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Sunny Side

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Dig, The 
Sunny Side (Right End) 

Sunny Side Rock Climbing 

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Administrators: Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Monomaniac on Feb 26, 2007
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Panorama of the Sunny Side with key routes marked.


Located to the North of the parking lot, the Sunny Side faces South and is 'sunny' pretty much all the time. This crag offers the best stone and longest routes at the Tunnel. Routes here tend to be more technical, less steep, and more sustained than routes on the Shady Side.

Cool temperatures are required to enjoy this crag when its in the full sun. As a rule of thumb, conditions on the Sunny Side are usually good if the forecast in Alamgordo is for 60F or below. Higher temps can be tolerated if there are strong winds.

Additionally, despite the name, this wall does get a good bit of shade. When the sun is high in the sky (late April thru August) the right half of the wall gets shade until ~noon, and the left side gets shade from ~1pm to sunset. When the sun is lower in the sky, shade is rare, but even in mid-winter each half of the crag sees a few hours of shade.

Getting There 

The Sunny Side is located NE of the Parking Lot. The crag is visible from the viewpoint, so locate it before you head down. The approach is not well-marked, but it is a good trail. If you find yourself thrashing through cactus, go-back! Losing the trail could certainly ruin your trip!

Once dialed, approach takes ~10 minutes. From the Parking Lot, hike E along the N side of the highway towards the tunnel. About 50 yds before the road goes through the tunnel, cross the guard rail (on the N side of the road) and pickup a faint trail that parallels the road. This trail does NOT head down the enormous talus slope. Instead, contour steadily downward along a large ledge, just below a 20-30 foot high limestone cliffband. If you're thinking to yourself, 'that's not a limestone cliffband, its vertically stacked dirt' turn-around, head back to your car, and continue E along the highway to Sitting Bull Falls.

Anyway, descend along the ledge all the way to the creek at the base of Fresnal Canyon. Once at the creek, walk upstream 10-20 yds, and cross the stream by hopping rocks. Once on the N side of the stream, head upstream another 20 yds, then scramble up 5 feet to the first limestone ledge, then head back downstream about 10 yds, and locate the easiest spot to climb up another 5 feet to the next ledge. Once on this ledge, head back up stream to the obvious 15-foot waterfall. About 10 feet downstream from the waterfall, scramble 15 feet up some cool flowstone, that unfortunately bears no resemblance to the rock you will ultimately be roping up for.

Once above the waterfall, pickup another good trail. This trail undulates up, down, left, right, but ultimately continues upstream in the canyon bottom. DO NOT head straight up the hillside once you surmount the waterfall! It sucks, and it erodes the hillside. Anyway, continue upstream for about 50 yds, passing under a few large trees. Once you are directly below "Heatstroke" (on the right end of the Sunny Side Cliff), the trail begins to switch back up the canyon. Continue up for 2-3 minutes. The trail ends below "Melanoma"

Climbing Season

For the The Tunnel area.

Weather station 1.4 miles from here

19 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',8],['2 Stars',6],['1 Star',2],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Sunny Side

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Sunny Side:
The Dig   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 75'   The Dig
Jump Start   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 70'   Sunny Side (Right End)
Heat Stroke Straight Up   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 70'   Sunny Side (Right End)
Sloths   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   The Dig
Gluttony   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Sport, 75'   The Dig
Down in a Hole   5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c     Sport, 75'   The Dig
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Sunny Side

Featured Route For Sunny Side
Rock Climbing Photo: Cooling down on The Dig

The Dig 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c  New Mexico : New Mexico, other Southern ... : ... : The Dig
This excellent line is the best warmup option for the Sunny Side, and may be the best route at the crag. A few sequential moves lead to a two foot roof and good jugs. Its best to clip the 2nd bolt from this stance, although it is a difficult clip if the draw isn't in place. Above the 2nd bolt is the power crux which features a series of 3 shouldery reaches, and finally a great set of jugs at the 4th bolt.From the great rest, the route heads right with a balancey, slab-style crux, that eventua...[more]   Browse More Classics in New Mexico

Photos of Sunny Side Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Overview of the Sunny Side, as seen from the Parki...
BETA PHOTO: Overview of the Sunny Side, as seen from the Parki...

Comments on Sunny Side Add Comment
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By LeeAB Brinckerhoff
From: ABQ, NM
Feb 15, 2010
The approach trail for the Sunny Side starts between the 13th and 14th little rock walls that run from the pullout up towards the Tunnel and the trail follows the lower of the two ledge/ramps down to the river.
By J.Kruse
From: Las Cruces, NM
Apr 3, 2017
Public service tip: bring a trash bag if you are hiking to the Sunny Side. I was there this weekend and hauled a big load of garbage out of the canyon at the end of the day. As with many drive up spots this place sees a lot of non-climber related traffic and litter, can't hurt to clean it up a bit.

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