Type: Trad, Alpine, 300 ft, 2 pitches
FA: John Kear, Benny Abruzzo Spring 2009 (maybe?)
Page Views: 684 total · 6/month
Shared By: John Kear on Jun 21, 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


Two nice pitches of Sandia adventure climbing with no fixed gear. The climbing is moderate but the protection is not obvious. Almost all the rock is surprisingly solid. Both pitches are of similar difficulty.


The route is on the south end of the formation. Near the south end of the wall is a distinct corner system with an old piton about 10-15 ft up. The route starts just right of this corner on a pillar with a short but nice hand crack just off the ground.

P1 Climb the pillar and cracks up for 25 ft to where they meet a bulge. Climb directly over the bulge and continue directly above on nice face climbing to a small roof and right facing corner, turn the roof and begin trending up and slightly right to a nice ledge and belay tree about 150ft up.

P2 Climb Straight up off the belay aiming for the compact headwall and obvious tree at the top of the formation. Climb mostly face and short crack systems to a slight bulge about 100ft off the belay. A short crux section leads to more face climbing with intermittent protection straight to the top of the formation. Belay just above the tree on nice ledges a few feet from the true top of the formation.

A short stroll eastward (towards the crest) leads the forested slopes which connect to either the Torreon's or Sentinel's returns to the crest.


Standard Sandia rack to 2 inches, no fixed gear


John Kear
Albuquerque, NM
John Kear   Albuquerque, NM
The photo Bill posted is the start of Unusual Suspects. Exactly where you want to start the route. I'm glad my description led you right to the start. Do this route, it is surprisingly good. Maybe worth three stars? Sep 24, 2009
P1 - The piton on P1 is just outside the photo in the left facing corner. Used to locate the start, but if you climb the finger/crack in the photo you will not clip this piton. We decided this pitch might be the harder of the two pitches - the gear at the first little roof did not inspire all confidence. The moisture in the air may have played a role also.

P2 - A lot steeper than the first pitch, but with careful work I found plenty of solid gear on this section of the climb. The target is the large tree on the skyline for the end of the pitch.

Enjoyed the climb - Thanks John!

Variation (P2) : If you trend slightly left off the first belay and drift to the left targeting the roof section of El Dueno (end of pitch 3). You will locate a shallow corner leading to the roofs with a piton about 20 feet below the El Dueno roofs. Aug 11, 2013