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Potrillo Cliffs

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Ardeidae Arete T,TR 
Belly Flop T,TR 
Belly Up T,TR 
Call of the Crane T,TR 
Car Camping with the Kids T,TR 
Cave Route Center T,TR 
Chuckwalla T,TR 
Chuckwalla Right T,TR 
Cindy's Chimney T,TR 
Desperate (Left) T,TR 
Double Trouble TR 
Dream of White Gerbils S,TR 
Fickle Fingers T,TR 
Fool on the Hill S,TR 
Grandstanding T,TR 
Gymnast T,TR 
Heron's Fissure T,TR 
I Wish I Had Some Feet T,TR 
Jane T,TR 
Kor's Dog T,TR 
Left Cave Route T,TR 
Lower Kor's Crack T,TR 
Pieces of Eight T,TR 
Pillars of Hercules (left var.) T,TR 
Pillars of Hercules (right var.) T,TR 
Porky's Bad Luck T,TR 
Right Cave Route T,TR 
Route 1 TR 
Route 1.5 T,TR 
Route 19 T,TR 
Route 4 T,TR 
Shaky Flake T,TR 
Sleeper T,TR 
Tarzan T,TR 
Upper Kor's Crack T,TR 

Potrillo Cliffs Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 35.7943, -106.2162 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 10,633
Administrators: Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: George Perkins on Feb 1, 2008  with updates from Pascal Grosset

72° | 45°

72° | 49°

71° | 49°

69° | 48°

71° | 48°

72° | 48°
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Potrillo cliffs is the primo beginner toproping/trad area in White Rock, and was the first major basalt cliff "discovered" for climbing in White Rock. The cliff has two faces: one facing south, and one facing west, so you can find sun or shade as you like.

It's a great place for the beginning trad leader, as the cliff is short, hosts many 5.6-5.9 routes, and the pro is great. The cliff is a little shorter than most at White Rock (45'), but for the more experienced there are few harder climbs.

Some climbs may have bolted anchors, but be prepared to build anchors by tying off the trees or with trad gear (which is recommended).

A detailed guide is found here, with photos showing the routes.
The route numbers on this page coincide with those in that online guide.

Getting There 

Take NM state road 4 just south of White Rock, turn onto Monterey South. Stay on Monterey South, turn right on Potrillo Rd. Then turn right on Estante Rd. Follow Estante around a left turn and park when you see a fire hydrant on the right side, near the address of 428 Estante Road. Please do not block the hydrant or the mailboxes. Take the trail between mailbox 428 and the fire hydrant and follow this trail to a large gate and a sign. 75' after the gate, head left on a trail to the cliff top. To get to the base, scramble down the east side of the cliffs- this last part is 3rd class (May be challenging for some dogs or little kids without help). Should take about 10 minutes.

Climbing Season

Weather station 2.8 miles from here

35 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',4],['2 Stars',19],['1 Star',12],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Potrillo Cliffs

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Potrillo Cliffs:
Cindy's Chimney   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 45'   
Pillars of Hercules (left var.)   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 45'   
Car Camping with the Kids   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 45'   
Pillars of Hercules (right var.)   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 45'   
Chuckwalla   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 45'   
Belly Flop   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 40'   
Upper Kor's Crack   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, TR, 45'   
Cave Route Center   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, TR, 45'   
Lower Kor's Crack   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 40'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Potrillo Cliffs

Featured Route For Potrillo Cliffs
Rock Climbing Photo: Kor's Dog (5.8), Desperate (Left) 5.8, and Despera...

Desperate (Left) 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c  New Mexico : Los Alamos & White Rock : ... : Potrillo Cliffs
This is the first listed variant of route #12 in the online guide. up a broken crack system to a bulging block. Go around the right side, then aim left to gain a stance below a pair of converging cracks. Follow the flaring crack/seam on the right to the top.Desperate (Left) is indicated as an option in the online guide, and by Beverly (2006:208) and Jackson (2006:189-190). It's not clear from the guide books if the hand crack...[more]   Browse More Classics in New Mexico

Comments on Potrillo Cliffs Add Comment
Show which comments
By Logan Eckhardt
From: Albuquerque
Feb 1, 2008
I agree that anchors at some of these other areas would be helpful and would help to spread out many of the people who tend to not carry long webbing or static lines or who don't have a rack of gear to set up anchors. A problem at many areas in White Rock are that the trees are dying due to drought and bark beetle invasion.
By Chris Wenker
From: Santa Fe
Feb 13, 2008
Note on the LAM pdf file that is linked here:
The narrative directions to get to this crag are generally correct, but the the map illustrated as Figure 1 in the online guide is incorrect. The actual Potrillo cliff lies ca. 400 meters south of the location plotted on that map. It appears that whoever created the map based it on an actual topo map or aerial image, because there is in fact a low mesa with a cliff at the indicated location, but it is not the same cliff as the Potrillo crag.
By Brett Kettering
Oct 27, 2012
October 27, 2012: Today at Potrillo Cliffs we found a couple of slings with locking biners hanging on the hangers of one of the west-side routes. If you can identify them and provide me contact information, I will return them to you.

Brett Kettering
By Brett Kettering
Nov 5, 2012
No response to my inquiry here or on LAM website. I've repurposed the gear.

By Jodyeden
May 1, 2014
Orlando-- i sent you a private message, I do believe you found my prana chalkbag? ;)
By Hunter P
Sep 28, 2015
Was at Potrillo last week with some friends and we got rained out/had to bail and mistakenly left an anchor. Missing a #2 Cam and two #1's 7mm cordelette and two lockers. Really interested in getting it back if anyone has found it.
By Pascal Grosset
From: Los Alamos, NM
Aug 24, 2017
To the two med students who were at Potrillo on Thursday 24 August 2017, you left two quick draws on the wall. I picked them up. Let me know how to get them back to you.

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