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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: 1,200 total · 9/month
Shared By: Bill Lawry on Apr 6, 2008
Admins: Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski

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


This description was re-written Aug 2018, including a new beta photo.

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.

P1:  4th, 15m. See beta photo. Climb easy terrain up and left to the good ledge with the obvious ~1 foot diameter tree and belay.

Alternate belay: Instead of at the tree, consider setting the belay a little further up P2’s initial ramp though still a little back from where P2 goes vertical. The stance is not great and the bushes are annoying. But this can reduce P2 rope drag as well as reduce horizontal rope slack at the crux-y part sof P2.

P2:  5.7+, 40m from tree. Ascend left up the ramp and then straight up a large alcove.  Higher, bypass the first roof on its right and then another roof on its left.  Continue up to a fixed pin.  Then down and traverse left to a vertical-ish weakness which climbs straight up to a large ledge with bolts.

P2 Alternative: The pitch can be broken in two by trending right before the roofs to a scant ledge for a belay. This way avoids the roof parts of P2 and shortens the amount of rope out at crux sections. But it also introduces some bad fall potential when trending right and up to the scant belay ledge.

P3: 5.6, 35m.  This pitch takes effort to avoid rope drag.  Traverse right about 30 feet on an easy ledge.  Clip one of the anchor bolts at your feet with a long sling and locker and continue up a subtle right-trending ramp past a piton.  Some small pro.  Climb straight up past a small tree and higher until you can traverse right to a large ledge below an irregular hueco.  Above the hueco, there is a very short 1 to 3 inch crack ~10 feet up and left.  Climb past the hueco and up the very short crack to the right end of a ledge with larger tree near its' left end.  Belay at the tree.

A more direct line to the belay ledge (i.e., left of the irregular hueco) is 5.9ish with no nearby pro.

P4: Low 5th, 35m.  Climb about 6 feet up the gully and escape right on an up-angling grass-y incipient crack for 15 or so feet. Then continue up, generally 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.  Belay on the summit.


Hike down the La Luz Trail as indicated on the page for The Pulpit.  Or consider hiking up from below which affords a downhill exit a the end of the day as well as avoids any snow that might be in Upper La Cueva Canyon during the winter or early spring.


Standard rack plus a few pieces for roughly 3/8 inch cracks.  P2 can consume many slings, maybe 13 to 15, including a couple double-length.


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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