Type: Trad, Alpine, 480 ft, 4 pitches, Grade II
FA: John Kear and William Penner (September 2009)
Page Views: 1,814 total · 16/month
Shared By: William Penner on Oct 28, 2009
Admins: Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Seasonal raptor closure for some areas in the Sandias Details


A great trad route and, as usual for this aspect of the Pino Wall, excellent stone abounds. Low on the route, we found an ancient, symmetrical hex slung with 1" webbing that looks like someone rapped off it in the 1970s. If anyone remembers trying this line before, feel free to chime in with their experiences.

Pitch 1 - Climb 30 ft up passing a small fir tree, stepping slightly left in a small trough to a large horizontal dike of compact red rock. Head straight up the hand crack and interesting tufa-like features, eventually reaching a large ledge. From the far left end of the ledge, climb up the arete past a piton (we will be placing this soon) to gain another ledge and continue on up the obvious corner and 2-bolt belay on the very large ledge. 120 ft 5.10a

Pitch 2 - Head up the obvious wide crack with Yosemite-style climbing for roughly 70 ft, eventually passing some jumbled blocks below a right-facing corner and roof. Climb up the corner to clip a bolt and pass the roof on its left side. Continue straight up over another small roof with a finger crack to the 2-bolt belay. 125 ft 5.10c

Pitch 3 - Stellar. Climb straight up off the belay in a left-facing corner until the crack ends and it is possible to traverse left to a bolt. Clip the bolt and head left and up into an amazing thin crack in a prominent right-facing corner until reaching a roof. Pull the roof and enjoy another 40 ft of hand cracks and feature climbing to a 2-bolt belay on a great ledge. 115 ft 5.11c

Pitch 4 - Airy and extremely memorable. Climb straight off the belay for 25 ft to a large chickenhead. Pull through some challenging thin cracks that trend right towards a bolt at the base of a pillar. Make some big moves and climb up the pillar to two more bolts on the face above. Thin, technical moves past the bolts lead to the arete and one of the coolest top-outs in all the Sandias. Belay off the 2-bolt anchor you rapped in on. 110 ft 5.11c


The route is located on the right side of the south face of Pino Wall. The route's start is 100 to 150 ft right of, and downhill from, the start of License and a Visa. Approach the Pino Wall in the standard way.

The best way to find the route is to walk east (down climb along the ridge) approximately 150 to 200 ft from the top of License and a Visa, passing a fallen dead tree, until you reach a big ledge with two bolts. Leave a cordelette on these bolts for the descent and rap straight down to a 2-bolt belay with chains. Rap again to a 2-bolt belay with quick-links that you can barely reach with a single 70 m rope. Extend this anchor with another cordelette to gain some more distance for the next rap that you can easily complete with two ropes going straight down to a massive ledge with a bolted belay and chains or, if you are rapping with a single 70 m rope, rap slightly left to a higher subsidiary ledge with a single bolt above the big shelf. You can down-climb from here to the larger shelf. As soon as possible we will be placing a fixed handline to facilitate this process. One more rap off the two-bolt anchor on the right end of the big shelf should get you to the ground or to a spot with 5 ft or so of easy down-climbing.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You can rap the route with a single 70 m rope but just barely and even then you need to pay close attention to the rope ends and do some down-climbing to reach the top of the first pitch and possibly the ground. If in doubt, bring a second rope!


Bring a few RPs or small stoppers in addition to a standard set of nuts, cams from .33 to 4" (4 Friend or newer 4 Camalot), bring doubles from .5-1.5. Also, bring two cordelettes to extend bolted anchors for rappelling.

Pitch 1: 1 fixed pin (once we get around to placing it) and belay bolts at the top
Pitch 2: 1 bolt and a bolted belay
Pitch 3: 1 bolt and a bolted belay
Pitch 4: 3 bolts and belay bolts at the top


great route, especially the last 2 pitches. Thanks for putting it up! Sep 19, 2010
George Perkins
The Dungeon, NM
George Perkins   The Dungeon, NM
-The last 2 pitches are great. The first 1+1/2 pitches are not so good, but its possible we were off-route on p1. (Too far right maybe? It worked, it wasn't a big deal.)
-We didn't see a bolt on p2.
-On the last pitch, going straight to the first bolt seemed contrived. I stayed in the nice hand crack, then, at about the level of the first bolt, traversed right. Though I couldn't clip that bolt, I was still able to get to the hand crack pillar and the last 2 bolts on the final headwall. Also, from the belay, it looks like there's a new bolt out left-- don't go to that. Jan 12, 2014
Patrick Vernon
Estes Park, CO
Patrick Vernon   Estes Park, CO
I thought this was the best of the trilogy of harder routes on the south face of Pino. This one has a mostly natural line that travels straight up the "nose" for a continuously airy and memorable experience on the last two pitches with some excellent climbing; equal parts technical and burl. The first two pitches might leave something to be desired for some people, but I thoroughly enjoyed them as well! A cool crack, some tufas... good stuff. Excellent climb. Sep 11, 2014
Evan Belknap
Placitas, NM
Evan Belknap   Placitas, NM
Just about anything would be worth it to get to those last 2 pitches, but luckily there's nothing too hellish in the way—other than some sugary rock on pitch 2.

Thanks for this one John! Sep 15, 2014