Type: Trad, 850 ft (258 m), 5 pitches, Grade III
FA: Rico Meleski, Doug Bridgers June 1974
Page Views: 3,230 total · 22/month
Shared By: Bill Lawry on May 21, 2012
Admins: Jason Halladay, Mike Hoskins, Anna Brown

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Description Suggest change

La Selva seems to have a reputation for vegetation. It is not as bad as it sounded to me as climbed in 2012 & 2015, the latter of which was a high rain year. Still, if you like adventure climbing and bushwhacking and are solid leading 5.8, this climb is for you.

For route description, see Mick Schein's "Sandia Rock" (2003). However, the below pitch counts do not match after the first couple pitches. That is, the below description splits the guide-book P3 into two pitches for a total of seven pitches ... and may give too much detail for some (spoiler alert).

P1 - 5.7 R-ish: Climb up aiming to track about 20 left of the right facing dihedral (see below photo). At one point work close to the dihedral for a few moves but be wary of poor rock on right face. Higher, at top, veer left and up to big ledge system with a large block with not many placements for pro. 150 ft.

There is just enough loose rock to probably want to station the belayer a bit right of P1.

A P1 variation starts further left at a tree: Go up through a hand crack, then wander through suspect rock to the ledge system - top of this way is shown in this photo:

P2 - 5.7: Head left and up through chimney sections for ~70 feet. Then continue ~straight up an undulating wide-ish crack in a sort of right facing dihedral. At 100 feet, traverse left onto blocks, where it takes effort to assemble a good anchor. 110 ft.

P3 -5.5R: Climb a little down and then left across a large ledge. Just past ledge end, head straight up - run out & exposed. Then continue up an easy intermittent shallow crack system to its 'top', and step left into a very dirty and bush-filled gully. Belay just above the bushes / dirt at the base of a clean hand crack with large chock stone just above. Save 1 to 2 inch cams for the belay anchor. 100 ft.

P4 -5.7: Face climb right of base of hand crack. Step left onto blocks on top of chock stone which brings one to the base of an off width. Head up the off width and navigate around / over a large stone at its top - seems solid. Continue up, eventually escaping left and up to a large tree on a large ledge. 80 ft.

Bottom of P4 OW protects with 3" cam in it, or ~2" cam/hex slightly up and right of OW. After a few moves up the OW and at a good stance, a 4" cam works well. Leaders at their limit may want a second large cam - 4" or maybe 5"? - for up higher.

Stronger leaders can combine P3 and P4: ~195 feet to tree; still, a fall on the offwidth is likely to land one on the blocks with that much rope out; communication may be very poor.

P5 - 5.8: Climb the face that is about 10 or 15 feet right of tree. The difficulty lessens around 35 feet up. Continue up easier terrain and make easy mantel onto a large flat plate with a 4 to 5" crack around a corner behind it. 80 ft.

To sew up the crux section of P3, micro cams and ball nuts are useful as well as other medium to small passive pieces; the 2nd and 3rd smallest of the Trango set of ball nuts found good placements.

For anchor, a 4 to 5 inch piece is nice plus a medium hex / nut can be slotted behind a wedged chock stone. In any case the stance alone is bomber so long as the plate doesn't pitch off.

P6 - 5.8 but not as sustained as the beginning of P5: Face climb up, generally angling right. At about 25 feet, climb up through a right-facing dihedral. Getting nearer the big trees, traverse right ~15 feet and then up intermittent cracks and into the trees. 150 to 180 ft depending where you stop.

If inclined to free solo the remaining route, belay follower from anywhere in the trees. To set up to belay the remainder, end P6 by walking / scrambling up to the highest tree (1 ft diameter) on a dirty ledge or go even further up onto a minor rib if have enough rope and can find a suitable anchor - reduces rope drag and improves comms for P7.

P7 - 4th class: If not done, continue up across a minor rib, turn slightly right, and then climb up angling left through the easiest terrain. This ends on comfortable horizontal ground at the top of Muralla Grande. 170 ft.

The P7 terrain is blocky, lichen covered, not easy to protect, and very exposed in places. Communication will be poor if belay is back at the highest tree.

Location Suggest change

This has the same starting pitch as Warpy Moople. The first three pitches are easily viewed from the "Front Porch" at the base of Muralla Grande: find the start of the route; then hike back down about 50 yards and out onto the top of the "Front Porch" formation.

Protection Suggest change

No bolts on this route. A half dozen or so pieces 1/2 inch and smaller for the crux pitch (TCUs are nice); otherwise, we had a standard Sandia Rack up to the size of a #4 BD C4. Some may want a second of that biggest piece for near the end of P3 ... or plan to walk that big bad boy up some?