Type: Trad, Alpine, 600 ft, 6 pitches, Grade II
FA: Gary Hicks & Jim Fuge Oct 5, 1975
Page Views: 143 total · 1/month
Shared By: Bill Lawry on Nov 2, 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


This is the second of three Gary Hicks' routes I've done based strictly on Hill's guide - the others being Hail Peak's Poker and West Face Direct. In all cases the detailed descriptions were quite accurate.

Diagonal is reasonably done in five or six pitches. See beta photo for approximate belay locations. Would have given this route a "Great" quality rating except for a couple of hard-to-protect sections on poor rock.

  • P1, 5.6 or 5.7, PG13 pro, ~60 feet: chossy leftward traversing face climbing with some pro (barely adequate?); then up ~10 feet to a sloping belay ledge with a quasi-horizonal hand crack and a smaller vertical crack hidden immediately to the right.
  • P2, 5.8, ~100 feet: very good rock; traverse right several feet, then up, and then back left over a blocky ledge until can jam and lie-back up a huge right-facing dihedral (crux); belay at an adequate belay ledge shared with bush or continue up P3.
  • P3, 5.7, ~50 feet; hardest moves right off the belay; pretty good rock; jams, face-climbing; then escape from under the huge roof by heading left to a good belay ledge with okay pro.
  • P4, 5.8 or 5.9, PG13 pro, ~110+ feet; initially somewhat less than good rock; seemingly multiple options to start the pitch; our 3rd foray was the charm for us: got some tricky pro up in the the dihedral but then did the climb up at a location several feet to the right of the dihedral; second was able to climb directly up the dihedral; the route then gets on and follows the rightward "diagonal" crack; difficulty significantly eases after ~20 feet of traversing the "diagonal" crack; pitch ends on top of a very big belay platform.
  • P5, 5.9+, ~60 feet; the crux pitch; traverses the final part of the "diagonal" crack; burly start and then a couple hard sections of traversing (~20 feet each?) ... first on fingers with little for feet and then eventually through a section leading to some merciful hand jams with little for feet; can demand frequent pro for the leader and follower; pitch ends at a loose but good belay ledge on the SE Ridge Route. Hill's description mentions wavy rock and down-climbing - in the background area of this picture:
Diagonal: Start of P5 and the end of the namesake crack. Joins the middle of SE Ridge route just out of sight past the ledge/notch on the skyline.
  • P6, 5.7+, ~100 feet (shared with SE Ridge route); mantle up; then a one or two-move lie-back at the crux (or somewhat painful jam betwixt crystals); then, easy finger traverse for several feet to the right on slab; then up past a chock-stone; just above the chockstone, trend left and up, passing to the left of a healthy tree; the belay behind the tree includes a single piton plus gear; could extend the belay to the cliff edge to improve communications as the running tram is noisy for long periods of time.

Finish with a ~150 foot scramble to summit, first heading to the right from the belay; 3rd and 5.low the way we did it. Other options exist.

Some Legislative Reading Regarding Land Use In This Area

Testimony of Sandia Peak Tram and Ski Company Concerning Senate Bill No. 2018, 107th Congress, 2d Session Presented at the April 24, 2002 ; Hearings Before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources And Senate Committee on Indian Affairs


See beta photos. Start on a flat-topped block tucked up in the vegetated slot at the base of Ego Boost.


Standard rack to 3 inches plus a few micro sizes; we placed the #1, #0, #00 BD C3's plus the #2 Ballnutz. As of 1 Nov 2009, the only fixed gear is a nut near the crux of P2 and a piton for the belay at the top of P6.