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Routes in The Thumb

Aviary Ort Overhangs T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Fowl Play T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13
Halfbreed T 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
North Summit Direct T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Northwest Ridge T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Southeast Ridge (a.k.a., standard descent) T 4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b
Thundercracker S 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Twist-O-Flex T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Water Stains T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
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Type: Trad, Alpine, 500 ft, 4 pitches, Grade II
FA: John Kear, Benny Abruzzo Spring 2009
Page Views: 1,055 total · 9/month
Shared By: John Kear on Jun 15, 2009
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 route climbs the true water stains on the west face of the Thumb. The rock is perfect from eons of water polishing.

P1: Start on ledges at the base of the major water stains on the Thumb's West face. Climb up and slightly right to an overlap, climb directly over it and on to face climbing above past two bolts. Belay at a single bolt (6 Ft right of the old anchor, with poor bolts) and good 1/2 inch gear. 5.9+ 110ft.

P2: Climb straight up a dark corner on to lighter colored face, easy climbing leads directly to a shallow right facing corner, climb up and left on into the water stains, clip a bolt and pull the crux by moving up and right (5.10a) continue up and slightly left trending past another bolt to another belay ledge with a bolt and small gear for the belay. 5.10b 165ft

P3: Step up and left off the belay and clip a bolt, face climb into a corner, climb up the corner and exit right to a shallow right facing corner/offset. Climb straight up through the water stains on excellent face climbing to a good belay alcove. 5.10a 150ft

P4: Climb up to the right in a left facing corner. From the top of the corner diagonal hard right to a short wall baring the way. Step out around the corner to the right of the wall and continue on good quality face and slab climbing still diagonal trending right. Head for a large tree and belay when the rope runs out. 5.8 195ft.

50 feet of 3rd to 4th class will get you to the top of the Thumb.


The route is on the west face of the Thumb. The start is found by starting directly under the large water stains in the middle of the west face. From the top continue along the ridge heading south for 150ft. Turn right and down climb to a tree. Follow a nice ledge system down just below the S ridge of the Thumb. Continue scrambling down the S ridge to the col at the S end of the formation. Once you cut down on to the N side of the col walk hard right staying above the talus below. Keeping contouring around until above forested slopes skiers right of the boulder field. Once in the trees there is a rough climbers trail that will quickly bring you back to the La Luz trail 500 Ft below.


The pro is good but generally thin. Bring extra .3-.5 inch cams and a standard Sandia rack to 2.5 inches.
P1 two bolts and one at the belay
P2 two bolts and one at the belay
P3 one bolt with natural anchor
P4 no fixed gear


- No Photos -
Hey John thanks for another great route. I do have a tip for people on the 3rd pitch. As you reach 150ft up the route start looking right for the alcove that John speaks of. It is about 25ft right of the water streak.
As for gear we used gray to yellow TCU's, double blue and yellow. We also used a .5 camalot and a 2.5 tech friend. as for nuts we took a single set and bring some small ones. As John notes don't pass up gear when you see it due to there is not much. Aug 13, 2009
John Kear
Albuquerque, NM
John Kear   Albuquerque, NM
Matt what did you think of the protection? Did the route seem too runout in places? Comments from the 3rd ascent made me think we should add another bolt or two on the second and third pitches. I would prefer to leave it as is but at the same time it's super good rock and I'd like it to be a route most people can enjoy. Aug 15, 2009
You know John I thought the route did not seem to bad. I think it could use a bolt on the second pitch above the crux bolt. I don't think it is a must but would be nice. Other than that I think the route seemed fine and had plenty of pro. Places where it seemed run out were fairly easy climbing. I say leave it as is. Aug 17, 2009

Curious as to how this route goes in relation to Waterstains?
Sounds like similar start but then bear up more directly rather than the somewhat left wandering original line (if I remember correctly, always an issue these daze)? Apr 23, 2010
John Kear
Albuquerque, NM
John Kear   Albuquerque, NM
The route starts right of the original water stains route. Halfbreed climbs up the right hand water streaks on the first pitch on harder climbing than the original route at about 9+. The second pitch is shared with the water stains route for 60-80ft. Halfbreed then breaks left into the left hand water streak climbing directly through the water streaks for the next couple of pitches instead of wandering back and forth the way the Water Stains route does.
I will try to post a topo here in the near future. Apr 26, 2010
Anthony Stout
Albuquerque, NM
Anthony Stout   Albuquerque, NM  
This was a great route with solid rock (at least the variation we did), but we got a bit lost on the second pitch. We may have done the third pitch differently too, considering the comment Matt made. A topo would be really helpful. On the second pitch I climbed through a dihedral, looking for bolts, and could see none. After climbing through a 5.10ish roof with some sketchy chalk stones I traversed left through some nasty, poorly protected R-scary territory. Getting up to a certain point, I looked left and found the belay bolt. I traversed left to it, made an anchor, then looked down. I saw what appeared to be the second of the two bolts on this pitch (seeing this while doing the route would have made me really, really happy). My partner never saw the first bolt either when he followed. On the third pitch, it sounds like we took a more direct route to the belay than Matt. We went directly to the alcove, there was no traversing right.

This certainly fits a the adventure standard I have associated with Kear routes - the guy has for more cajones than I do. Jul 8, 2010

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