Type: Trad, 220 ft, 2 pitches
FA: FA: Bruce Holthouse (ground-up rope solo aid), FFA: Dave Jones
Page Views: 2,213 total · 19/month
Shared By: George Perkins on Aug 16, 2009
Admins: Mike Howard, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Some rocks in this area are on private property. Property owner requests signed waiver. Details


Holthouse to Hell is probably the easiest route up the intimidating wall right of Serpentine Crack with the Holthouse climbs, and is the best climb I've done so far at Tres Piedras at this grade or easier, at least, as far as I can recall.

The Direct Start (5.11) is recommended, it adds another challenging crux to the climb but the result is the most aesthetic line. Begin just right of Serpentine Crack, face climb past 2 bolts, and reach an easy runout. Or use the original start to reach this same section by traversing over from Serpentine Crack past a black bolt.

If you look carefully, you'll see 3 bolted lines that you could follow from either of these starts. Take the middle of the 3 lines, which is the most natural and obvious way to go, going pretty much straight up clipping new bolts. Pull through a roof, a crazy mantle onto a chickenhead, and through another roof to more classic TP slabbing. Up high, there are a few options; route find the easiest way to a ledge with small oak trees and belay. An short and easy, but poorly protected, 5.2 pitch finishes the climb (you can't get all the way to the top in a single pitch with a 60m rope).

The bolts are in great places to protect the hardest moves.

This section of cliff is confusing because the routes have different starting variations and split from one another, and both guidebooks have errors/omissions. Taos Rock shows this line as "Learn to Forget", and lists Holthouse to Hell as the line to its left. RC:NM shows this line correctly, but shows "Learn to Forget" as angling farther right and incorrectly lists it as 5.11- (and it also doesn't show the left bolted line). Based on the comment from Bruce Holthouse passed on by Mike below, I'm confident the line I describe here is Holthouse to Hell at least.


For the recommended Direct Start, begin just right of Serpentine Crack below 2 bolts.
For the original start, begin as for Serpentine Crack and traverse right, passing a bolt.
Above, the climb follows the 2nd bolted line right of Serpentine Crack.


6 to 8 bolts. Supplement these with nuts and cams to 2", especially #0.3 camalot size, mainly placed in the diagonal seams.


Mike Howard    
All Bolts Replaced on Holthouse to Hell and Direct Start 11/10/09 with Hilti QB3 3/8

I think you climbed "Holthouse to Hell" with the Direct Start per Bruce Holthouse (FA rope solo lead). FFA and name by Dave Jones. Nov 11, 2009
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
I found the direct start is a bit more difficult (11+) than anything above it. The second bolt on the direct start is a tough, reachy clip but does protect the crux of the direct start well. I had a tough time getting past this bolt but no trouble on the rest of the route. This is a really great line.
I appreciate the upgraded hardware Bruce and Mike. Jun 13, 2010
Daniel Trugman
Los Alamos, NM
Daniel Trugman   Los Alamos, NM
I did the original start (or whatever the line just left of the Direct Start is...) today and thought it was quite nice. The bolt in question looked new to me, but I guess I didn't check too closely. In my opinion, this is a great way to enjoy the best parts of the climb, even if you're not quite up to Direct Start. Jul 31, 2011