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Jemez Cave (a.k.a. Crystal Cave) - CLOSED

Routes Sorted
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Botox S 
Dope S 
Faith S 
Leper S 
Leprosy S 
Minutia S 
New 1 S 
Rosebudd S 
Soul Crusher S 
Unknown S 

Jemez Cave (a.k.a. Crystal Cave) - CLOSED Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 6,551'
Location: 35.7915, -106.687 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 10,549
Administrators: Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Anthony Stout on Aug 7, 2006


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New Mexico "CAVING" Crystal Cave-Dope (5...

Closed Permanently for Sensitive Archaeological Resources MORE INFO >>>



The Santa Fe National Forest issued a closure order for Jemez (aka Crystal) Cave on August 21st, 2012. The closure applies to all users and is in effect until rescinded or for one year and includes the cave and surrounding area within 50 feet as well as the access trails. They plan on fencing and posting the area next week. Violations are punishable by fines of up to $5000 and/or imprisonment of up to 6 months.

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This crazy place is made up of a mineral called travertine, a mineral deposit from hot springs. It has a feel of limestone with multiple pockets.

The routes here are difficult, all overhanging as they travel through the cave. Not only are they difficult to climb, we found them quite difficult to find! Typically you are lowered off single chains from the roof of the cave, and left wondering what route you did! There were many that were described in the guidebook "Jemez Rock", and we could not even figure out which was which. So, be warned, fun and difficult climbing with confusing route finding!

Please leave the biners on the chains for lowering!

Closure Order 

From the closure order at :

Pursuant to 16 USC 551 and Title 36 CFR 261.50 (a) and (b), the following acts are prohibited within the area as
described in this Order (the " restricted area") and as depicted on the attached map, hereby incorporated into this
Order as Exhibit A, within the Jemez Ranger District, Santa Fe National Forest, Sandoval County within the State
of New Mexico.
1. Going into or being upon the Jemez Cave, the area surrounding the cave, and/or the user-created trails
leading to the cave. 36 CFR 261.53(c), 36 CFR 261.53(d), 36 CFR 261.53(e) and 36 CFR 261.53(f).
Pursuant to 36 CFR § 261.50 ( e ), the following persons are exempt from this Order:
1. Persons with a Forest Service permit specifically authorizing the otherwise prohibited act or omission.
2. Any Federal, State, or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the
performance of an official duty.
3. Persons employed by the Jemez Mountain Electric Cooperative conducting routine maintenance activities
on existing utility power lines and poles.
The restricted area is described as Jemez Cave and the area surrounding the cave, extending 50 feet upslope from
the roof of cave, extending 50 feet on either side of the mouth of the cave, extending down slope to New Mexico
Highway 4 Right-of-Way, and including all access trails leading to the cave. The restricted area does not include
the unimproved parking area immediately adjacent to the highway Right-of-Way.
The purpose of this Order is to provide short term natural and cultural resource protection for the Jemez Cave and
to protect public safety and welfare until current damages to natural and cultural resources can be assessed and a
long-term management strategy developed.
1. This Order will be in effect when signed and shall remain in effect until May l, 2019, or until rescinded,
whichever occurs first.
2. Any violation of this prohibition is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor by a fine of not more than $5,000
for individuals and $10,000 for organizations and/or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.
[Title 16 USC 551, Title 18 USC 3559, 3571, and 3581.]
3. This Order supersedes any previoiz orders pro ibiting; the same acts covered by this Order.

Getting There 

Follow the directions to the Jemez Valley, and continue up highway 4. About one mile beyond the town of Jemez springs is the Soda Dam. Once you see the Soda Dam, continue to drive just past by some guardrails and park in the left side parking lot. Follow a trail going up the left side of the canyon, directly across from the Soda Dam, for 2-3 minutes and you will run into the cave.

Climbing Season

For the Jemez Mountains and Jemez Valley area.

Weather station 0.6 miles from here

10 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',4],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Jemez Cave (a.k.a. Crystal Cave) - CLOSED

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Jemez Cave (a.k.a. Crystal Cave) - CLOSED:
Leprosy   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 30'   
New 1   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 30'   
Minutia   5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b     Sport, 35'   
Dope   5.13a/b 8a 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c     Sport, 50'   
Soul Crusher   5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c     Sport, 60'   
Leper   5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c     Sport, 50'   
Faith   5.13 8a 29 X- 30 E7 6c     Sport, 60'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Jemez Cave (a.k.a. Crystal Cave) - CLOSED

Featured Route For Jemez Cave (a.k.a. Crystal Cave) - CLOSED
Rock Climbing Photo: end of dope

Dope 5.13a/b 8a 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c  New Mexico : Jemez Mountains and Jemez V... : Jemez Cave (a.k.a. Crystal ...
Thuggy moves right off the ground lead past 3 bolts to a shelf and some underclings. Rest up here as much as possible. Continue past a couple more bolts on smaller holds to a difficult move getting established in a pair of pockets and a big throw out of them to a jug. Move up the series of jugs past another bolt. Make a long reach out left from the highest jug to clip, call it good for "Short on Dope" 5.12+, or bust the V6 boulder problem moving out left to another jug and clip, then up on flat ...[more]   Browse More Classics in New Mexico

Photos of Jemez Cave (a.k.a. Crystal Cave) - CLOSED Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking out from inside the cave
Looking out from inside the cave
Rock Climbing Photo: Topo, right side of the right cave
BETA PHOTO: Topo, right side of the right cave
Rock Climbing Photo: Topo, more the left side of the right cave
BETA PHOTO: Topo, more the left side of the right cave
Rock Climbing Photo: Steep climbing at Crystal Cave
Steep climbing at Crystal Cave
Rock Climbing Photo: After reading the general description of Crystal C...
BETA PHOTO: After reading the general description of Crystal C...
Rock Climbing Photo: Random climber at Crystal Cave.
Random climber at Crystal Cave.

Comments on Jemez Cave (a.k.a. Crystal Cave) - CLOSED Add Comment
Show which comments
By lance hadfield
From: tijeras
Mar 17, 2010
it sucks that the descriptions of my climbs were pulled so Marc and Timmy could bolt some variations to train on and not just give updated descriptions.
By LeeAB Brinckerhoff
From: ABQ, NM
Jun 3, 2010
I've added some photo topos with names of routes that I've been on and resubmitted the routes that I've done.

Please feel free to chime in with names of the new routes that I've just listed as "New #?" for the time being.
By Anthony Stout
From: Albuquerque, NM
Jun 11, 2010
George is right. Removing the route descriptions was done because, from the information I received from Marc, the changes that had been made in the cave made these descriptions obsolete. Removal was not intended to offend anyone. I apologize if it did.
By djkyote
May 7, 2012
while tightening the 4th and 5th nuts on Dope that like to loosen themselves, we discovered that the entire bolts are loose and can be moved up and down.
By Eric Whitbeck
Jun 8, 2012
Nice job Bryan. Removing the fixed hardware sounds like a great gesture.
By Dustin Stephens
Aug 16, 2012
I hope this "temporary archaeological assessment closure" turns out to be a lot less permanent than the ones here in the Red River Gorge. Best of luck with the process!
By bruno-cx
Jan 15, 2013
Might find this article interesting:

Not really sure if it impacts other crags.

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