The Pulpit from NW Ridge, The Thumb
The Pulpit is the lowest formation in "Upper La Cueva Canyon", and the first crag encountered when hiking up the La Luz Trail. Due to its distance from the Sandia Crest, this crag sees little action, and any ascent guarantees a long day.
This is a true spire that requires a rappel descent. One 60m rope is adequate if you don't mind a short, 2nd class scramble.
Approach from the Sandia Crest, down the La Luz trail. When the La Luz trail crosses to the North side of the Canyon, continue down for several hundred yards past the Frog. The trail will make a distinct trun to the north, at which point it traverses below the Lost Spectacle
cliff. The next cliff north is the Pulpit. The La Luz then climbs over a subtle saddle. Depart the La Luz trail 20 yds north of this saddle, by scrambling up a faint climber's trail. Continue to the cliff base.
Sandia Select indicates its a wash approaching from the top or bottom. This may be true in terms of time (if you account for relative driving times), but is likely untrue in terms of hiking effort.
Descent information provided by Bill Lawry
From the summit, rapping east into the saddle behind The Pulpit is typically a double-rope rap followed by a hike / scramble initially heading north from the saddle. The rap anchor has included a chain around a boulder for at least the last 11 years (2015).
One can rap from the above anchor with one 70 meter rope. Just be sure it's hanging by its middle!
I also understand that downclimbing north from the summit (i.e., to the left if one is facing towards the mentioned saddle) leads to a couple of single-rope raps from trees. I have not gone this way.
Climbing Season For the La Cueva Canyon, Upper area.
Weather station 0.6 miles from here
3 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',1],['2 Stars',2],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
Classic Climbing Routes in The Pulpit
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Pulpit
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Pulpit:
Water Stains 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, Alpine, 4 pitches, 400'
Featured Route For The Pulpit
Water Stains 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b New Mexico
: Sandia Mountains
: ... : The Pulpit
Water Stains zig-zags its way up the middle of the west face of The Pulpit. Mike Hill's description in "Hikers & Climbers Guide to the Sandia Mountains" (1993) is okay. See "Location" for gaining the ledge at the base of the 1st pitch.However, see this Photo which shows what is the original way to do the first couple pitches per Mike Hill's guide. It is different and much better for a party of two than that described below; the way below is what I learned from...[more] Browse More Classics in New Mexico
The Pulpit - Rappel station from the rear face, wh...
The Castle from The Pulpit
BETA PHOTO: A question about the route Poontang, regarding the...
West face of The Pulpit as viewed from the southwe...
BETA PHOTO: Overview of the Pulpit/Yataghan area from the La L...
By Bill Lawry
From: New Mexico
Apr 6, 2008
Early in the year, The Pulpit becomes climbable long before La Luz Trail is clear of snow in Upper La Cueva Canyon - perhaps one reason to consider the 1 1/2 to 2 hour approach from below.
From: Albuqurque ,NM
Jul 17, 2010
We just climbed a new var or so.
west face center ..find lower trash slings from old rap offs go direct two pitches keeping right of shredded slings or right of chossy red granite then climb slot with giant loose block. keep left of bolted belay ledge . climb straight up and clip a strange bolt . head direct up from there keeping right to summit finish on cool low angle crack . ( on start ood sport route potential to go thru red granite and climb arete)
noticed a fixed line on south side of west face couldn't understand its purpose but let it alone . Its easy terrain my dogs made it to the middle of the fixed line
I was a bit confused that day( calling pulpit Pear a formation at lumpy ridge (Age ) my guess 5.8- r ish . fun. probably not worth another try to get it better. The rap anchors on the back side should be removed and a modern rap route installed. I removed a mountain club anchor that was tight on a nice tree restricting its growth. thanks for the rings.
Also day of Bear Attack and thanks for not letting us drive to top (why we climbed off of busy La Luz) Hey you fat stupid sheriffs.. Kill the idiot car camping with food not the BEAR. many days in sandias overnight Hang food its urban wildreness in most areas....