Type: Trad, Alpine, 4 pitches, Grade II
FA: Joe Darriau, Thad Meyerriecks, 1976
Page Views: 17,668 total · 112/month
Shared By: Anthony Stout on Jan 24, 2006
Admins: Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Seasonal raptor closure for some areas in the Sandias Details


Four pitches, the final of which is the makes this one such a beauty. However, the star rating of the route really depends on which way you decide to go on the headwall at the top. There are four choices for the final pitch (5.10d, 5.10a, 5.9, and 5.8).

Getting There: Follow directions to Muralla Grande. Soon after you get to the bottom of the couloir of death talus and rocks, begin looking to your right. You will eventually come upon an alcove beneath a large headwall (the headwall is high up on the route). If you round the corner toward the bottom of the hill at the base of the stone, you have gone too far.


Pitch 1 (~30m): Begin up the right corner of the alcove, climbing past a small tree. At the top is a large with another pine tree. If you plan on taking the variation going straight up, belay from the tree, if you are going up the chimney variation, it is best to traverse left to a spot below the chimney.

Pitch 2 (~50m): 2 variations:
A- Traverse left into an awkward looking chimney, after exiting the chimney, continue climbing up over some loose rock to a very large ledge. There is also an optional intermediate belay with shiny bolts about 20 feet beyond the chimney.
B- You can also take a more direct line by going straight up and diagnaling to the left toward the ledge. I found there was plenty of places to put protection going this way.

The second pitch is quite long and as discussed above the leader of the 1st pitch might want to set the anchor at the start of the chosen variation (either at the tree or under chimney to the left of the tree.) Either that, or the climb can be made into 5 pitches by using the bolt anchor in the middle of variation A.

Once attaining a large ledge at the end of the pitch, there are a few places to set a belay for pitch 3. You are aiming for the large, left facing dihedral. You can set up your belay below and left of the dihedral, or you can move to the uppermost part of the ledge just below two fixed pitons (slightly trick anchor set up with some with a flaring crack, but I found solid placements to back up the piton.)

Pitch 3 (~50m): From here there are a few different ways to get you to the same location. If you start under the pins, after clipping the second pin undercling a flake moving left into the left facing corner.
OR, you can climb from left and below the corner to eventually gain it.

Continue to climb up to the large left facing dihedral, eventually moving to the left to a right facing corner. Follow this corner to the base of the headwall. You will know you are there because you will see a beautiful 10a finger crack directly above you, and a 5.9+ crack going up and right. There is one bolt and a fixed piton here for an anchor.

Pitch 4: Four choices here. (a) Far Right, a 5.8 crack is the original finish. (b) To the left of that is a widish crack that goes at 5.9. (c) straight up and slightly to the left is a clean, steep fracture (very nice, this is the way we took! It has been noted that a double set of nuts is nice for this pitch, though I did not use that) that goes at about 10 a/b. (d) To the far left is a 5.10d crack, which I know nothing about. At the top is a large tree about 15 feet back from the cliff that you can belay from. There are also some newly placed bolts at the top of this pitch.

Once at the top, follow the trail that goes away from the cliff and eventually veers to the left, to the top.

Can also rap back to the base of the the climb if so inclined (see comments below) via either second coming itself or the route next to it, Rapture.

Second Coming: Takes 4 double rope raps.

Rapture: 3 double 60m raps, first rap is long about 190 feet.


Gear: Took a double set of camalots to #3 with a set of nuts.
Anchors: Gear, except for the top of the 3rd pitch (bolts), and the final pitch (tree).
Bill Lawry
New Mexico
Bill Lawry   New Mexico
For the chimney variation with belay set at its' base, the gear anchor takes BD C4 #2 and #3. And the chimney lead does as well. So doubling up on cams in that size is helpful. Nov 8, 2006
Anthony Stout
Albuquerque, NM
Anthony Stout   Albuquerque, NM  
"I suspect there is more than 1 way to start the 3rd pitch: For us the 3rd pitch initially went up a nice left-facing dihedral/corner (versus Anthony's right-facing corner) and then mid-pitch one traverses left and up to a right-facing corner; up that and on top is a ledge with the pin and bolt."

Bill is correct, we did follow a left facing dihedral, to the left, then to a right facing dihedral. It was a typo on the description that has been corrected. Thanks Bill. Dec 4, 2006
Mike Mooney
Silverthorne, CO
Mike Mooney   Silverthorne, CO
We rapped second coming last Saturday.
I takes 4 double rope raps.
The third?? station is off to climbers right.

Mike May 23, 2007
Shirtless Mike
Denver, CO
Shirtless Mike   Denver, CO  
Rapped the route left of Second Coming, the Rapture in 3 double 60m raps, first rap is long about 190 feet.

Took the left variation on the second pitch. Not bad sounded less brushy than the direct variation that my friends that took.

The 10a finger crack is awesome, a double set of nuts is nice. Aug 5, 2007
Chuck McQuade
Golden, CO
Chuck McQuade   Golden, CO
P3 Variation (5.9):

The left facing corner system that starts right of the standard belay is awesome. The beginning of the pitch is easily identified via two pins. After the second pin undercling a flake moving left into another left facing corner eventually meeting up with P3 described in the route description. I believe this may be described as The Liar King....however I think the variation i describe above is the actual original P3 of Second Coming. Aug 14, 2007
Jason Hundhausen
Bozeman, MT
Jason Hundhausen   Bozeman, MT
My first trip to the Sandias! Matt Price and I attempted Second Coming. Took a while to find the correct descent gully because we continued on the obvious trail once we got to the aspen grove. Ended up finding the top of Second Coming in the process, which was ultimately good to know, but it ate up a lot of time in the process. The base of the climb had 3 inches of hail from the previous day's thunderstorms and the rock was still a bit wet. Clouds were beginning to build by the time we finished P1. Got part way up P2 (straight up from large tree on left) and it started raining, then raining hard and hailing, so we decided to bail. Lowered off a small stopper (booty!) about 45 feet to the tree, then rapping off the remainder. The rain subsided, but the rock was quite wet and we weren't willing to risk getting caught in a full-fledged thunderstorm. Hiked back up the gully, this time taking the easier line back up. Weather was still holding, so we set up a TR and took turns on the 10a finger crack finish. Fantastic line! Got back to the car and the sky opened up on us. Can't wait to get back out there once these unusually late monsoons pass. Sep 2, 2007
George Vigeon
Bend, OR
George Vigeon   Bend, OR
Holy wandering climb Batman! I'm pretty sure I got lost on all but the first and last pitch. Lucky for me nothing on the whole wall was harder than 5.9 but in trying to find the route I got the worst case of the rope draggin's I have ever seen. On Pitch 3 or 2 depending where you came from there is a nice new 2 bolt anchor followed by a three bolt line that leads to what exactly?!? I traversed left under that leftward leaning flake on up to the big ledge at the headwall but I wouldn't consider that 5.8. There is a stuck red CCH alien in there but I was too busy to really try to get it out. Did the 5.9 crack at the top which was lots of fun. I'd do it again if I was with someone that actually knew the route. Jun 16, 2008
Los Alamos, NM
scotthsu   Los Alamos, NM
I second Bill Lawry's comment above (Nov 8, 2006) about taking a more direct line if you want the 5.8 finish for p4. We belayed at the bolt and piton at the top of p3 directly below the headwall, and from there it is a somewhat scary traverse to the right to reach the 5.8 crack. A fall would be a bad pendulum for both leader and second. We didn't see the "shiny bolts" below and to the right of the pin/bolt anchor, but we didn't look for them (not knowing about them ahead of time).

I think we also ended up doing the "P3 5.9" variation as described by Chuck and Tamara above (Aug 14, 2007). I thought the undercling flake and the left-facing dihedral above it were some of the funnest climbing on the whole route.

Also some other notes: p1 was about 30m, and p2 and p3 were both about 50m for us. (We used a 60 m rope and didn't have a whole lot remaining on either p2 or p3.) Oct 14, 2008
Any ideas about a route RIGHT of Second Coming? Starts to the right, ending on the right side fof the 1st ledge, goes straight up staying right of second coming on the second pitch through a loose, dirty crack with a loose flake, then up over a large flake to the ledge right of second coming, and up the left facing dihedral about 60 or more feet right of Second Coming dihedral before traversing horizontally left to end up on top of the pillar right of the last belay on Second Coming. My first time down there we accidentally climbed this instead of the actual route. I know someone else who had rapped off some nuts partway up the second pitch of this which we bootied on our way through... There was a fixed pin (or 2) on the second to last pitch traversing left over to the belay. We finished straight up off the pillar. Dec 3, 2008
Dave Wachter
Dave Wachter  
Just got off the route a couple of hours ago. Did the 3rd pitch variation (5.9) in the left-facing corner, and it was stellar! 2 pitons and now also a fixed nut at the bottom. We set up for it by heading straight for the corner on P2, and built an anchor using a few small cams and the lowest piton. Not sure why anyone would do the "original" route.
Final pitch 5.10 finger crack is classic. Watch out for a melon-sized block mid-pitch that you may be tempted to put a horizontal cam placement behind, or at least until you yard on it... May 14, 2009
Well I liked this route...33 years ago when Thad and I put it up!!! yes this is Joe Darriau one of the two listed as the first ascent team. I was excited and flattered to stumble upon this when I was web surfing. Great pictures you guys posted. I have pics buried in the attic i'll have to dig for.

bit of history if you're interested and why we named it Second Coming...memory is fuzzy but we had spotted this climb, the headwall in particular, when climbing or hiking in the area. We came back with some UNM buddies to attempt the climb. Large party, moving slow, it was dark by the time we got to the headwall so we basically chickened out, not knowing how difficult the headwall might be, and rapped off, striking matches to check our rappel anchors...Thad and I returned a few months later and finished it, just us two. Thus the Second Coming. Just a very factual name, no religious or sexual implications whatsoever people!!

I think Thad is in New York and I think I'm in california. Hope to get back some day to the Sandias. They were great fun. I recall we did the direct (5.9) line up the headwall. Thad if your out there chime in. Regards, Joe Dec 2, 2009
Cody Eilar
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Cody Eilar   Albuquerque, New Mexico
My friend I did this one and really liked it! I made the mistake of going too far right and just too far when I lead the second pitch and had to make an emergency anchor in an awful, prickly bush on a pretty good sized ledge after running out of rope. This happened probably about 20 meters after one piton I found about 45 meters into the second pitch. Luckily we were able to traverse up and over and get to the headwall no problem on the third pitch.

Originally I was planning on doing the 5.8 finish, but once we were anchored in on the third pitch at the piton and bolt, the traverse to get to the 5.8 finish looked more sketchy than just doing the 5.9 finish. Thus I ended up doing the 5.9 finish unscathed. Definitely a great day out! Jun 14, 2011
Jeff Edge  
10a finish was legendary, pitch before it was actually really fun too. Tried the 10d finish after(or so I thought, the crack just left of the 10a) but it didn't feel any harder than the 10a fingers, might've been the wrong crack though. Good route overall, cool place...ended up walking through the towers somehow on the way out...I can feel the cancer in my body already Jun 18, 2013
Duke City
magoo   Duke City
Has anyone else climbed the thin crack just right of the standard 5.9 finish? On the headwall, between the 5.9 and 5.8 exit cracks there is a thin, slightly arching crack. I recall climbing this years and years ago but have never seen it mentioned in any route descriptions. If my memory is correct,(doubtful) it was pretty good. Sustained 5.9 perhaps. Lots of small wires.
Maybe I just imagined it....I should start climbing more. Jul 16, 2014
Nathan Kofahl
Albuquerque, NM
Nathan Kofahl   Albuquerque, NM
This route is really awesome. Each pitch is better than the last with the final pitch being one of the best I've climbed.

The approach is a bit tricky and hard on the legs when carrying gear. When you top out the route you still have some work to do to get back to your car.

If anyone is around there, i left a small buck folding knife at the bottom of the first pitch. Not an expensive knife by any means, but if you are a stone age regular and feel like giving it back, i'd appreciate it. Jul 20, 2015
James K Haugen
Hong Kong
James K Haugen   Hong Kong
Climbed the route yesterday, fantastic conditions. Route length: 30m, 50m, 50m, 30m, making the overall length 160m -> 525ft. Sep 18, 2016
Rika J.
Rika J.   Colorado
If taking the 5.8 variation on P4, watch the large "chockstone" that sticks out from the wall. It seemed loose as of 5/6/2017. May 8, 2017
Matt Zeigler  
I think it's worth noting- on P3, head left to the described undercling immediately after clipping the second piton (less than 3' above). This is true regardless of what line you want to take for pitch 4. IMO, this thread as well as the Schein description and topo become a bit confusing and misleading (no disrespect), and if you're a noob to the route you could easily get sucked too far up the tempting dihedral, which quickly turns into what i would call at a minimum 5.9. The next issue becomes attempting to turn a quite difficult (for this gumby) roof uncomfortably far above your last gear, which you have massively extended to prevent drag on the roof. After a few fails at the roof, I saw the described traverse below me and lowered back down to the belay via some fixed nuts and bail gear that a previous unlucky compatriot with similar skills to myself left for this exercise. The standard undercling/crack were super fun anyway! Jul 2, 2017
Albuquerque, NM
farkas.time   Albuquerque, NM
Great route, with 4 pitches of increasing quality. We used 60m half ropes, which seemed extremely useful on pitches 2 and 3. You can't miss the starting alcove if you're at Muralla Grande -- the p4 headwall is obvious from the ground. All the talk about belaying under the pins at the end of p2 was useful -- we did that, in which case you don't angle left very much on p2. From there you do angle left up an obvious left-facing flake system, make a short unprotected traverse to a right-facing dihedral system, then up to the ledge at the start of p4. At the top, the 5.8 finish will be a hassle -- the natural lines are 5.9 (short, cool crux) or 5.10a (inviting!). Walk off a short scramble up and left to gain the ridge. Oh, and don't belay off the giant balancing death boulder at the top -- we extended the belay from the big pine.

Gear: Cams to 2 inches (BD #2), doubles from .75 to 2 inches (BD # 0.4-2), a full set of stoppers, 12-15 alpine draws, 2 double slings, 2 cordelette, 2 60m half ropes.

p1: 5.7 30m, p2: 5.8 50m *, p3: 5.8 50m **, p4: 5.9 20m ***. Oct 2, 2017
George Perkins
The Dungeon, NM
George Perkins   The Dungeon, NM
We brought and used a #3 and #4 camalot (as very wet conditions yesterday morning caused us to adjust our plan and we happened to have them with us), so I'll suggest a 5.8 leader might appreciate having them too. I think we placed the #4 on every pitch.

This climb has a surprisingly high amount of loose rocks for being one of the most trafficked climbs in the Sandias. It's mostly avoidable, but be aware there may be other parties below you or hiking past the base of the climb. In general, the 5.9s and 5.10s in the Sandias are cleaner.

Don't rap the route to approach or return to the base- there aren't fixed anchors for this and you may be rapping through or above other parties. The gully is pretty fast, and I would certainly recommend using that as the approach. (If for some reason you just have to rap in, go down the 11 to its left- "Rapture".)

The 10a finger crack finish is one of the best pitches at that grade in the Sandias. Oct 2, 2017
Kerr Adams
Albuquerque, NM
Kerr Adams   Albuquerque, NM
The Second Coming Route Start: 35.21355, -106.45457 Oct 17, 2017