Type: Trad, 600 ft (182 m), 4 pitches, Grade III
FA: w/ left variation to crux: Doug Couleur, Lee Sheftel, Peter Prandoni. Direct water groove: Rick Smith
Page Views: 441 total · 38/month
Shared By: George Perkins on Oct 10, 2020
Admins: Mike Howard, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Access Issue for Areas in BLM Taos Field Office Lands Details


Aero Questa is the hardest and most striking line at Questa.  It goes up the stunning water streak in the middle of the dome.

Pitch 1.  Climb Question of Balance p1 to its bolted belay (5.11-, 150').  Or, if you want to get your feet dialed in for thin climbing, consider doing the alternate start to Question of Balance to its right (5.11+).

Pitch 2.  From the belay, clip the jank piton, then diagonal up and left, passing 2 bolts to a belay below the water streak (5.10, 50').  Somewhat spaced between the 2 bolts.  Use the first bolt in the water streak and finger size cams for an anchor.  (There is not a 2-bolt belay here as shown in the book, unless we are blind.)

Pitch 3.  This pitch is amazing, beautiful, intimidating, and will challenge all but the very best techy slab/thin-face climbers (I learned I am not one).  Go up the water streak.  Hardest moves are just off the belay (5.12-), and at overlap half-way up (mid-5.12), with the remainder of the pitch almost all at least solid 5.11 with precious few edges bigger than 1/4”. Find a bolted belay at the top of the line, a bit below the level of the main Questa roof.  All bolted, about 10 in total (don't bring any trad rack except if linking or if doing the variation) .  Bolts aren't close enough to cheat, you have to climb (5.12, 150').  

Original Variation to p3: I haven't gone this way, just looked over there; see comment from Dave Baltz below.  Start the same as above, but at a stance on a dike at the 3rd or 4th bolt, a bolt leads to the left. It looks as though you angle left, passing some holes (possible gear?), pull over the lip (possible intermediate belay?), then follow bolts up and right to the same belay.  The book calls this 5.11+ (after the initial 5.12- start).  This would allow you to bypass the crux.

Pitch 4.  Traverse right 30' to the Question of Balance 2-bolt belay below the left (easier, standard) roof exit.  I placed a small nut as the only pro on this pitch, a #00 TCU or similar might also fit (5.9R, 35').  We linked this with the previous pitch and would recommend that (unless you want to lower and work the crux).

Pitch 5.  Climb the 5.10 roof, and continue to the top by the variation of your choice.  The 5.10 slab line with 4 spaced bolts straight above the roof makes for the most sustained finish.  It's runout, but if you survived pitch 3, you'll do just fine.  It's 190' to a belay at a tree.  3rd class to the top.  Easier finishes go to the right after you pull the roof (see Question of Balance page).


This climb goes into the water streak left of Question of Balance.  Pitch 1 is shared with Question of Balance.


Bring about 15 draws and runners.  Bolts are 3/8", not rusty 1/4".  Trad gear is pretty much whatever you need for Question of Balance: Nuts and cams to #2 camalot, with doubles in the finger sizes, extra #0 TCUs if doing the 11+ start. Bring tight edging shoes and either a bail biner or an old school rope gun for the crux.


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