Type: Trad, Alpine, 3 pitches, Grade II
FA: R.Cundiff, D.Hammack, '61 (or Doug Bridgers, Rico Meleski, 1975)
Page Views: 8,823 total · 54/month
Shared By: Anthony Stout on Jan 26, 2006
Admins: Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski

You & This Route

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The guidebook "Sandia Rock" lists this one as "One of the best of its grade in the Sandias". I will have to agree with this! This is a summer route, if it's 95 in Albuquerque, chances are, temps will be perfect to even slightly chilly on this route. It sees about one hour of sun per day.

To get there, start on the La-Luz trail. The Thumb is an obvious formation, just keep on the trail until it is right in front of you. You will pass a scree/boulder field that the trail goes through. When you get to the first switchback that turns right, look ahead at the trail through the trees. Follow this climbers trail to the base of an obvious crack system within a huge right-facing dihedral. It requires a little scrambling to get there.

Pitch 1: Follow the dihedral (some loose rock, but hey, this is the Sandias!) up and through a slightly awkward slot (5.9) (I found that a #5 or #6 Camalot would fit great here, though I did not have one. Monomaniac suggests that a #4 Camalot fits as well) After moving through the slot, traverse right on face holds to a solid stainless steel two bolt anchor.

Pitch 2: Follow a nice-looking, right-arching dihedral. When you get to the point where the dihedral converts to roof, traverse right on poor gear, and clip a pin down at your feet. Move past a tricky roof at your right (5.9, crux). There are other variations that have also been described to me, but this is the way I went. Continue, dealing with the rope drag, to a ledge with another 2-bolt anchor. Note that it is “possible to get a 0 TCU and a 6 or 7 stopper above the fixed pin. This may be a wise alternative if you're concerned at all for the welfare of your second. Clipping the fixed pin would put the second in a precarious spot.” (Monomaniac). Many slings and good rope management are suggested for this pitch, as the rope drag can be terrible.

Pitch 3: Cruise up a straight-in corner through some vegetation, working right over questionable, loose rock to the summit of The Thumb.

It is possible to rap after the 2nd pitch (with two 50m or longer ropes), and if you did, you wouldn't miss anything. However, the last pitch is really easy, the rock is solid and the gear is good, so there's no need to avoid it. The rap can be spicy, and for us required quite a bit of swinging, then tying off my rappel, and climbing some precarious 5.10 moves to get back to the second belay anchor. I might suggest tying off your tag line to the anchor when your second comes up, but if you do, you must also be concerned with getting the rope caught around something.


Pro: I took a double set up to #2, with one #3 and #4 Camelot. Optional would be a #5 or #6 that can be left on the belay of the first pitch. I would also recommend many slings (at least 12-13) for the second pitch to avoid rope drag issues.

Anchors: Bolts for the first and second pitches. Gear for the summit pitch.

Descent: See directions for The Thumb formation.