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The Playground

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Advanced Start T,TR 
Barlow's Buttress T,TR 
Battle of the Bulge T,TR 
Beginner's Hand Jam T,TR 
Black Wall T,TR 
Blow Hole T,TR 
Burnt Crack T,TR 
Cactus Climb T,TR 
Cheeks, The T,TR 
Code Brown T 
Face Variation TR 
Fingertip Layback T,TR 
First Strike T,S,TR 
Flakey Face TR 
Flakey Nine T,TR 
Flying A T,TR 
Flying A Buttress T,TR 
Luke and Carlo's route TR 
Moment of Inertia T,TR 
Mononucleosis T,TR 
Moon Dog T,TR 
Mr. Foster's Lead T,TR 
Open Project TR 
Original Horak Route T,TR 
Playground Traverse 
Playgrounder, The T,TR 
Repo Man T,TR 
Route 1 T,TR 
Route 16 T,TR 
Route 17 T,TR 
Route 18 T,TR 
Route 20 T,TR 
Route 25 T,TR 
Route 37 T,TR 
Route 6 T,TR 
Route 6 (var.) T,TR 
T2 Flake T,TR 
Texas T,TR 
Tree Climb T,TR 
Unrelenting Nines T,TR 
Upper Left Roof T,TR 
Vulture Roof TR 
Zander Zigzag T,TR 
Unsorted Routes:

The Playground Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 35.8164, -106.1912 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 8,609
Administrators: Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, Marta Reece, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Mark Mathis on Jul 18, 2007
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
Great kids cliff, even with a place to stash them ...


The Playground is a 60 foot south-facing basalt cliff. Numerous moderate to difficult crack and face climbs ascend the cliff. Routes at this area are not bolted (by agreement), so be sure to bring your gear to lead. While route bolts are strictly verboten, anchor bolts are allowed. However, the last anchor bolts to be installed (over Beginner's Hand Jam) were chopped and few currently exist, so many climbs require trad gear to establish anchors.

Climbs are numbered from left to right with numbers as in 'Jemez Rock' and as shown in the beta photos.

Getting There 

To get to the Playground from NM state road 4, turn south on Rover blvd. After about 100 yards, take a left on Meadow lane. Follow this street (it will slowly curve south) passing the turnoff for the Overlook, and continue to 719 Meadow Lane. Park near by, being careful not to block mailboxes or driveways (several residents have complained in the past). Take the public access trail between 719 and 721 Meadow Lane. From here, turn right and walk toward the rim of the canyon. Follow the rim for 300 yards and locate an approach gully with a 30 foot basalt tower on it's left side. At the bottom of this gully is the Playground.

Routes with Fixed Anchors 

A handful of routes at The Playground have two bolt anchors. If you're heading to the Playground with limited gear and/or static line for anchors, here's a list of the routes with bolt anchors (left to right):
  • Unrelenting Nines - Two bolt anchor on big ledge about 12 feet below the rim. Accessible from the top. Long slings helpful.
  • Flying A - Two bolt anchor on downhill side of large boulder on big ledge about 12 feet below the rim. Accessible from the top. Long slings helpful.
  • Tree Climb / Mr. Foster's Lead - Two bolt anchor on big ledge about 8 feet below the rim. Accessible from top. Anchor is near small, dead tree. Quickdraws adequate.
  • Black Wall - Two bolt anchor on big ledge about 6 feet below the rim. Accessible from top. Long slings helpful.
  • Cactus Climb - Two bolt anchor a few inches below the rim. Accessible from top. Quickdraws adequate.
  • Upper Left Roof - Two bolt anchor over the edge of the big ledge that's about 10 feet below the rim. Accessible from top via easy downclimb. Quickdraws adequate.
  • Flakey Nine - Two bolt anchor on the big ledge about 12 feet below the rim. Accessible from the top via short downclimb. Long slings or static rope helpful.

Climbing Season

Weather station 4.6 miles from here

43 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',14],['2 Stars',20],['1 Star',8],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in The Playground

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Playground:
Texas   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   
Beginner's Hand Jam   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   
Upper Left Roof   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 75'   
Mr. Foster's Lead   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, TR, 70'   
Flakey Nine   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, TR, 60'   
Cactus Climb   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 70'   
Blow Hole   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 80'   
Flying A   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   
Unrelenting Nines   5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   
Flying A Buttress   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a R     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Playground

Featured Route For The Playground
Rock Climbing Photo: Despite the name, near the top the route is a nice...

Beginner's Hand Jam 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a  New Mexico : Los Alamos & White Rock : ... : The Playground
The best route here at this grade. Perfect hands for ~20ft to a ledge, then small hands to fingers on increasingly thinner ground to the belay ledge....[more]   Browse More Classics in New Mexico

Photos of The Playground Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Overlook from The Playground
Overlook from The Playground
Rock Climbing Photo: Middle-right portion of the Playground. Sorry abou...
BETA PHOTO: Middle-right portion of the Playground. Sorry abou...
Rock Climbing Photo: Middle-left portion of the Playground. 4th route f...
BETA PHOTO: Middle-left portion of the Playground. 4th route f...
Rock Climbing Photo: Far right side of the Playground. Beginner's hand ...
BETA PHOTO: Far right side of the Playground. Beginner's hand ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Far left side of the Playground. Someone with phot...
BETA PHOTO: Far left side of the Playground. Someone with phot...

Comments on The Playground Add Comment
Show which comments
By Brett Kettering
Nov 29, 2016
Hi all:

Every year the Los Alamos Mountaineers conducts a six week climbing school. We use various crags in the White Rock area for our on-the-rock instruction days and El Rito Trad for our graduation. We have 25 students with 8-12 instructors at the crag using 8-12 of the routes. We apologize for any inconvenience, but want to let folks know so they are not surprised that a given crag is so full of people on a given day. Our schedule can be found online at, and is:

Saturday, April 8, 2017: Potrillo Cliffs, 9am - 1pm

Saturday, April 15, 2017: The Playground, 9am - 1pm

Saturday, April 22, 2017: Gallows Edge, 9am - 1pm

Saturday, April 29, 2017: The Y, 9am - 1pm

Thursday, May 4, 2017: Gallows Edge, 5pm - Dark

Saturday, May 6, 2017: El Rito Trad, All Day

Thank you for your understanding.

Brett Kettering
Los Alamos Mountaineers Climbing School Director
By Wa3lt
Mar 22, 2009
The routes from #24 on are incorrectly numbered. I assume the Beverly guide (which pretty much just copied what I did) made this mistake, which I corrected in pen on my hardcopy many years ago...

Anyway, #24 should be Unknown 5.10d, not Mr. Foster's lead. Numbers should continue from there (ie, Beginner's hand jam #29, etc)

I'll try to upload some photos...
By harry p ness 69
Apr 27, 2011
There is a route directly below the play ground, maybe a 5.10a. It goes through 2 bolts up to a nice finger crack that protects with tcu s. there are bolts at the top. It's called Code Brown