Type: Trad, Alpine, 1000 ft, 11 pitches, Grade IV
FA: John Kear, Carolyn Parker, Allen Akin and Marc Beverly
Page Views: 3,368 total · 27/month
Shared By: LeeAB Brinckerhoff on Sep 19, 2008
Admins: Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski

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Access Issue: Juan Tabo Canyon is subject to annual access closures from March 1 to August 15. Details
Access Issue: Seasonal raptor closure for some areas in the Sandias Details
Access Issue: Seasonal Falcon Closure Details


P1- 5.11+ Start up some "chewy" rock for the first few bolts climbing on interesting black dikes that stick out from the wall. Near the top of the pitch a difficult move going left past a bolt is the crux of the pitch. Bolts, nuts and a red alien or #1 camelot.
  • Rip felt that this pitch warrented a grade of 5.12-, the crux is a difficult 2 move sequence on small crimps (V3 or V4), otherwise the pitch is 5.11-.

P2- 5.11- Step right from the belay into a crack that curves up and back left, then straight up to a belay. Bolts and the rack.
  • Rip felt that this pitch was 5.11.

P3- 5.12- Climb some blocky cracks from the belay up onto a face. Move left into a weird flared groove, which is followed to the roof, the transition from the face to the groove is odd in that there just did not really seem to be feet in the right places. Layback and undercling out the roof, place some gear and make a delicate step back right to the belay. Bolts and the rack.

P4- 5.10- Long rising right ward traverse to an anchor. Straight right off the belay, then up a bit and almost straight right again and up to the belay. Bolts and the rack.

P5- 5.11+ Bouldery right off the belay, then some easier climbing up to a right facing corner and some very interesting rock, similar to pegmatite except of much higher quality than what is usually associated with the large crystaled stuff, the stuff is slick though. All fixed.
  • Rip says, 5.11- except for the move off the belay, purple TCU optional, otherwise all gear is fixed.

P6- 5.11...5.11+ Straight right off the belay into a crack, follow this for a way then switch right into another crack and right again into a third crack. At this point place gear as high as you can, I think it was a green alien, and make the hardest technical moves traversing right again into another crack and the belay. Bolts and the rack.
  • Rip says 5.12-, thin gear. John Kear originally graded this pitch 5.11b, I thought it was a bit harder 5.11c, but probably not quite 5.12-.

P7- 5.11+ This pitch has several hard spots following cracks and seams pretty much straight up turning a roof at the end of the pitch. At one of the difficult sections you have a choice of two cracks and I took the right one then moved back left into the main system. Bolts and the rack.
  • Rip says climb straight up taking the line of most resistance, gear up to .75 camelot...I watched as Rip headed up and left on a lower angle section in the middle of the pitch, but he ended up pretty far off route and had to reverse, so try not to get suckered off the line.

P8- 5.10 Another long rightward traversing pitch. Straight right off the belay, then up a crack for a bit and right again, staying below a roof system. Finally up to the belay at the end of the roof system in a corner/gully feature.

P9- 5.12 Follow bolts snaking out right, then back left on the steep wall. The crux comes as you turn the bulge onto the face and slab above. Bolts, finger sized cams and a #8 stopper that was fixed as of 10-2006.

P10- 5.11 Follow a seam up and left from the belay into some shallow right facing corners. Follow the corner as it pushes you back right, then straight over some small roofs. Bolts and the rack.

P11- 5.11- Step right off the belay into a corner, then back left past a bolt directly above the belay. Follow seams straight up and then sightly right till you hit the transition to the less steep rock 20 feet short of the anchor right at the top of the wall.

  • It is possible to rap in and do the last 3 (9-11) pitches or to climb the first 3 and bail with a 70m rope, but the traversing nature of the 4th pitch makes retreat difficult once you are past it.
  • The rock at the start is pretty "Chewy" but improves quickly. There is also some grainy rock on the 3rd pitch. All in all though there is less crumbly rock on this route than most other classic multi pitch routes in the range which is surprising given it's lack of traffic and the fact that it is 2 to 3 times as long as most of the other "classics".
  • If the 5.12c grade is intimidating, I felt that the crux pitch was really only 5.12b, if it was right off the ground, the 5.12c grade applies to redpointing the route in a day. It would also be pretty easy to rap in and work this pitch prior to starting from the ground so that you knew what you were getting into...Full disclosure, I've only been on this pitch once after climbing up to it and it was pretty cold so I did not have a lot of feeling in my fingers but the friction was great so it is hard for me to really give an acurate grade to the pitch...I think most others think it is all of 5.12c.
  • If 5.12 in general is intimidating then it seemed as though the route would go at 5.11 A0 and still be a great day of climbing.


This route starts just right of Rainbow Dancer near a large pine tree. Look for the black dikes and the bolts.


All the belays sport two bolt anchors. All the pitches sport some bolts or fixed gear. The rack consists of: stoppers, cams from a blue alien or #0 TCU up to a #2 camelot with doubles in the Green and yellow aliens or #1 and #2 TCU's. Make sure to carry at least 10 QD's and 6 runners, perhaps extra runners for the traversing pitches if you use runners at the anchors. All anchors are bolted.
  • Rip and MattL's rack: Camelots #.4 to #2, TCU's 2-#0 2-#1 1-#2, Nuts and Offset Nuts up to finger sized, leave out the big ones.
LeeAB Brinckerhoff
LeeAB Brinckerhoff   ABQ, NM  
I've updated the route description with some thoughts from Rip, after he and MattL went up on The Promise Land this past weekend. Sep 30, 2008
John Kear
Albuquerque, NM
John Kear   Albuquerque, NM
The Promise Land is Grade V not IV. If Rainbow Dancer gets a V, TPL is much more sustained and longer. I think the sustained nature and general seriousness of the route and its location justify a higher level of commitment even if the belays are fixed. Only the strongest of parties will be able to pull this route off in daylight hours.

It's also good to see the route here, I guess I waited too long to post it myself, but thanks Lee for your effort. The info looks correct for the most part including the rack beta.

it is possible to rap the whole route, difficult rapping pitches 8 and 4 but definitely possible, I did this twice while working on the route in 04.

Glad to see that someone else is getting out there on this thing, I want all those capable to enjoy it. For sure the route goes at 5.11a/b AO for those who would like the big wall experience but not psyched up for the 5.12 climbing. Oct 4, 2008
LeeAB Brinckerhoff
LeeAB Brinckerhoff   ABQ, NM  
Hey John, sorry I put this up here I did not realize that you were going to. It's been awhile since you guys put it up.

I'm not trying to short change TPL by only giving it a Grade IV, I also feel that Rainbow Dancer should only be Grade IV and the only route that I know of in the Sandias that deserves more would be Purple Haze.

I did not realize that you had actully rapped the whole route. I thought you had left a fixed line on the 8th pitch for working the route?

Can the route be rapped with a single 70m or do you need 2 ropes on a couple of the raps? Oct 5, 2008
John Kear
Albuquerque, NM
John Kear   Albuquerque, NM
The Promise Land can be rapped with one 70m rope. In order to rap the 8th pitch and 4th pitch, the 1st man down needs to swing left and place a little gear and or clip fixed stuff, clipping the rope in as they go along, in order to make the hard traverses to the left. The 2nd person down than lets the 1st man, now at the belay, help pull him left in order to gain the next station. A little tom foolery but it is possible if needed. Oct 6, 2008