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Routes in Shield

Chicken Chop Suey T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R
Knife Edge T Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c
Odyssey, The T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Once In A Blue Moon T 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Procrastination T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Promise Land, The T 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Purple Haze T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c A4+ R
Rainbow Dancer T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R
Route 2 T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13
Route 6 T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Slipping Into Darkness T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Smorgasbord T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Standard S Route T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Type: Trad, Alpine, 700 ft, 6 pitches, Grade III
FA: September 1, 2012
Page Views: 813 total, 13/month
Shared By: Howard Snell on Sep 15, 2012
Admins: Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski

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Seasonal Falcon Closure Details
Juan Tabo Canyon is subject to annual access closures from March 1 to August 15. Details


Once In A Blue Moon combines the first three pitches of Hill's Route 6 with three pitches leading up a large southeast-facing dihedral just southeast of the large cave on the Shield's northwest face. All pitches have some good climbing on nice rock, but there are also sections of loose rock, dirt and a few bushes (August 2012). The crux is a pair of roofs on the penultimate pitch.

Bill Lawry was drawn to this line by a photo he posted. We looked up the dihedral while climbing Route 6 and decided to return as soon as we could.

Pitches 1 -3: climb Hill's Route 6 to the cave, traverse climber's right from the cave and set up belay for pitch 4.

Pitch 4 (5.6, 120'): some loose rock. Climb up dihedral starting right and traversing to the left side avoiding an obvious detached block (diving board) about 30 feet up (we bounced on this and it did not budge, August 2012). Continue up on thin gear (0.3 - 0.5") just left of chimney. When below an arching left-facing dihedral with thin crack traverse right into main dihedral/chimney and then up to a belay in large crack to right (1 - 3" gear up high or 4 - 5" gear lower for anchor).

Pitch 5 (5.7+, 130'): continue up main dihedral passing two roofs. First roof protects with 3 - 4" gear, second with 1 - 2" gear. Second roof is the crux. Set up belay on right side at base of large off-width/chimney below large roof/blocks.

Pitch 6 (5.7, 160'): continue up off-width, pass large chockstone to left while avoiding disturbing detached boulders behind chockstone (August 2012). Above chockstone 3rd class across vegetated ledge to continuation of main dihedral. Climb over/through several bushes to top. Belay from tree on top. 4" cams and Big Bro #3 can help protect the off-width/chimney as will 3/4" and smaller gear in the crack on the left face.


Approach is the same as for the Standard S Route. Descend via any of the typical descents for the Shield.


Standard Sandia rack with some larger cams (4 or 5"). We used a #3 Big Bro as well.

No bolts, no fixed gear and no anchors on this route.


Bill Lawry
New Mexico
Bill Lawry   New Mexico
An alternative to leading up to the cave of Route 6 and then traversing right to the dihedral: On P3 of Route 6, after making the fun traverse rightward for about 30 feet and after climbing straight up over the slight bulge, veer right and up on 4th class terrain in a bit more direct line to the base of the dihedral.

The three top pitches described here are entirely left of the original finish to Procrastination as described by Chris Wenker on that page. At the same time, the upper part of it may share in the finish of Procrastination as shown in photos and topos in Hill's guide, 3rd Edition (i.e., pages 82, 84 & 86). Sep 15, 2012