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Routes in The Chimney

Arrow Heads and Pitons T 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
North Face Direct T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Rocky Racoon T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Smoke on the Horizon T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
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Type: Trad, Alpine, 240 ft, 2 pitches
FA: Charlie Ware, Mike Hill, John Allen, Spring 1975
Page Views: 2,101 total · 21/month
Shared By: Chris Wenker on Aug 17, 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 fun, burly old-school 5.7 that protects very well. Although it's a little vague, we tried to follow Hill's description and topo (1993:122-123) as much as possible. It goes, so we must have been nearly on route most of the way. I'm not clear how pitch 1 of this route might relate to Arrow Heads and Pitons.

P1. Climb to a ledge and find a stellar lieback splitter that trends to the right. At the top of that crack, step left around an arete into a V-shaped alcove with a thin splitter on the left. Continue up the weakness to the left and belay on a large sloping ledge. No fixed gear was observed on this pitch.
P2. This pitch is shared with some other climbs like the North Face Direct, and probably AH&P. Start up a deep chimney under a suspended block. Gain the block, and make a bunch of thuggish moves past more overhanging blocks. Pass by an old ring pin and a relic bolt to a large platform below the summit block. A big easy crack then leads to the top.


Ascends the northern face of the Chimney. Start near the right-hand (west) side, by a log lying right at the base.
Rap as described on the main page.


A single set of nuts, 1-1/2 set of cams to 2.5" suffice (we took a #4 C4, but it was not critical). Some old fixed gear is present, but it is of dubious reliability. Gear is necessary for all belays.
The summit has no anchor, so a belayed downclimb back to the lower platform will be necessary.


William Penner
The 505
William Penner   The 505
Was this route really three stars? I was over on the Clandestine Wall on Saturday watching you guys climb it and it looked awful except for the flaring chimney.

Glad you enjoyed it at least. Aug 17, 2010
Chris Wenker
Santa Fe
Chris Wenker   Santa Fe
Ha, anytime I give 3 stars to a Sandia route someone calls me on it. Well, we found some fun splitters, and only one loose rock. Good movement over some heady ground with solid pro, and a summit floating in the sky.
Although it didn't look like much from afar, I found it more satisfying than some more popular comparable stuff like Miss Piggy, for example. YMMV. Aug 17, 2010
John Kear
Albuquerque, NM
John Kear   Albuquerque, NM
This is actually a pretty good route, I used to do it quite a bit. For the grade and length it's one of the better routes in the Sandia's. Almost like a hidden gem but with more lichen.
I think Karl Kiser and Chris Kessler did a direct finish to the second pitch climbing straight up the corner and over the roofs above. I think they said it was 5.8+.

The Chimney is very cool formation and worth climbing by any route. Aug 22, 2010
Jay Carroll
Jay Carroll  
This felt a bit on the hard side for 5.7, but I think that was partially psychological and partly because I gave myself too much rope drag. It really does start on the west side of the north face. We stumbled on the actual route without being sure, but a post-climb image comparison confirmed it. There were two loose rocks, but they're gone now. We chose to belay in the cave instead of up by the bushes. It was a good belay, but led to more rope drag on pitch 2. I'd really like to give it 2.5 stars. It really is a fun climb. Aug 31, 2013
Wes Martin
Denver, CO
Wes Martin   Denver, CO
I also thought this was hard for 5.7; but that is mostly because of difficult route finding and it was cold. Make sure to aim for the cave in the middle of the tower. Didn’t read this beforehand, but we also ended up belaying from the cave like Jay Carroll and it resulted in some unnecessary rope drag.
When at the top MAKE SURE to belay from the webbing anchor that is closer to the edge; we didn’t and the rope got stuck; had to reascend. Would have just cut the other one but I didn’t have a knife.

Heady and fun route, and the view was awesome! I was nearly blinded by flying lichen. This would way easier second time around. Apr 25, 2016

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