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Routes in The Thumb

Aviary Ort Overhangs T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Fowl Play T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13
Halfbreed T 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
North Summit Direct T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Northwest Ridge T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Southeast Ridge (a.k.a., standard descent) T 4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b
Thundercracker S 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Twist-O-Flex T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Water Stains T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
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Type: Trad, Alpine, 300 ft, 2 pitches
FA: unknown
Page Views: 1,396 total · 16/month
Shared By: Bill Lawry on Mar 27, 2011
Admins: Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski

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

Description

This route is actually the standard descent route. But by itself it can make for an enjoyable part of a day up in the alpine for non-climbers with an experienced climber.

A description of the route as climbed from below ...

P1: Ignore the interesting looking short pinacle to the SE of the pod. Instead, head in the opposite direction up the SE Ridge towards the summit of The Thumb. The angle of ascent will lessen to almost horizontal towards the end of the pitch to a point where the ridge significantly steepens. Belay at a tree. 2nd class, maybe 3rd; ~130 feet.

P2: Continue up the ridge via a very obvious ledge system on climber's left of the ridge line. 4th class, ~150 feet.

If the return involves down-climbing the route or you are descending after climbing a different route, the lowest ledge of P2 is not obvious until almost down to the very top of that ledge.

A description of the route when down climbing ...

The photo ain't much to look at, even if the camera lense didn't have a finger print on it. Still, this is the view from the top generally looking south and down at the start of the SE Ridge route. Down climbing the route begins alongside the tree on the right side of the photo.
Find the healthy tree on the right side of the above photo (i.e., south side of the top of The Thumb). John Kear indicates this tree is about 150 feet south (SE) from the summit (agree).

Down climb immediately next to that tree to a sloping dirty ledge that trends to skier's left (SE). A dozen or more feet down this "dirty" ledge is a tree with a half-foot or so diameter trunk; there is a nice flat ledge on the ridge line a few feet above the base of this tree. Although that ledge looks inviting, continue traversing to the SE just below the tree and find the beginning of a third ledge (clean) that trends downward to skier's left - follow it.

The rest of the way down pretty much stays on the ridge line.

Location

The Thumb
Head up boulder fields and sparse forest above the La Luz Trail towards the SE end or left side of this photo:
We headed up the obvious boulder field on the far left side of photo on our approach to the SE Ridge, when the boulder field was full of snow. The La Luz Trail is visible in a couple spots where it crosses the boulder field. Near the top we then trended rightward to the notch at the skyline. Photo courtesy of [[105787518]].
Gain the ridge proper at a localized low point in the ridge where there is a ~2 foot wide notch standing about four feet off the forest duff. This deposits you in a mostly flat pod - roughly 8 feet diameter - on the ridge proper where the party can drop any gear not being taken to the top.

Protection

If making traditional leads out of this, take a half dozen or so pieces of pro ... there's a couple trees for belay anchors plus a large block on top to loop the rope around.

Photos

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