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Routes in The Pulpit

Cave Route, The T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Southeast Ridge T Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c PG13
Water Stains T 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Type: Trad, Alpine, 360 ft, 4 pitches, Grade II
FA: Bill Isenhower, Mike Roybal, Clark Gray, 1970
Page Views: 3,885 total, 30/month
Shared By: Monomaniac on May 14, 2007
Admins: Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski

You & This Route


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Description

This route ascends the West Face of the Pulpit, and passes a cave in the cliff at mid-height. I didn't find the cave to be too exciting, but apparently that is the main attraction to the Pulpit. This route would almost qualify as a waste of time, if not for the excellent 3rd pitch, which is very interesting on great rock, with just the right amount of gear.

This route is most frequently described as having 4 pitches, although we climbed it in two pitches (with a 60m rope) with little difficulty.

Begin directly below the cave, at the far right end of a small ledge with several trees.

P1: 5.7 or 5.8+ There are two options here. The original route climbs a 5.7 chimney. A newer variation climbs up a right-facing dihedral to sketchy face climbing at 5.8+. Numerous haphazard rap stations remain as a testament to the lunacy of this variation. Unfortunately I followed the variation, so I can't accurately describe the 5.7 version.

P2: 5.8+ or 5.7, From either variation, climb up to a large ledge where the two options merge. Follow mellow, low-angled rock in a large cleft into the cave. Explore the cave, then downclimb 10 feet. Traverse right around a rib to a spacious ledge and two brand new bolts.

P3: 5.7+, The crux lead. Above the belay is a series of three right-facing dihedrals. The two right-most (southern-most) extend down to the belay ledge, while the furthest north only appears 15 feet above the ledge. Begin up the middle dihedral, (or the left-most of the two that start off the ledge), with a few powerful moves over the slight bulge. Continue easily until its possible to traverse left to the next dihedral. Follow this to its end, then traverse further left, past a bolt that is nearing its 40th birthday, along a slightly runout face to easier terrain. Head straight up to a good ledge below a huge, leaning, right-facing dihedral.

P4: 5.6, cruise up the dihedral to a belay tree below the summit.

Descent: Continue E to the summit. There are 3 possible rap anchors, depending on your level of daring. The safest is right at the summit, but may require two ropes. If you have one 60m rope and are brave, downclimb NE over exposed rocks and shrubbery to a tree with rap anchors. Rap down the gully. One 60m rope will not reach to the next anchor, so TIE A KNOT in the end of your rope. An easy 30 foot down climb to the NE leads to the next anchor, where a 60 foot rap reaches the ground. Scramble down the base of the cliff for ~100 feet to the base of the Cave Route.

Location

See photo topo.

Protection

Gear to 3 inches, many small pieces.
Ben Burnett
Colorado
5.8+
Ben Burnett   Colorado
5.8+
Beta warning...
P1 was definitely the crux for me. I got through the first slot and headed to the second one. When the climbing seemed much harder than 5.7 and the gear seemed marginal, I backed down to the last ledge, where someone had recently bailed off of two nuts with leaver biners. I scouted out the roof to the left and the face to the right, but both looked hard, runout and crumbly. Ultimately I went up the chimney which seemed steeper, thinner and more committing and sustained than the P3 crux. Fortunately, a small can can be placed in a finger crack before the final moves. Maybe I missed something, maybe I suck at OW or maybe something's broken in there (there was some fresh rubble) but it seemed at least as hard as the 8's and 9's we've done recently. Sep 25, 2017
Lee H
Albuqueruqe,NM
  5.8-
Lee H   Albuqueruqe,NM
  5.8-
Seems like there are a ton of different variations for the "second" pitch of this climb. I made the mistake of going up past the chimney (instead of left to the cave), and ended up with a traverse that made me envious of the easier looking traverse to the cave. The new bolt on the third pitch was definitely appreciated. This was my first time on the upper half of the route. I can't imagine leading that traverse with that rusty bolt. The rappel off of the very top was definitely adventurous, i.e., you get to bushwhack through lichen and trees on the way down and don't slip into the huge chimney just before the ledge that leads to the tree for the second half of the rap. Then, make sure the first person to rap stands really far away from the bottom to avoid getting pummelled. I was standing at least 30 feet away and Robin knocked a baseball sized rock that bounced and landed a few feet away from me. Jul 12, 2015
Christina Frain
Boulder, CO
Christina Frain   Boulder, CO
Yesterday I did the "brave" descent from the top.

...If you have one 60m rope and are brave, downclimb NE over exposed rocks and shrubbery to a tree with rap anchors. Rap down the gully. One 60m rope will not reach to the next anchor, so TIE A KNOT in the end of your rope. An easy 30 foot down climb to the NE leads to the next anchor, where a 60 foot rap reaches the ground. Scramble down the base of the cliff for ~100 feet to the base of the Cave Route...

The rap webbing around the first tree was in good condition and plentiful.

BEWARE of the second, lower tree. The rap rings were on a single piece of cordalette. The cordalette was in good condition but not redundant. I added another piece but learned later that it was removed. Be prepared to back-up the cordalette. May 20, 2012
Cody Eilar
Albuquerque, New Mexico
 
Cody Eilar   Albuquerque, New Mexico
 
Ahh, that would explain it. Next time I'll go down the right way! May 31, 2011
John Kear
Albuquerque, NM
John Kear   Albuquerque, NM
Yes you want to go down the northside of the formation after rapping off the backside. This will return you to the base of the route much more easily. You might have to do another rappel. Generally better than rappelling the route and doable with one rope. May 29, 2011
Cody Eilar
Albuquerque, New Mexico
 
Cody Eilar   Albuquerque, New Mexico
 
So we hiked to the summit today after the 2 pitch climb and rapped off a big boulder with a chain and bunch of webbing. Turns out that the rest of the down climb really sucks after the initial rap. There is a ton of loose rock and a bunch of weeds to deal with as we made our way back to the la luz. We're we supposed to go around the other side, i.e. north instead of south? I'd rather just rap down the same way I came up using 2 60m ropes if I did this climb again unless there is a better down climb on the other side. May 29, 2011
mtnrobb
 
mtnrobb  
 
Agree - easily accomplished in 2 nice pitches with a 60M. Dec 3, 2008
Nick Manke
Edgewood, NM
 
Nick Manke   Edgewood, NM
 
Fun climb. Rock quality is pretty good for most of route- just check before you commit because some of it is loose. I'd recommend hiking in from top and continuing down to the bottom after the climb but plan for a near all day trip due to the position of the climb. Agreed that the cave is not that impressive. Gearwise, I don't recall using anything above a 2. The rap however, seemed almost more dangerous than the climb ha ha Sep 17, 2008
Bill Lawry
New Mexico
Bill Lawry   New Mexico
Copied Monomaniac's photo from The Pulpit page (thanks for posting it!) and marked it with our belay point at the top of Pitch 1 - we wanted to visit the cave. Jun 18, 2008
Scott Beguin
Santa Fe, NM
  5.7
Scott Beguin   Santa Fe, NM
  5.7
This climb can be done in two pitches with a 60 meter cord. Take long runners and/or double ropes. Mar 10, 2008
Jason Hundhausen
Bozeman, MT
  5.7
Jason Hundhausen   Bozeman, MT
  5.7
Good climb; I agree with mono that the cave is "meh," but worth glancing into as you cruise by on your way to the second belay. Beginning the third pitch, go up the middle right-facing dihedral to the right of the bolted anchor, not the rightmost dihedral which is >>5.7 and has a bunch of loose, crumbly rock (pulled out a bowling ball sized boulder from the crack). Mar 2, 2008
Clark Gray  
 
If after you complete the traverse to the dihedral on the second to last pitch instead of going up the dihedral you continue left and up, there is a wonderful large lunch ledge with one of the best views in the Sandias. From here there is a nice short vertical face climb that leads to the easy ridge that ends at the top. Jan 25, 2008