REI Community
The Box Climbing Areas

Select Area...
Northern Box areas 
Southern Box areas 
Spook Canyon 

The Box Climbing Areas Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 5,800'
Location: 34.0045, -106.989 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 108,341
Administrators: Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Bob Broilo on Jan 27, 2006
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
Looking West from the Socorro Box.


This area has a series of cliffs and boulders of mixed-quality rhyolite. Nice area for winter climbing and bouldering on days with mild winter temperatures. Summer can be hot and buggy, but shade can be found and many sport climbing faces are very pleasant in the mornings. One can find a plethora of moderate sport routes in the 5.10- 5.11 range, most of which are bolted, though some are mixed and require the occasional gear placement.

Though initial impression of rock quality may be disappointing, much of the rock is actually quite solid (and it varies depending on the area you are climbing at). Some of the looser faces have some routes that have had holds reinforced with glue, and some were chipped.

Well the climbing is fun, the bouldering is spectacular, particularly up at Alf Rig.

The best camping here is south of the cattle guard, south of the parking for the southern areas. There is a pulloff to the left that is sheltered from the wind and gets good morning sun.

Box can be broken up into four major areas to ease navigation:

Northern Box areas are accessed from the first large parking area. This parking area has a toilet, trash container, and information kiosk. Areas served by this parking include Red Wall, Waterfall Wall, Streambed, Dirt Wall, and Wine Wall.

Southern Box areas are mostly accessed by following the road south through the wash and up and over the hill. There is a good trail serving Major Wall, Alcohol Wall, Pocket Change, etc. on the northern end of this parking. Another trail on the south end of the parking near the cattle guard heads to Unbeatable Boulder, Tres Hermanans, Harmonica Convention, etc. Please don't park in the turnaround spot and please use the trails as this is a delicate environment.

Spook parking is accessed by turning off US60 before The Box.

The western Box areas generally are more scattered and require a bit more hiking. These include Alf Rig, Inflatable Hitler Wall, Hidden Wall, Dog Ball Banana Wall, and Mesquite BBQ Wall. There is no general parking and the trails are faint or overgrown.

Rack: 10 draws, set of wires, and a single set of Camalots up to #3 should be fine. Though, just a set of quick draws will get you up a most of the routes.


- The Socorro Bouldering Guide:

- An seemingly abandoned but promising guide to both the boulders and the cliffs:

"New Mexico Bouldering" by Owen Summerscales, 2016

“Rock Climbing New Mexico” by Dennis R. Jackson. Incomplete and inaccurate, but currently the only in-print guide to the sport climbing.

"The Enchanted Tower, Sport Climbing Socorro and Datil, New Mexico" by Salomon Maestas and Matthew A. Jones, 1993. (Out of print)

Getting There 

Find Socorro on Interstate 25 (about 1 hour south of Albuquerque). From there head west on US highway 60, and drive about 7 miles. Keep your eyes peeled left as you cross a bridge (you are driving over the bridge that goes over the canyon), and you will see The Box to your left. Just after crossing that bridge turn left onto a dirt road. You will see a sign for The Box. Follow the road over and then down the hill about 0.25 miles, take a left, and you will find parking for the northern Box areas. The southern and western Box areas are about a mile further down the road to the south.

Climbing Season

Weather station 5.7 miles from here

336 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',7],['3 Stars',105],['2 Stars',168],['1 Star',53],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in The Box Climbing Areas

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Box Climbing Areas:
Colon Blow   V0 4     Boulder, 25'   Southern Box areas : Harmonica Convention (AKA B...
Bitch Tits   V1- 5-     Boulder, 18'   Southern Box areas : Harmonica Convention (AKA B...
Pressure Drop   V1 5     Boulder, 12'   Southern Box areas : Unbeatable Boulder
The Three Star V2   V2 5+     Boulder, 16'   Southern Box areas : Harmonica Convention (AKA B...
Rubber Walrus Protector   V5 6C     Boulder, 16'   Southern Box areas : Harmonica Convention (AKA B...
American Beauty   V6 7A     Boulder, 18'   Southern Box areas : Alf Rig
Rubberband Fingers Stand/Meine Gummi Frau   V8 7B     Boulder, 1825'   Spook Canyon : Spook Main Wall
Red Wall   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   Northern Box areas : Red Wall
She Can Bolt   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 55'   Southern Box areas : Major Wall
Liberace's Anus   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 50'   Southern Box areas : Major Wall
Unknown   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Northern Box areas : Hueco Wall
Barfly Blues   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Southern Box areas : Alcohol Wall South
Juckets & Bugs   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 55'   Southern Box areas : Major Wall
New Kids on the Block   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   Northern Box areas : Filet de Papillon Wall (aka...
Bob Marley Meets Master Ganj   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 45'   Northern Box areas : Filet de Papillon Wall (aka...
Banana Peel   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 45'   Southern Box areas : Major Wall
Pocket Change   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 60'   Southern Box areas : Pocket Change Wall
Bat out of Hell   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 50'   Southern Box areas : Major Wall
The Demon   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 45'   Southern Box areas : Major Wall
Sinister Dane   5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Northern Box areas : Filet de Papillon Wall (aka...
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Box Climbing Areas

Featured Route For The Box Climbing Areas
Rock Climbing Photo: Chris E sticking the first right deadpoint.

Perfect Hair Forever V4+ 6B+  New Mexico : Socorro Area : ... : Las Hermanas
Climb the tall face to the lip then continue up the slab to the top. Work your way off to the left down a featured slab, if you can get up you should have no problem getting down.Tough moves on opposing sidepulls leads to a long deadpoint to a crimp with the right hand. Then a second similar deadpoint with the same hand a move higher. A last intimidating reach for the jugs at the lip and easier to the top....[more]   Browse More Classics in New Mexico

Photos of The Box Climbing Areas Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Box Canyon guide 1
BETA PHOTO: Box Canyon guide 1
Rock Climbing Photo: Box Canyon guide 6
BETA PHOTO: Box Canyon guide 6
Rock Climbing Photo: Box Canyon guide 5
BETA PHOTO: Box Canyon guide 5
Rock Climbing Photo: Box Canyon guide 4
BETA PHOTO: Box Canyon guide 4
Rock Climbing Photo: Box Canyon guide 3
BETA PHOTO: Box Canyon guide 3
Rock Climbing Photo: Box Canyon guide 2
BETA PHOTO: Box Canyon guide 2
Rock Climbing Photo: Geology of the Socorro climbing areas
BETA PHOTO: Geology of the Socorro climbing areas
Rock Climbing Photo: Overview map of bouldering areas at Box with roads...
BETA PHOTO: Overview map of bouldering areas at Box with roads...
Rock Climbing Photo: Overview of Socorro Climbing areas (The Box, Minor...
BETA PHOTO: Overview of Socorro Climbing areas (The Box, Minor...

Comments on The Box Climbing Areas Add Comment
Show which comments
By jbak
Apr 8, 2008
A lot of these routes were put up quite a while back...many of them are listed in my 1993 guidebook. I think they were put up before sport development really turned into an art. And it shows. Non-existent anchors, poorly placed anchors, too many shared anchors, too many unprotected bouldery starts, too many ill-considered bolt placements. It kind of takes the gloss off what SHOULD be a really fun area. The rock is great, the movement is good, but the route development is...not so good. I've never considered retro-bolting to be a topic even worthy of discussion, but this area has made me wonder. I think if I had just discovered this area and were doing the development, I could make it much better. It's not a big deal but I just thought I'd lob it out there. During the 3 days I was at Box I never saw any other climbers. I've never had that happen at Datil (which is not very far away). Is the quality of development part of the reason ?
By Shirtless Mike
From: Denver, CO
Sep 18, 2008

Yes, I think that the way this area was developed is one of the reasons why this area sees so little traffic. While there are many good / great routes here, there are also many that are missing anchors, need supplemental gear, or were just bolted poorly (Spook Canyon for instance). One example is Hurt Me Not, this climb never saw any traffic prior to it's retrobolting, now their is commonly chalk on it. While I was disappointed at the additional bolts as it takes away from the FA and the few subsequent ascents, I never led it until the extra bolts were added, and it is a single pitch route in a mostly sport climbing area.

Another reason for lack of traffic is that this area needs a good guidebook. The 1993 guidebook is far better and more accurate than the error ridden new Falcon guide, where many routes in the guide either don't exist, are in the wrong location, or aren't mentioned.
By LeeAB Brinckerhoff
From: ABQ, NM
Mar 16, 2009

It also really depends on the time of year that you visit Socorro. If Datil is climable in most peoples opinions, yes most will head to the Tower, but if you visit in the middle of winter on a weekend I would be absolutely shocked if you did not see others out unless you were purposely trying to avoid other by avoiding the sun. One of Socorros most redeeming qualities is that when everything else is too cold to climb routes Socorro is still generally pleasent.

In addition, a handful of routes are getting "fixed" from time to time, and yes the Falcon guide is terrible, incomplete and inacurrate but is the only guide currently availible. It probably has fewer than half the routes and none of the bouldering which is quite good in places.
By erik rieger
From: Ridgway, CO
Jul 21, 2015
This area deserves more credit than it's given. Quality bouldering and fun routes on pretty good rock with decent temperatures throughout the cold months and easy camping.
By issac overright
From: Farmington NM
Apr 25, 2017
Rock Climbing Photo: Since the mine has blocked access to the  Alf Rig ...
Since the mine has blocked access to the Alf Rig trail, this is the map showing the new trail that intersects the old trail past the mine. The trail is marked with cairns, and the split from the scary wall trail is well defined and posted.

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About