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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
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Type: Trad, Alpine, 400 ft, 4 pitches, Grade II
FA: anyone know for sure?
Page Views: 1,111 total · 9/month
Shared By: Bill Lawry on Apr 6, 2008
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


Water Stains zig-zags its way up the middle of the west face of The Pulpit. Mike Hill's description in "Hikers & Climbers Guide to the Sandia Mountains" (1993) is okay. See "Location" for gaining the ledge at the base of the 1st pitch.

However, see the below photo which shows what is the original way to do the first couple pitches per Mike Hill's guide. It is different and much better for a party of two than that described below; the way below is what I learned from someone else in 2004 when we climbed it as a party of six (!).
I believe this is actually the original way the first couple pitches go based on Mike Hill's guide: "... a short gully up and left ...."; description of Poontang in Hill's 3rd Ed.; plus the topo on page 137 showing how to start [[106136110]] and Poontang. The pitch between the two shown belays is a very nice 35 meter stretch.

Pitch 1: Climb easy terrain up and left into an open book or large alcove. Work your way straight up until the climbing eases. Trend a little right and then up heading out from under the roof system. Set gear belay at ~30 meters of rope on a small ledge adequate for two people. The last 10 or 20 feet to the belay is 5.7 and a little run-out with hard fall potential.

Pitch 2: Climb slightly up while mostly traversing left to a fixed pin. Pin is visible from the belay. Traverse down/left under the pin through the crux, and then up to a spacious ledge and bolted belay.

Pitch 3: Traverse directly to the right on a ledge for roughly 30 feet to a relatively new bolted anchor at your feet; these bolts are not visible back at the spacious ledge. Continue the pitch up a subtle ramp that trends rightward past a piton via balancy but not difficult face climbing. Some small pro. At an ample ledge very near the top, temporarily jog right to keep the climbing within the rating; see the below photo. Belay on a ledge with a mostly-alive belay tree, ~6" diameter. Behind the tree there's a little pro-able feature high in the dirty corner.
Water Stains Route. However, see this [[107830304]] which shows a much better P1 & P2 for a party of two.

Skipping the above "jog right" and instead heading straight for the tree on the belay ledge felt 5.9ish with no nearby pro - did it on top rope.

Pitch 4: Climb up the gully a couple of moves before escaping right on an up-angling incipient crack for 10 or so feet. Then continue up staying a bit right of the gully. There are sections of dirt and loose rock. Be careful to not send rocks down the chute that aims them at your belayer.


The below location description works with the above pitch-by-pitch description. However, for a much better P1 and P2 for a party of two see this photo:
Water Stains Route. However, see this [[107830304]] which shows a much better P1 & P2 for a party of two.

See Mike Hill's description. After a bit of 4th class scrambling and a tight squeeze between rock on the left and a live pine tree on the right (~8 inch dia), rack up on the ample horizontal ledge. The live pine on this ledge stands noticeably alone a bit up from the very base of The Pulpit .


Standard rack plus a few pieces for roughly 3/8 inch cracks.


Anthony Stout
Albuquerque, NM
Anthony Stout   Albuquerque, NM  
"Standard rack plus a few pieces for roughly 3/8 inch cracks."

OK, you know you are dealing with an engineering type / science geek when we are telling people to bring extra rack pieces for a crack that you are measuring in 1/8 inch increments!

Sorry Bill, I just could not let that go. Made me chuckle. Guess I am easily entertained. Jun 20, 2011
Bill Lawry
New Mexico
Bill Lawry   New Mexico
Guilty as charged. :-) Jun 21, 2011
Albuquerque, NM
Robin   Albuquerque, NM
I saw nothing odd about his gear description. But then again I'm an engineer too... :) Apr 12, 2013

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