Type: Trad, TR, Alpine, 170 ft
FA: Doug Drumheller, Mark Leonard, 1987
Page Views: 1,636 total · 14/month
Shared By: George Perkins on Jun 26, 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

Description

Western Justice climbs a steep, smooth-looking face, following cracks and seams. It's fairly sustained in difficulty and it makes a good follow-up to climbs in the Yucca Flower Tower area.

Rappel or lower ~170' from the rim, which will eventually lower you into a stance at the base of the obvious right-facing corner. The start is somewhat vague, but if you begin below the lowest bolt, you'll get all the good parts of the route.

Start by moving left into a finger crack, passing a couple of bushes, or begin higher up in the left-facing corner. Move left to a finger crack below a bolt and a piton. Passing these is the first crux (5.11a), with off-balance moves, thin feet, and holds facing the wrong way as you follow the crack as it jogs right. You're through when you reach a hand jam. Above, move left into a stance, with another piton (old belay?), and climb easier thin cracks (5.10) with occasional hands sections. These cracks fork about 20' near the top, stem between the two of them, or stay in the rightmost crack. Watch out for a final thin crux (5.10+) about 8' below the rim.

Western Justice isn't so much of a thin face with small edges. Rather, in the harder sections, the holds all seem to slope the wrong way, and the feet are not so obvious.

Location

This is the rightmost line on the clean wall south of Great Escape, following thin cracks on the smooth face, just left of the hand crack in a left-facing corner (Aces & 8's).

Approach as for the Yucca Flower Tower rappel. (Down the Crest Spur Trail to the junction; left on the La Luz 10 minutes to the Domingo Baca overlook- where the trail turns sharply left- then down the ridgeline on a climbers trail to the west and look for the anchors).

Protection

Standard rack of nuts & cams to #3 camalot, with extras in the smaller sizes, for leading.
A tree, or the 2-bolt anchor for Aces & 8's, can be used to set a toprope.
There are 3-4 fixed pins & a bolt on the route. (see comment).

Photos

George Perkins
The Dungeon, NM
  5.11a
George Perkins   The Dungeon, NM
  5.11a
The piton protecting the final crux 8' below the rim came out, pulled it out with my fingers. I did not replace it. I believe this section can be adequately protected with small cams and RPs, but someone may want to replace it before leading. Jun 26, 2009
Mick S
Utah
 
Mick S   Utah
 
A great route that feels hard for the grade since the pro requires patience to place. Sep 16, 2009
I flashed it my first time on tr felt like a 12a but we are in the sandias so 11 sounds right on point. This would be a scary to lead I would not want to fall on it. Jun 8, 2010
John Kear
Albuquerque, NM
  5.11 PG13
John Kear   Albuquerque, NM
  5.11 PG13
Definitely good climbing, anyone going to do this route should expect solid 5.11 climbing. Led this thing for the first time yesterday, I had top-roped it several times in the past but probably hadn't been on it for 10+ years. I wouldn't call it an onsight but it sure felt like it. The headwall crux is pretty spicy without the fixed pin. You get to pull the final crux moves 10-12 ft above your last gear and don't get to place anything else until after the final crux. A new pin there would sure be nice. Jun 23, 2010
wang it in, cannot imagine leading it without that pin, scary enough with the pin considering what you've done to get there. Jun 25, 2010
DaveT
Albuquerque
 
DaveT   Albuquerque
 
A gem of a pitch! Regarding the gear question at the top, the pin has not been replaced as of 8/29 but I was able to get a couple key pieces and it felt fairly well protected, especially compared to other parts of the route. This made the top not scary and really just icing on the cake after so much good climbing. Doesn't hurt that I played with gear on TR a few days prior. Would be an exciting onsight, no doubt. Aug 31, 2012