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Little River Wall

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Cobble Cave (a.k.a. Black Cave) 
Main Wall 
Sideshow Attraction Wall 
Slope City (a.k.a. Pink Wall) 

Little River Wall Rock Climbing 

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Elevation: 7,400'
Location: 36.38908, -106.2346 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 16,963
Administrators: Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Jason Halladay on Jul 27, 2014

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Fall colors at the Little River Wall. October 2013...


The Little River Wall (LRW) is a tall, 100’ foot wall situated right next to the El Rito River four miles northwest of El Rito, NM at an elevation of roughly 7,500’. The rock is conglomerate rock similar in nature to the other established sport climbing El Rito crag north of the town of El Rito. The conglomerate rock at the Little River Wall has some really good sections as well and many sections of lesser quality. Nonetheless, it has cleaned up nicely for long, enjoyable moderate sport climbs (60 meter rope mandatory!) That said, climbing development of the area only began in spring 2013 and, while most routes have seen numerous ascents, rock fall is still a strong possibility and it’s imperative that belayers wear helmets and be attentive.
Most all routes have anchors equipped with lowering carabiners on the chains. Please don’t steal these. Simply drop your rope in them to lower safely and conveniently. Feel free to contribute lowering biners to the chains of routes that don’t already have them as many biners may be aluminum and could use an upgrade to steel.

A Note About New Areas and New Routes

If you're used to climbing at older, well-established areas you might be surprised with how much rock can fall off new routes. New areas and routes take a long time to clean up. While most first ascensionists, ourselves included, do as much as they can to remove loose rocks from new routes, they can't get every possible loose rock. Ultimately it's your responsibility to climb carefully, evaluate suspect holds and be prepared for rockfall. It’s not a matter of IF you will pull something off, it’s a matter of how much and how big. Seriously, be careful! We spent hours upon hours hanging in our harnesses, until our legs went numb, cleaning the routes in an effort to make them safe. But we can't get it all. New routes in new areas will be loose/dirty/scary despite the best cleaning efforts.

The Layout 

There are five established areas at the LRW--The Main Wall, the Cobble Cave (a.k.a. Black Cave), Slope City (a.k.a. Pink Wall), the smaller Sideshow Attraction Wall and the region between Slope City (a.k.a. Pink Wall) and the Sideshow Attraction wall called Vaudeville. All walls face west so they’re shady until around noon or 1:00pm. The cave is shady most all day. The walls and surrounding area are in the El Rito Ranger District of the Carson National Forest.
The setting of the LRW is what really makes the area a wonderful area to visit. The wall is tall with the El Rito River running right next to the base of the southern tip of the Main Wall. A huge, flat grassy meadow dotted with cottonwood trees at the base of the wall makes for an idyllic setting to lounge and lunch during a day of climbing. And with a flat, five minute hiking approach one can bring all the comforts they desire. Kids and dogs can play in the gently flowing river while others climb. It definitely is a special place.

All routes in the area were established beginning in spring 2013. The original guide document is still available online (last updated August 2015), if interested.

Getting There 

From the town of El Rito, NM, drive northwest on the paved highway 110 for 3.8 miles where the road turns to a dirt road. Continue on the now dirt road highway 110 for less than a quarter mile to a meadow with dispersed campsites on the right side of the road and a orange/white “Be Extra Careful with Fire” and “...for a healthy environment keep your forests green” sign. Look for this sign. Park here or continue another 25 yards to a small parking area on the left (west) side of the road. You will not be able to see the wall from the road as trees obscure the view! If you drive past the parking areas and arrive at the developed El Rito Campground, you’ve gone too far and need to turn back. See this map for accessing the Little River Wall and for an overview of the area.
From either of the parking areas, hike north along a small acequia towards the river. The short, flat approach trail is sometimes cairned and follows an old, faint road for a short bit before reaching the river. Cross the river and you’re there. The wall will be obvious. In spring you may want sandals for the wet river crossing. However, upstream just a bit from the wall is a large downed Cottonwood tree over the river that makes for a convenient bridge. In summer and fall, the river is low enough to be crossed on large rocks in the river.


The area is in the Carson National Forest. A few free, dispersed campsites can be found at the parking area meadow. Alternatively the established El Rito Campground is a quarter mile further along highway 110 past the LRW parking area. The campground has 11 sites, two pit toilets but no water (you can filter water from the El Rito River, however.) The campground is open from April to November and there is no fee for camping. The campground does get busy and noisy, though.

Climbing Season

Weather station 4.7 miles from here

34 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',14],['2 Stars',17],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Little River Wall

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Little River Wall:
Captain Underpants   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Vaudeville
Zero Gravity Plinko   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport, 40'   Vaudeville
Imitation Strawberry   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 90'   Main Wall
Bit By The Bit   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 95'   Main Wall
Baby Disco Show   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 90'   Main Wall
Charming Chelsea Charms   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 45'   Sideshow Attraction Wall
Everybody Jae Chang Tonight   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b     Sport, 90'   Main Wall
Busted By Dewey   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 90'   Main Wall
Hawg-Dawg’s Mind-Boggling Explosion of Fun and Excitement feat. David Hasselhoff    5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 90'   Main Wall
Pull the Mirrors Off Your Cadillac (So it Doesn't Look Like You Look Back)   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 90'   Main Wall
Slope-oke   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 65'   Slope City (a.k.a. Pink Wal...
Slopy Seconds   5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 65'   Slope City (a.k.a. Pink Wal...
Broken Desire   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 30'   Cobble Cave (a.k.a. Black C...
Kick Me in the Jimmy   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 49'   Cobble Cave (a.k.a. Black C...
Broken Desire 43   5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 45'   Cobble Cave (a.k.a. Black C...
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Little River Wall

Featured Route For Little River Wall
Rock Climbing Photo: Cruising through the sea of cobbles on "Buste...

Busted By Dewey 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b  New Mexico : El Rito : ... : Main Wall
Climb up huge cobbles by a big flake before it gets steeper. Super fun....[more]   Browse More Classics in New Mexico

Photos of Little River Wall Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Tents at Little River Wall area viewed from Imitat...
Tents at Little River Wall area viewed from Imitat...
Rock Climbing Photo: A good view of much of the Main Wall. The Black Ca...
A good view of much of the Main Wall. The Black Ca...

Comments on Little River Wall Add Comment
Show which comments
By Jason Halladay
From: Los Alamos, NM
Aug 4, 2014
As you will probably find out, our suggested ratings here are certainly just ballpark guesses and most likely soft.
As the routes clean up and chalk up, I fully expect the routes to feel easier. Routes tend to feel a bit harder when they're brand new, one is a bit cautious about pulling hard and the best holds aren't chalked up.
By Chet Butterworth
From: Chattanooga
Jun 6, 2015
Tip of the hat to the developers of this fine climbing area. LRW is perhaps the most pleasant sport climbing area I've visited; beautiful cliff, lush meadow, and cool river. It all makes for a nice high mileage clipping day after pulling hard at ERS or plugging gear at ERT. We knocked off (tapped, really) some loose rock but the belayer wore a helmet as advised. Don't miss this area, even if you climb harder than the established grades. All for fun and fun for all!
By tim naylor
Sep 9, 2015
still pretty loose. even some of the jugs and clipping holds. cave routes seems like was cleaned more but we didnt climb there. great routes and a beautiful setting.
By Ed Santiago
From: Los Alamos, NM
May 14, 2017
Heads-up: the crossing log has been washed out. River is flowing strong, so there's not really a safe way to cross right now (2017-05-14).
By Owen Summerscales
From: Los Alamos, NM
May 29, 2017
Regarding the log, just keep hiking up the river and you will find another one that you can use to cross. Not as convenient as the old one but it works!
By Owen Summerscales
From: Los Alamos, NM
May 29, 2017
This crag is cleaning up really well, almost as solid as the routes at El Rito now. How things change! Only encountered a couple of questionable cobbles after climbing all weekend.

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