Type: Trad, Alpine, 360 ft (109 m), 4 pitches, Grade II
FA: Bill Isenhower, Mike Roybal, Clark Gray, 1970
Page Views: 4,918 total · 30/month
Shared By: Monomaniac on May 14, 2007
Admins: Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski

You & This Route

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Access Issue: COVID-19 New Mexico State Requirements Details


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.


See photo topo.


Gear to 3 inches, many small pieces.