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Dirtbagging Northern New Mexico

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Garrett Collier · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 25

Hey there everybody,

I'll be heading in to northern New Mexico for most of July and August, and was hoping for some input from folks familiar with the area on the best place to post up as a base camp.  

Generally, I'm looking at White Rock, Diablo Canyon, or the Taos area. I'd like to be close to a variety of different rock and climbing with a mix of sport and trad.  Does anyone have suggestions on which of these areas (or others) would be best this time of year?  Free camping would be ideal, but it would also be nice to have other climbers nearby. Finding partners through MP has done me well in AZ for the last month or so, and I expect the same will be true in NM, but it would be great if there was an area with a high enough concentration of climbers/dirtbaggers to just meet people at the crag. 

I'll be occasionally heading to see family in Angel Fire and ABQ, abusing their shower/kitchen/hospitality, so Santa Fe to Taos corridor seems ideal. Any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated.


Tim Lutz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 5

Taos is your best bet to be out of the heat.  The road to the ski valley is free camping with a river and cool.   Comales Canyon is free camping and shaded until 2.  Tres Piedras  for sporty bolts and trad, free camping.  There are hundreds of climbs on the basalt, if you chase shade.  Not a ton of climbers in Taos, but people do find partners on MP

Diablo has free camping but it is much hotter, mornings only, in the shade.  White rock is similar.  

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

White Rock may be out, but it would be relatively easy to find partners for the dungeon, or up at las conchas on the weekends, both of which are climbable in summer

George Perkins · · The Dungeon, NM · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 3,145

El Rito is the most popular area in northern NM, for in-state and out-of-state climbers, with nice, free, car camping within walking distance of the crag.  The above suggestions are also good, especially Tres Piedras for trad (also nice, free, camping, walking distance to crag).  

Both these areas are currently affected by smoke from a nearby forest fire- hopefully that will be done by the time you visit.

Leo Anders · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

Hey amigo I'm hitting flagstaff today, trying to get to Moab, or maybe CO. But probably Moab, see what happens. I too am rather dirtbagish. Wanna hang out? 8328035100

J. Albers · · Colorado · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 1,793
Tim Lutz wrote:

Diablo has free camping but it is much hotter, mornings only, in the shade.  White rock is similar.  

That's only partially true. Both Diablo and White Rock are climbable for large chunks of the day with the exception of being in the direct sun from late morning to late afternoon. That is, climb early to mid-morning (sun or shade) and then take a break for the mid-afternoon until certain cliff lines go into the shade (and both Diablo and WR have cliffs in the shade late-afternoon to evening).That said, trying to hang out at either place in the sun in the middle of the day would be an unpleasantly hot experience. El Rito can be climbed during summer, but you will need to follow a similar climbing regimen regarding time of day.

I'm not sure how things are these days (I haven't lived in NM for a decade), but when I lived there the concentration of climbers (at least during weekdays) was low enough that counting on finding partners by just showing up would not have been super successful. The one exception might have been the Dungeon where there were often a decent set of locals climbing/training on weeknights after work. 

J. Albers · · Colorado · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 1,793
Kevin Bond wrote:

35.837497, -106.381919

one of my favorite forest roads to campout dirtbag out, depending on the clearance of your car you can get to some really cool spots. Normal Forest service roads 14 day limit.

the road is in between both white rock and las conchas with other spots like the dungeon close by aswell.

Dude! Come on now!! I have spent countless nights of my life sleeping on that road and I think its safe to say that publishing coordinates is a bit much. Its not like its a super big secret, but make people earn it a little :)

Mark Straub · · Berkeley, CA · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 25

Shoot me a message if you need a climbing partner for Los Alamos/White Rock area, I'm here for the summer and keen to get on some stuff.

Dj telle · · Tucson, Arizona · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 555

Questa dome is a cool spot w multipitch

Zachary Birmingham · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 0

Hey guys,

My name is Zach and I'm also dirtbagging out near Pecos on my friends land for at least until September. My main goal is to spend my time climbing and bouldering. Please hit me up if you are planning a trip and need a partner...even if just for the day. I do not have a car but I can get rides into Santa Fe every morning by 8 or I can meet you in Santa Fe national forest easily. I've been climbing at the gym in Santa Fe but am itching to get outside. 301 512 8172



Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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