around V4-5. We are obviously looking for good climbing, but we are primarily aesthetic sort of climbers, so we prioritize beautiful places with unique scenery/experiences over just fun climbs.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Even if it is just a cool place to visit/camp that doesn't have climbing to check out on an off day. Thanks!

Owen Summerscales · · Los Alamos, NM · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 1,098

I would definitely check out Roy NM for bouldering. That's a good time of year to be there- in terms of daytime climbing temps at least though its often cold at night around that time. Its also a neat area to camp and explore. If the weather craps out, Box Canyon outside of Socorro has some fun stuff also.

Sport climbing, you're looking at southern NM/AZ, either Last Chance Canyon (NM) or Homestead (AZ) are two great limestone areas, though I can't really comment on the quality of Homestead at those grades as I havent been there, but thought I'd mention it.

Nick Henscheid · · Tucson, AZ · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 290

Homestead has a lot of good 5.11, but most of the really good stuff is 11+/12. If you're into multipitch and have a light rack, check out Cochise Stronghold. Similar to Joshua Tree but much more deserted, and a great place to camp for a week or two as well. If you're looking for scenery, it gets 5 stars as well. You can spend a few days sport climbing there (E or W side), but the multipitch is really where it's at. There is some bouldering but no guide. Mt Lemmon also has a lot of great sport climbing, but the really good stuff will be pretty cold in December and camping is more annoying. Windy Point gets a fair amount of sun though, so that would be a good choice. Forgotten Wall and The Ruins would be good as well, and Milagrosa Canyon. Enough 5.8-5.11 to keep you busy for months!

jiveclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

Thanks a ton for the replies guys! I will spend some time checking those areas out here on mountainproject!

the schmuck · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 110

For bouldering you can always check out city of rocks, nm. Nice winter weather, and well worth it.

Rob Dillon · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2002 · Points: 710


David Deville · · Flagstaff, Arizona · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 70

While it shouldn't be a main destination for your trip, Jack's canyon is right off I40 (Winslow, AZ) and would make a great day or two on your way to wherever. The camping is free and it should be pretty prime weather. It's in the desert and is beautiful in its own way even if the climbing is sub-par (however you can get in a ton of moderate routes in a day which is really what makes it worth your while). It's as good (if not a bit better, especially with the grades you mentioned) as The Pit in Flagstaff and the camping would be better as you are out in the desert, not right next to a major Hwy/Flagstaff. If you want route suggestions just PM me, there are definitely some gems in the 5.9-5.11 range.

jiveclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

Wow, thanks for all the replies everyone! Pretty busy right now but when I have some more free time it looks like I have quite a few spots to check out on MP. I will let any of you know if I have more questions, thanks again!

OrganicChemistry · · Tucson · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 95

if you're over by Taos, NM checkout the John Dunn Bridge area on Old Stage Coach road.

there's a few nice routes around the area but the best part is enjoying the hot spring by the river after a day of climbing (park at the first switchback up the road from the old bridge) there's primitive camping at the top of the dirt road.

BenClimbing · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 165

I'll throw in another vote for the Homestead, even if it's just to do this:… (As a side note, why isn't this on the list of classic climbs in Arizona? This is one of the best 11s in the west.)

If you go thru Phoenix, a trip up to the Cemetery/Fortress/Valhalla in the Superstitions will provide unexpectedly beautiful desert vistas and great bouldering. You may need a friendly local to help you find it, though...

Both areas are usually perfect around Xmas.

the schmuck · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 110

Agree 100% with mr. CX. But haven't been back to hueco since '99 due to red tape. Used to spend almost every winter weekend there.

J.Kruse · · Las Cruces, NM · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 105

Socorro is a beautiful location with good access and free camping. Great amenities fifteen minutes away in town. High quality boulders and routes in the grades you are looking for.

the schmuck · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 110

Well yeah, but the climbing in Socorro is mediocre at best, with a few gems sprinkled in. It's a great local area, but not exactly destination worthy.

J.Kruse · · Las Cruces, NM · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 105

To each their own. If I were passing through and looking for places to climb, I'd be happy to be there. But yes, not a real "destination".

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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