Type: Trad, Alpine, 360 ft, 5 pitches
FA: Gary Hicks and Florian Walchak, 9/1/1975
Page Views: 519 total · 5/month
Shared By: Chris Wenker on Jun 7, 2010
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 a spicy backcountry adventure, with a somewhat worrisome amount of loose rock and wedged blocks. Described by Hill (1993:152-153) as a 5.7, but that rating would probably be considered a sandbag these days. We climbed it according to his pitch breakdown, but obviously some could be combined with today's longer ropes.
P1, climb a right-facing dihedral to a nice ledge at 95 feet.
P2, trend right under some fun overhangs. Belay on a ledge at 95 feet (sorta manky rock, though), or continue another 15 feet to a semi-hanging belay at a fixed pin.
P3, start up the broad open book that leads to the left, passing by some spooky wedged blocks. Stop at the base of the prominent left-leaning crack. 45 feet.
P4, the money pitch, on excellent rock. Grunt, whine, and whimper up the sandbagged OW/squeeze chimney. Belay on a good ledge at 75 feet. Hill's photo of this pitch (1993:153) does not do justice to the true nature of this crack (it's more like 8-10-12 inches?).
P5, straight up blocks through a hole in the summit overhang, behind a lodged chockstone. Belay from the summit (50 feet).


This climb is on the west face of Rat's Rock. Approach as described on the main page.
The objective is the prominent left-leaning crack in the middle of the clean face just below the summit overhangs. The climb starts about 15 feet to the right of a nice little bivy cave at the base, directly below a notch in the summit skyline. (The hole on the last pitch is hard to pick out from the ground). Descend by walking off, as described on the main page.


We took 1 set of nuts and 1-1/2 set of cams from tiny C3 to #4 C4, and that felt fine for most of the route. However, not expecting the OW/squeeze, I neglected to bring the biggest cams (but I'm not even sure a #6 Friend would do any good, though). Protecting the OW with tiny gear (e.g., a #3 Zero & #00 C3) in little seams wasn't particularly reassuring to avoid a FF2 onto the anchor. Some Big Bros, or a Valley Giant, would take some of the bite out of this pitch.
One fixed pin on the whole route; you need gear for all belays.


Chris Wenker
Santa Fe
Chris Wenker   Santa Fe
Uffda. P4 on Lost Hole felt as hard as some of the 5.8+ wide stuff I'd done in the South Platte just the preceding weekend. But my technique sucks, so..... Jun 7, 2010
Steven Reneau  
I climbed with Chris on this one. 5.8+, at least, seems reasonable for the OW p4 crux, fun challenge (as a 2nd; and Chris’s OW technique is much better than mine). P2 is also a nice pitch, ~5.7. I led the more scrambly and/or chossy pitches (p1, p3, p5). Top of p1 has a solid Doug fir for an anchor. Beware of potential loose blocks, large, that could head for belayers, particularly on p3. They would hurt. The namesake hole near the top (p5) is an interesting challenge. You could easily link pitches, combining p3 and/or p5 with adjacent ones. Jun 8, 2010
Jason J Patton  
This route is only 2 1/2 pitches at best. The first pitch is very short and could be linked with the second with a 70m but I think it wise to belay anyway. Pitch '4' is then pitch 3. I easily made the summit with a 60m cord from the third belay.

I'm no hard man but I did not feel this route to be over 5.7 at any point, especially by Sandia standards. I love the pic in the Mike hill book that makes the OW look like a splitter. I thought it quite funny when I saw the crack in person. Jun 22, 2010
Thank all of you for having the stupidity for repeating one of our many redickulust routes from the '70s n '80s ... we were simply trying to explore the many wonders of Virgin Rock that were hard to find elsewhere around with the Time Constraints Life has for most of us poor MF-s.
As John Lennon said just before he was coming out with his two new albums... "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."
If you liked his album DOUBLE FANTASY, then perhaps you'll appreciate a sweet December climb on the south side of the Jawbone !
BTW; "Rat's Rock" was named such because as we topped out the first pitch we saw a 'mouse' (?) to our right scrambling around with no concern about falling off. I think his name was Alex :o) Jul 8, 2015
Bill Lawry
New Mexico
Bill Lawry   New Mexico
Hey, Chris: Thanks for posting up what you found! As a fellow seeker of novel experiences on old Sandia routes, I appreciate the effort. Every now and then, some of them turn out to be pretty darn good ... even some put up by Gary. ;-) Jul 8, 2015