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Cowboy Bob's Chickenhead Delight

5.10, Trad, 160 ft,  Avg: 3.7 from 11 votes
FA: Dave Jones, Hugh O'Neill and Beau Hayworth
New Mexico > Taos Area > Tres Piedras > Middle Rock
Access Issue: Some rocks in this area are on private property. Property owner requests signed waiver. Details


When looking up at the top of Middle Rock from the base of the south face one can't help but notice this steep, short face of awesome chicken heads. Cowboy Bob's Chicken Head Delight ascends straight up the face through some of the coolest chicken heads I've ever pulled down on. Unfortunately, the first half of the route is easy climbing before switching to the steep, featured climbing--you'll be wishing it was longer.

Start at the base of the south face on the far left side below the long, right-angling corner/overlap. Note that D. Jackson's book shows coming in from high up on the west rib but I think starting the climb from the base of the face gets you more climbing and one extra committing move to get established on the steep face initially.

Follow the long right-angling overlap (easy fourth class) up until you reach a super positive chalk-dusted flake below the chickenheads above. Get some pro at your feet here and then make a committing move to stand up onto the face. Tiny, tricky pro can be found here before a few balancy moves up to get into the very steep chicken head-infested face.

Trend right as you climb up through a few tricky sections between very positive chicken heads and flakes. A fixed nut (summer 2009) helps with the pro before finding a large chicken head to sling. Pull up onto what must be one of the bigger chicken heads in the state before making one last slabby move to easier ground and up to the top.


Start at the west end of the south face of Middle Rock. Look for the huge chicken head on the sky line...that's the destination.


Pretty light rack...I placed a red link cam, a green C3, clipped the fixed nut, a yellow C3 and slung a couple of chicken heads. Small to medium nuts would also be beneficial.


Walk off from the top. It looks like you might could go straight down west from the top of the route but we hiked east for a good bit and then headed down a level back west and continued west to basically the base of the Alien.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Spectacular exit moves with good protection.
[Hide Photo] Spectacular exit moves with good protection.
Happy to sling this one.
[Hide Photo] Happy to sling this one.
Climbing above the low-angle slab
[Hide Photo] Climbing above the low-angle slab
Vertical juggy chickenheads rule.
[Hide Photo] Vertical juggy chickenheads rule.
The yellow dots show (most of) the route.
[Hide Photo] The yellow dots show (most of) the route.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

David Baltz
Albuquerque, New Mexico
  5.10 PG13
[Hide Comment] A classic route I do every time I'm at TP. Dec 13, 2009
Bob Graham
Portland, OR
  5.10 PG13
[Hide Comment] One of the wildest and funnest climbs I have ever done. Protection is there but it is a heads up climb with some moves over bulges with pro below you. The chicken heads are amazing! May 30, 2011
Matthias Lang
  5.10 PG13
[Hide Comment] An amazing climb. I wouldn't consider myself a solid 5.10 trad leader and was pondering a long time weather I should get on this one, since it does look pretty committing (Bienvenidos was the only 5.10 I did here before). I'm glad I did it. As Bob says, protection is there it is just a bit unorthodox, furthermore the big chicken-heads higher up provide excellent opportunities to de-pump. Apr 23, 2012
David Baltz
Albuquerque, New Mexico
  5.10 PG13
[Hide Comment] I've been thinking this route really needs a bolt after the last big chickenhead at the base of the final easy slab. A fall by the second at this point would be ugly! Nov 17, 2017