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Palomas Peak

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(01) The Entrance 
(02) The Slab Wall 
(03) The Franks 
(04) Showdown Wall 
(05) The Transition Zone 
(06) The Dihedral Wall 
(07) Randy's Wall 
(08) The Far Side I 
(09) The Far Side II 
(10) Red Light District 

Palomas Peak Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 35.2347, -106.406 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Anthony Stout on Jan 24, 2006
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BETA PHOTO: Trail Up to climb; starts right of parking area; a...


Palomas Peak (8,250ft) is a minor peak in the Sandia massif. As in the Sandia Mountains proper, the top layer of Palomas is limestone, forming in this case two separate cliff bands; the higher cliff band (at around 8,000ft) is the developed Palomas crag, although the lower cliff band is seeing some limited development (the online guide only covers the upper cliff band; the lower band has few routes, is exposed to rockfall from activity on the higher band, and features rock of much lower quality.) The limestone is of good quality, with very sharp, highly textured surface; taping up for cracks is mandatory and frequent resoling necessary. Be prepared for a lot of smearing and edging and for small holds. The crag has two Flavors: one area at the south end is very steep and features hard (12s and 13s) overhanging climbs, while the rest is a mix of natural-pro cracks and bolted, nearly vertical slabs; the latter are the most characteristic feature of Palomas. The cliff band varies from 30ft to 70ft, with most climbs in the 50-60ft range. All sports climbs (and several crack climbs) are equipped with lowering anchors (mostly two bolts and chains, but also welded coldshuts or rap hangers). (Pasted directly from online guidebook.)

Getting There 

From Albuquerque, take I-40 east, exit at Tijeras (Exit 175) and head north on NM 14 through Cedar Crest; after about 6 miles, turn left onto the Sandia Crest road (NM 536); soon after passing the ski area base (about 9 miles after leaving NM 14), turn off right (at Balsam Glade picnic area) onto dirt road leading to Placitas; after about 2 miles, stop at left turn with 3 concrete barriers west of the burn area. (If you get to Las Huertas picnic ground or the Sandia Man Cave, you have gone too far down.) Drive time is 40-50 mins. From Santa Fe, you can take I-25 to Placitas, exit to NM 165 and drive 14 miles to the parking area (the last 5 miles on dirt), but it is faster to take NM 14 south to the junction with the Sandia Crest road and proceed as above. Parking is limited and often a severe problem on week-ends: there is room for 8-9 cars at the 3 concrete barriers if you park perpendicular to the barriers; about 40m down the road from the turn, there is room (sideways) for 4 more cars on the uphill side; note that rangers will ticket any car that impinges upon the roadway. PLEASE CARPOOL and PARK WELL! Take the trail right by the barriers (note: walk UP the hill a little way beyond the barriers, and the trail is very large and prominant!); follow it across the burn area and through the forest, on a mostly level course, to a dry creek bed; at the creek bed turn sharp left onto an ascending trail that takes you to the corner of a LARGE clearing. The first turn on the left (sometimes barred), just before entering the clearing, puts you on the trail to the lower cliff band. The second turn on the left, just after entering the clearing and thus only 10 yards beyond the first turn, puts you on the trail to the upper cliff band (if you begin going through a huge open area, you are going too far. You can see the cliffs up and to the left when you see the trails veering off to the left). Allow about half an hour for the hike up with a full pack. Please stay on the trail: the native flora is easily damaged. From December till March, expect hazardous driving conditions on the dirt road (often only accessible from the Placitas side), possibly deep snow on the trail (bring mountaineering boots or snowshoes), and cold temperatures, although the rock dries up quickly and stays warm in the sun. (Copied directly from online guidebook).

The Walls of Palomas 

The Palomas climbing area is composed of 10 different walls listed from right (southeast end, first area you hit as you come upon the climbing area along the trail) to the left (northwest).

(01) The Entrance
(02) The Slab Wall
(03) The Franks
(04) Showdown Wall
(05) The Transition Zone
(06) The Dihedral Wall
(07) Randy's Wall
(08) The Far Side I
(09) The Far Side II
(10) Red Light District


Climbing Season

Weather station 2.6 miles from here

76 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',4],['3 Stars',30],['2 Stars',35],['1 Star',7],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Palomas Peak

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Palomas Peak:
Finger Flake   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 35'   (04) Showdown Wall
Wavy Gravy   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport   (05) The Transition Zone
Pussy Whipped   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   (09) The Far Side II
Lonesome Dove   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport   (09) The Far Side II
Unnamed 2   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   (04) Showdown Wall
Don't Miss Out   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 65'   (09) The Far Side II
Classic Jam Crack   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   (06) The Dihedral Wall
Tiger by the Tail   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 65'   (09) The Far Side II
Pizza Stone   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 60'   (09) The Far Side II
Take 'n Bake   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 60'   (09) The Far Side II
Green Eggs and Ham   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport   (06) The Dihedral Wall
Checkers   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport   (09) The Far Side II
Patchwork   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport   (09) The Far Side II
Pocket Princess   5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 30'   (05) The Transition Zone
Rode Hard   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport   (05) The Transition Zone
Gunslinger   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 50'   (04) Showdown Wall
Hangman   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   (09) The Far Side II
Nature of the Beast   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 70'   (01) The Entrance
Turbo Trad   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 45'   (02) The Slab Wall
Snake Dance   5.13+ 8b 30 X- 31 E7 7a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   (02) The Slab Wall
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Palomas Peak

Featured Route For Palomas Peak
Rock Climbing Photo: Yeah it's pretty roofy.

Rode Hard 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a  New Mexico : Albuquerque Area Climbing : ... : (05) The Transition Zone
Don't miss this one! Great climbing. The climb can be recognized by three large roofs that the bolt line goes through. Start below the first roof and head straight up. After clipping the third bolt, a reachy move gets you past the large second roof (think, hand Jam, though I have heard of people finding a crimp somewhere). Technical climbing and stemming through the rest of the climb gets you to the anchors....[more]   Browse More Classics in New Mexico

Photos of Palomas Peak Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Palomas in January
Palomas in January
Rock Climbing Photo: Wavy Gravy (roped); Tuiti Fruiti on left
BETA PHOTO: Wavy Gravy (roped); Tuiti Fruiti on left
Rock Climbing Photo: SouthWest side Palomas Pk
SouthWest side Palomas Pk
Rock Climbing Photo: Middle west face Paloma Pk
Middle west face Paloma Pk
Rock Climbing Photo: Palomas Pk North side
Palomas Pk North side
Rock Climbing Photo: Buddy I found on the way up.
Buddy I found on the way up.
Rock Climbing Photo: Palomas Peak. Top band is the main area.
Palomas Peak. Top band is the main area.

Comments on Palomas Peak Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 17, 2017
By Nick Manke
From: Edgewood, NM
Nov 10, 2008
A great guide book for this area is the Falcon Guide for New Mexico.
By Dave Wachter
Feb 15, 2009
That's not a great guidebook for anywhere. The online guide (see link, above) is way better, and free!
By Paul Davidson
Feb 16, 2009
Gotta agree with Dave on that one.
Falcon guides are notoriously inaccurate.

They seem to be the dash and slash version climbing guides.
By Dave Wachter
Sep 4, 2009
Quick poll for anybody interested: I'd like to put in a new anchor for "Patchwork" ("Far Side II" area) at what's currently the last bolt. Will avoid the final 8 feet of awkward and potentially dangerous climbing off the big bivvy ledge to reach the current anchor. I don't have contact info for Randy Eisler (listed as the first ascentionist, and I'm assuming he's also the bolter...). If I don't hear back from someone soon, I'm just going to do it, because it's a quality climb (aside from the finish), and more importantly, because it's a safety issue. I'll also put in lowering clips, to further improve safety and convenience.
By Monomaniac
From: Morrison, CO
Sep 4, 2009

I think its a good idea. I recommend that you leave the original anchor so that each climber can decide for themselves if they want to do the final boulder problem.

I wonder if Randy Eisler is the same Randy that cranks like a teenager at Stoneage. LeeAB would probably know...
By LeeAB Brinckerhoff
From: ABQ, NM
Sep 4, 2009
I can try to contact Randy, though I have not seen him in the gym in at least a year. A note of interest on Randy, a couple of years ago he complete the leadville 100 for the 10th straight year. . . and no, not on a bike, the running race. So he might just be running now.
By Jason Halladay
From: Los Alamos, NM
Sep 5, 2009
I was wondering if that Randy was the same Randy I know from Hardrock and Leadville. Cool. I might have contact info for him or at least know how to get it. I'll try for it...
By Dave Wachter
Sep 6, 2009
Actually, I was planning to put the bolt in on lead, using a hand drill the old-fashioned way. A tribute to John Bachar. Power drills are for wussies. By the way, Mike, congrats on your Climbing mag photo. Hopefully I'll make it up there soon to sample some of your new routes.

  • *Note - this comment was written in response to a post that once existed, but has been removed (mysterious Taos climber/recluse - you know the type). Anyhow, it's not as random as it seems.
By Paul Davidson
Sep 7, 2009
On the lead ?
Aren't you standing on a big ledge to drill the bolt?

While I'm all in favor of the "new" anchor, I doubt JB would feel all that honored by it.
By Dave Wachter
Sep 8, 2009
Damn, you weren't supposed to tell anybody about the ledge! I was going to write an article about the bolt placement for Climbing mag, complete with a teetering bat hook, rope-eating hanta-infested mice, and dive-bombing peregrines.
Seriously, I don't have any particular plan for bolt drilling yet, and I'm hoping to talk to Randy before going ahead. I think he authored a great route (which is, by the way, sustained and plenty long enough without the top bit), and I'll leave the original anchor alone under the assumption that he had some reason for putting it up there (which continues to elude me and many others...). I'll have to borrow a hand-drill or power drill from a friend - it'll probably be the former because I don't want to lug a power drill all the way up there for the sake of one bolt.
By Dave Wachter
Sep 9, 2009
Found a good deal on Fixe sport anchors:
A bit klunky and obvious from below, but these puppies will make cleaning the anchor quick and safe. Any better ideas?
- Dave
By Jason Halladay
From: Los Alamos, NM
Sep 9, 2009
Thanks for the link, Dave. Those Fixe sport anchors are way quality and I've installed a few myself (when I could afford them.) I paint them with a primer spray paint to try to match the rock color and they don't hardly seem intrusive.
By No Juan
Apr 9, 2010
I don't think this is a great idea. I have been to Palomas recently and am glad you never added a new anchor station. The last eight feet of this climb helps make the grade, and is exciting after the long lead.
By ian watson
From: Albuquerque, NM
Oct 18, 2010
I did my first outdoor lead here, the route was in the red light district i belive and i think it was a 5.6, the route is not listed here but its the one that traverses to the left alot. Anyone know what this route is called? If i remember correctly it had 3-4 bolts to 2ba with chains. (EDIT) , the route was called people mover and has been added to the datebase.
By markthomas
Oct 30, 2010
There is a large no parking sign right in the middle of the parking area. Is this new?
By C Brann
Apr 17, 2014
Easy to find area. Parking at trail head is limited to about cars, but likely that's all there will be as there aren't usually more than two groups on the cliff face at any one time. The hike is not bad, but ~2 miles. Crags are easy to identify. Trail is to the right of the guard rail and easy to follow. I can't wait to climb this area again.
By Miguel D
From: SLC
May 26, 2015
Went out May 24th. Great area. At this time of year, you'll get morning sun in the further north areas and evening sun in the closer (southern) areas. During the afternoon is sunny mostly everywhere.

I made the trip with two friends from Dallas and was able to find the cliffs no problem. Directions are spot on and will get you to the cliffs easily. We were able to get on a few routes but there were several that we climbed that I couldn't identify. I'm probably just bad at reading the diagrams from the guide though. I did notice some discrepancies between the guide and the MP info, mostly just routes present in one and not the other. I know the guide is older, but I think I remember some stuff on the guide missing on here
By McSalinas
Apr 17, 2017
Found a helmet this Sunday (4/17) below Finger flake at Showdown. If it's yours, contact me here with details and we can arrange a pick up. I'll also post at Stoneage.

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