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South Side, Big Enchilada

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Boba Fett TR 
Chimney T,TR 
Dihedral T,TR 
Fourth Sister T,TR 
Headjam T,TR 
HuiHui's Revenge TR 
Offwidth/chimney T 
Petroglyphs T,TR 
Route 11 T,TR 
Route 12 T,TR 
Route 13 T,TR 
Route 14 T,TR 
Route 15 T,TR 
Route 16 TR 
Route 17 T,TR 
Route 18 T,TR 
Route 19 T,TR 
Route 21 T,TR 
Route 22 T,TR 
Route 3 T,TR 
Route 5 T,TR 
Route 6 TR 
Route 7 TR 
Route 8 T,TR 
Route 9 T,TR 
Three Sisters T,TR 

South Side, Big Enchilada Rock Climbing 

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Submitted By: Chris Wenker on Mar 2, 2008
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BETA PHOTO: South side of the Big Enchilada. Sorry for the poo...


The south side of The Big Enchilada hosts about 25 crack climbs of reasonable to good quality. Most of these will require trad anchors.
The cliff actually faces southwest (ca. 220 degrees azimuth), and hence sees sun from late morning through the end of the day. The leftmost routes on this wall occupy a big east-facing corner, though, so receive earlier sun and shade.

Getting There 

From the descent gully at The Big Enchilada, take a right (south) and go around the corner to the south-facing side of the cliff.


Because so many of the climbs are "unnamed," this concordance list hopfully links the route descriptions and topos from the published guides: 1.) the online guide by Chen and Wehner, 2.) Beverly (2006), and 3.) Jackson (2006) as well as 4.) Wa3lt's unpublished notes (which he graciously posted here). It appears that some routes are included in some guides but are not in others, some ratings differ, and they list them in different order. (Note, I have TR'd or led very few of these routes, so am mainly working from the published resources for now).

Historical priority of route numbers is given to Wa3lt's list in this case, so the photos Wa3lt posted here will match the route descriptions. Note that there are discrepancies between Wa3lt's topo and the online Chen/Wehner guide in the area of Routes 16-18.

From left to right (west to east, which is the opposite of how they are approached from the walk-down), the reported lines on the south side of The Big Enchilada are:

Chimney - not in Chen/Wehner; Beverly #1 (5.7); not in Jackson
Offwidth/chimney - Chen/Wehner #1 (5.8); Beverly #2 (5.8); not in Jackson
Dihedral - not in Chen/Wehner; Beverly #3 (5.6); not in Jackson
Boba Fett - Chen/Wehner #2 (5.12a); Beverly #4 (5.12a); not in Jackson
Route 3 - Chen/Wehner #3 (5.9); Beverly #5 (5.9); not in Jackson
HuiHui's Revenge - Chen/Wehner #4 (5.12a); Beverly #6 (5.12a); not in Jackson
Route 5 - Chen/Wehner #5 (5.10b/c); Beverly #7 (5.10b/c); not in Jackson
Route 6 - Chen/Wehner #6 (unrated); Beverly #8 (5.10b); Jackson #25 (5.10?)
Route 7 - Chen/Wehner #7 (unrated); Beverly #9 (5.10c); Jackson #24 (5.10?).
Route 8 - Chen/Wehner #8 (5.10b); Beverly #10 (5.10b); Jackson #23 (5.10b).
Unnamed - not in Chen/Wehner; not in Beverly; Jackson #22 (5.10d). This is not illustrated on Wa3lt's photo; it would finish right of Route 8.
Route 9 - Chen/Wehner #9 (5.10d); Beverly #11 (5.10d); Jackson #21 (5.11a/b)
Petroglyphs - Chen/Wehner #10 (5.11a/b); Beverly #12 (5.10d/5.11a); Jackson #20 (5.11b/c)
Route 11 - Chen/Wehner #11 (5.11b/c); Beverly #13 (5.11b/c); Jackson #19 (5.11c)
Route 12 - Chen/Wehner #12 (5.11c); Beverly #14 (5.11c); Jackson #18 (5.11c/d).
Route 13 - Chen/Wehner #13 (5.11c/d); Beverly #15 (5.11c/d); Jackson #17 (5.11b)
Route 14 - Chen/Wehner #14 (5.11b); Beverly #16 (5.11b); not in Jackson
Route 15 - Chen/Wehner #15 (5.9+); Beverly #17 (5.9+); Jackson #16 (5.9+).
Route 16 - not in Chen/Wehner; Beverly #18 (5.12a); not in Jackson.
Route 17 - Chen/Wehner #16 (5.10c); Beverly #19 (5.10c); Jackson #15 (5.10a)
Route 18 - Chen/Wehner #17 (5.9+); Beverly #20 (5.9); Jackson #14 (5.9+)
Unnamed - Chen/Wehner #18 (5.12a); not in Beverly; Jackson #13 (5.12a). This is not illustrated on Wa3lt's photo; it would be between 18-19.
Route 19 - Chen/Wehner #19 (5.9); Beverly #21 (5.9); Jackson #12 (5.9)
Headjam - Chen/Wehner #20 (5.9); Beverly #22 (5.9); Jackson #11 (5.9).
Route 21 - Chen/Wehner #21 (5.10d); Beverly #23 (5.10d); Jackson #10 (5.10d)
Route 22 - Chen/Wehner #22 (5.11a); Beverly #24 (5.11a); Jackson #9 (5.11a)
Route 23 - Chen/Wehner #23 (5.9+); Beverly #25 (5.9+); Jackson #8 (5.9+)

If anyone knows of actual route names, even informal names, let us know, because that would be better than a numbered list.

Side Notes 

Additional comments [from GP]:
  • "The easiest way to climb a Toprope set on "Headjam" is to start as for "Route 21" and move left at mid-height. I would call this 5.8, done this way, as it avoids the cruxes of both routes."
  • "The easiest way to climb a Toprope set on "Route 17" is to start as for "Route 18" and move left at mid-height. I would call this 5.9, done this way, and it avoids the cruxes of both routes."

Climbing Season

For the Big Enchilada, The area.

Weather station 3.0 miles from here

26 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',4],['2 Stars',9],['1 Star',11],['Bomb',1]

Classic Climbing Routes in South Side, Big Enchilada

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for South Side, Big Enchilada:
Route 18   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, TR, 50'   
Route 17   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, TR, 50'   
Route 22   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, TR, 50'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in South Side, Big Enchilada

Featured Route For South Side, Big Enchilada
Rock Climbing Photo: Dihedral, 5.6, The Big Enchilada, White Rock, NM.

Dihedral 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b  New Mexico : Los Alamos & White Rock : ... : South Side, Big Enchilada
An interesting, easy, fun dihedral with good protection. Steep at the top, with some solid 5.6 exit moves (in the same vein as Car Camping with the Kids). Unfortunately the interesting dihedral part of the climb is only in the top section; the bottom one-third is mainly a blocky ledgy system with some loose-ish boulders. The climb would warrant two stars or more if it weren't for the bottom part. In general, it maybe best to situate the belayer slightly off to the righ...[more]   Browse More Classics in New Mexico

Comments on South Side, Big Enchilada Add Comment
Show which comments
By George Perkins
From: The Dungeon, NM
Jun 2, 2009
I've now climbed most of the lines between Route 8 and 14. I'll just say that the ratings seem to be more correct if you are following Walt W.'s guide and photo posted here and also Beverly's 'Jemez Rock'.

I think that there may be a mix-up in Jackson's 'Rock Climbing: NM', so the climbs' ratings coincide with the route immediately right rather than the line shown for Jackson #17,18,19,20,21,22.

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