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Tortilla Flats

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Bean Dip T,TR 
Five Feet and Wine T,TR 
Frijoles Crack T 
Green Chile T,TR 
Hot Salsa T,TR 
Hot Salsa Direct T,TR 
Jalapeño Crack T,TR 
Jalapeño Dip T 
Lichen Delight T,TR 
Mejilla Derecha T,TR 
Mejilla Izquierda T,TR 
My Lichen T,TR 
Not My Lichen T,TR 
Shrimp Fajita T,TR 
Smorgasbord T,TR 
Steak Fajita TR 
Vintage Wine T,TR 

Tortilla Flats Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 35.7907, -106.2122 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 2,270
Administrators: Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Brett Kettering on Mar 3, 2008  with updates from Brett Kettering


72° | 48°

67° | 48°

67° | 48°

69° | 48°

71° | 49°
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BETA PHOTO: From the main trail a series of cairns lead you to...


This area is undergoing some work to make it more appealing, and a good alternative to Potrillo Cliffs when you find that site packed with people. We're cleaning up the routes, making them more evident and accessible, establishing well marked down climbs, and cleaning up the trail along the base. If you'd like to help out, a few things that need work, in addition to cleaning off dirt and loose rocks when you climb the routes include:

1) Cairn a path from the main trail that heads out to The Big Enchilada and the Tortilla Flats South Down Climb, marked by a large rock cairn where the down climb begins.

2) Establish nice belay locations that are cleared of tripping hazards and other debris that gets in your way when belaying.

3) Establish a nice trail along the bottom from belay location to belay location that is clear of tripping hazards and other debris that makes it cumbersome to walk the bottom.

4) Clear loose dirt, rocks, and debris along the top that can make it hazardous for people to work along the top setting TR anchors.

Thanks for your help!

The Tortilla Flats crag lies along the same cliff band as The Big Enchilada, but is located northwest of that area, in a shorter, more broken section of the cliff.

This area has been described as a beginners' top-roping area. It has also been described as not a good beginners' lead area, but actually some good, easy trad leads do exist here. For more advanced Trad leaders, the climbs here are probably less interesting than those at other White Rock crags.

According to the on-line LAM guide, the area was developed mostly by Roy Lucht, Mike Montoya, Lou Horak and Jim Straight, in the 1990s. The ratings were based, as closely as possible, on the system used by Gary Clark at Potrillo.

The cliffs are fairly short (40-50 feet), and the bottom sections of many of the routes are pretty broken up and ledgy. Top Rope setups are pretty straightforward. Every route listed on MP has a two-bolt anchor. The top of the crag is not a well-defined edge, like Potrillo Cliffs, so they are not always easy to spot. They are painted the approximate color of the rock and you may have to lie down and look over the edge or scramble down onto a lower ledge to reach them. In a couple instances the two-bolt anchors are shared by more than one route. If you prefer, or want to practice your natural feature anchor building, there are a goodly number of BFRs (big friendly rocks) and BFTs (big friendly trees). Most of these will require 50' - 100' of static line or Trad Pro and 20' or so of cord or slings. The cliff faces roughly WSW, and is therefore shaded until early afternoon. This is a fine place to climb on early Summer mornings.

Route guides include the on-line LAM guide, which contains a quaint but fairly crude topo of the overall crag. Beverly's (2006) Jemez Rock book also covers most of the climbs here, but Jackson (2006) does not cover this area.

Getting There 

Drive, park, and begin the approach as for Big Enchilada, The and the Potrillo Cliffs.

Follow NM State Road 4 west and south out of White Rock to Monterey South on the edge of town. Turn left (SE) and stay on Monterey South to Potrillo Road, where you take a right. Take Potrillo to Estante Road and turn right. Follow Estante around a left curve to a pullout just past a fire hydrant on the right side. Park here and don't block the hydrant or the mailboxes. Make sure you are all the way off the pavement. Behind the fire hydrant, follow the trail southwest for ca. 100 yards. At the prominent fork, take the trail heading left (south). Follow this for about 5 minutes, curving to the southeast, until a low rocky mesa is just off to the left (northeast) side of the trail.

/If you miss the little mesa and you come to the abrupt end of the trail, overlooking an east and south facing cliff, you've gone too far (this is The Big Enchilada, actually). Backtrack ca. 200 yards./

Cut off the trail to the southwest (a cairn may mark the turn-off, but it is frequenty dismantled) and find one of two downclimbs to the Flats. There is a Class 2 descent gully on the south end of the cliffs and a slightly harder one (Class 3-ish) on the north end. The climbs are bounded by these two gullies.

April 2017 update:
There is now a nice, prominent cairn on the way out toward the Big Enchilada at N35.79082 W106.21165. Cairns are placed to lead you to the top of the North Down Climb at N35.79095 W106.21201. This down climb is mostly class 3. There is a short steep section with decent foot and hand holds that could be called class 4. It is easier going up than down, but it's a nice entry/exit. Smaller cairns mark a path up/down.

If you want a bit easier down climb, stay along the top of the cliff and go a bit further south to N35.79004 W106.21168, where you'll find another nice, prominent cairn at the top of the South Down Climb. There is also a large cairn at the bottom in case you didn't enter by this route, but wish to exit by it.


The identified (and possible) routes, from left to right (west to east).

Unnamed 1 5.4 slab (Beverly #1)
Shrimp Fajita 5.6 (Beverly #2)
Steak Fajita 5.9-/7/8+ (Beverly #3 & #4; online #3 & #3A)
Unnamed 2 5.5/5.7 route is indicated in the online topo, with two starts on either side of a tree
Possible route A indicated in the online topo as "?"
Possible route B indicated in the online topo as "?"
Green Chili 5.10 super face (Beverly #5; online #5)
Hot Salsa 5.10 superb hand traverse/face (Beverly #6; online #6)
Hot Salsa direct 5.unrated (Beverly #6a; online #6 direct)
Smorgasbord 5.7/5.8/5.9 chimney/crack/face (Beverly #7-9; online #7-9)
Possible route C indicated in the online topo as "?"
Jalapeno Dip 5.9 face/overhang (Beverly #10; online #10)
Jalapeño Crack 5.7 crack (Beverly #11; online #11)
Bean Dip 5.10 face (Beverly #12; online #12)
Frijoles Crack 5.8 offwidth (Beverly #13; online #13)
Possible route D indicated in the online topo as "very hard face"
Mejilla Derecha 5.7 crack (Beverly #14; online #14)
Possible route E indicated in the online topo as "?"
Unnamed 3 indicated in the online topo just left of Teetering Rock (probably Beverly #15, which is also drawn, but not numbered, on the online photo right of #14)
Possible routes F & G are indicated in the online topo as "? ?" right of the Teetering Rock
My Lichen 5.9 face (Beverly #16; online #15)
Not My Lichen 5.7 crack (Beverly #17; online #16)
Lichen Delight 5.9/10 offwidth (Beverly #18; online #17)
Vintage Wine 5.9 crack/mantle (Beverly #19; online #18)
Five Feet and Wine 5.8 (Beverly #20; online #19)
Possible route H indicated in the online topo as "? [illegible text]"
Cactus Nose 5.9 (Beverly #21)
Cactus Junction 5.6 dihedral/mantle/overhang/layback (Beverly #22)

Climbing Season

For the White Rock area.

Weather station 2.9 miles from here

17 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',0],['2 Stars',6],['1 Star',9],['Bomb',0]

Featured Route For Tortilla Flats
Rock Climbing Photo: Five Feet and Wine (5.8), Tortilla Flats, White Ro...

Five Feet and Wine 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c  New Mexico : Los Alamos & White Rock : ... : Tortilla Flats
This is climb #19 in the LAM on-line guide, is a surprisingly fun little 5.8 route, for Tortilla Flats anyway.Start up an awkward hand crack left of the keystone. Step right, across the sloppy ledge behind the keystone (which may be loose!) and head up right toward a fun roof finish. An alternate easy finish avoids the roof by heading left, but the roof protects well....[more]   Browse More Classics in New Mexico

Photos of Tortilla Flats Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The central faces of Tortilla Flats, White Rock, N...
BETA PHOTO: The central faces of Tortilla Flats, White Rock, N...
Rock Climbing Photo: The right (southern) end of Tortilla Flats, White ...
BETA PHOTO: The right (southern) end of Tortilla Flats, White ...
Rock Climbing Photo: The left (northern) end of Tortilla Flats, White R...
BETA PHOTO: The left (northern) end of Tortilla Flats, White R...

Comments on Tortilla Flats Add Comment
Show which comments
By Ed Santiago
From: Los Alamos, NM
Jul 4, 2017
Finally made it here. Great shade on a hot day until noon. Thank you, Brett, for the anchors.

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