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Sitting Bull Falls

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Big Horn Wall 
Rose Bud Wall 

Sitting Bull Falls Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 4,700'
Location: 32.2452, -104.696 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 19,555
Administrators: Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Craig Childre on Aug 30, 2006

78° | 57°

64° | 49°

62° | 52°

63° | 52°

63° | 53°

67° | 55°
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Fall colors in nearby (relatively) Dog Canyon, Gua...


Few crowds and prevelant shade. This area can be super cold in the Winter. Watch for the killer bee hive between the Brit Route and Fire Water. 5$ per car day use fee.

Getting There 

From Carlsbad, 8 miles out of town to the west on 285, take 137 South for about 25-30 miles. Follow the sign to the Sitting Bull Falls area and park. Follow the paved path about 150 yards and take a major right on an unpaved path up to the top of the falls for about 300 yards, up even with the falls, look for small trails to the right over to the climbing area.

ADMIN EDIT:The turn off of 137 for Sitting Bull is not as far as the signs indicate, the turn off is just before MM31 and after MM32 if coming from HWY 285.

Sitting Bull Start Park Conditions 

Lincoln National Forest Conditions

Climbing Season

For the New Mexico, other Southern Areas area.

Weather station 3.7 miles from here

17 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',5],['3 Stars',7],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',1]

Classic Climbing Routes in Sitting Bull Falls

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Sitting Bull Falls:
Wounded Knee   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Rose Bud Wall
Firewater   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Rose Bud Wall
Sweat Lodge   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Rose Bud Wall
Smoke Signals   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Big Horn Wall
Ghost Dancers   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Big Horn Wall
Counting Coup   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Big Horn Wall
Tribal War   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Big Horn Wall
It is not Necessary for Eagles to be Crows   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Big Horn Wall
Broken Arrows   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Sport, 60'   Big Horn Wall
Custer's Last Stand   5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Big Horn Wall
Kootenai Cruiser   5.13d 8b 31 X 32 E8 7a     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   Big Horn Wall
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Sitting Bull Falls

Featured Route For Sitting Bull Falls
Rock Climbing Photo: Some of the steepness on Firewater.  Underclings a...

Firewater 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b  New Mexico : New Mexico, other Southern ... : ... : Rose Bud Wall
I think this is the easiest route on the wall although Wounded Knee is rated lower. Crux is low above the 2nd bolt. Look for the many rests and plan to fight the pump up at the finish. Watch for the Killer Bee hive to your left....[more]   Browse More Classics in New Mexico

Photos of Sitting Bull Falls Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: View from the picnic area of the Big Horn Wall
View from the picnic area of the Big Horn Wall
Rock Climbing Photo: Big horn wall
Big horn wall
Rock Climbing Photo: Closing in on the chains of Counting Coup, July 13...
Closing in on the chains of Counting Coup, July 13...
Rock Climbing Photo: Approach to Sitting Bull Falls
Approach to Sitting Bull Falls

Comments on Sitting Bull Falls Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 26, 2016
By Anthony Stout
From: Albuquerque, NM
Mar 31, 2010
Could someone please comment on the closures specified in the new photos added above. I have not yet climbed at Sitting Bull so am not familiar with the area. The date of the order says 2002 so this could not be new. I am assuming this does not mean that the standard areas people are currently climbing at are "closed". Either that or it is not enforced since I hear about folks climbing at Sitting bull all the time.
By Shirtless Mike
From: Denver, CO
Mar 31, 2010
The current cliffs that are developed for climbing are not within the closure area. The closed area and bolting ban only affects the surrounding undeveloped cliffs. I've been there twice this season and the rangers were friendly and enthusiastic towards climbers.
By Matt Mueller
Jul 6, 2011
Sorry to report that the "Last Chance" fire burned over the Sitting Bull Falls area. So the FS has closed the area until apx 6/12 for regrowth to prevent erosion from hikers and to rebuild burned down structures. My apologies as I'm a firefighter in the Pecos district though I was out of district stopping TX fires durring the incident.
By Chris Archer
Sep 24, 2012
We are thinking about a trip to Sitting Bull and Last Chance. Are both areas open after the fire? Also wondering what the best season is, if you need a high clearance vehicle to access the cliffs, and where the closest place to stay is. Any beta would be most appreciated.
By Jonathan Siegrist
From: his truck
Dec 4, 2012
This is an AWESOME little crag. Go there
By Nathan wade
Aug 8, 2013
Are the bees still here? Its been 8 years. I'd like to think they are gone by now.
By LeeAB Brinckerhoff
From: ABQ, NM
Aug 8, 2013
unless the fire chased them off I think they are still there, at least as of 2 years ago they were.
By Nathan wade
Aug 13, 2013
I went here this weekend, there was 1 bee but left us alone. I climbed firewater no bees!
By Craig Childre
From: Lubbock, Texas
Sep 24, 2013
The main hive of bees is gone. Fire either destroyed the hive or forced the queen to relocate. So have a go at the Brit route!
By Mike Anderson
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Feb 25, 2015
Is Sitting Bull Falls still closed? The forest service website seems to indicate that....
By Shirtless Mike
From: Denver, CO
Feb 26, 2015
Yes, I believe it is still closed. Probably not a bad idea to call to verify if you are thinking about a trip.
By Craig Childre
From: Lubbock, Texas
Feb 27, 2015
Correct, Still closed.
By meghan c.
From: el paso, tx
Jul 6, 2015
Woo Ho! This place looks great. Anyone know if the falls are usually running in the summer?
By Craig Childre
From: Lubbock, Texas
Jul 7, 2015
I've never seen them not running. This place is awesome in the summer. Shade all day, a great place to get a quick cool dip in. Just know, the place is stout! Solid grades. I was sending 10d up in Last Chance before I could send anything here.
By marios
From: Dallas, Texas
Jan 23, 2016
Hey Climbers,
I have been searching for a few months for the missing part of my climbing rack. I believe I may have left it at Sitting Bull falls parking lot and I was wondering if anyone found it? Or does anyone know the camp host contact info so I can call them and ask. It would be a assortment of climbing gear cams, nuts, draws and carabiners on a floral gear shoulder sling made by Metolius.
By Owen Summerscales
From: Los Alamos, NM
Sep 26, 2016
Ed found that the penultimate hold on Kootenai Cruiser now contains an active beehive, see photo. He found that he could finish the route on the project anchor without getting too close to the bees. Heads up!

Rock Climbing Photo: Active beehive at top of Kootenai Cruiser
Active beehive at top of Kootenai Cruiser

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