Tortilla Flats Rock Climbing
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 out toward The Big Enchilada and the Tortilla Flats South Down Climb.
2) Establish nice belay locations for the routes 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. Climbs for more advanced trad leaders may be less interesting here than at other White Rock crags, but for solitude, this is one of your better bets.
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, with lots of boulders on top and some junipers that can be slung. Most of the trees are set back from the edge, and static line or long slings are commonly necessary if you're not using gear anchors. Careful selection of toprope anchor locations can often allow multiple climbs to be accessed from a single setup. The cliff faces roughly west-southwest, and is therefore shaded until early afternoon.
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.
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 (formerly: Unnamed Left Face)
5.6 (Beverly #2) Unnamed, right face
5.6 (Beverly #2) Steak Fajita (formerly Tortilla Slab Left & Crack)
5.9/9- (Beverly #3; online #3) Tortilla Slab crack
5.7 (Beverly #4) Tortilla Slab right
5.8/5.9 (online #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) Jalapeno 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" Unnamed, left of the nose
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
9 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',0],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',8],['Bomb',1]
Featured Route For Tortilla Flats
BETA PHOTO: The central faces of Tortilla Flats, White Rock, N...
BETA PHOTO: The right (southern) end of Tortilla Flats, White ...
BETA PHOTO: The left (northern) end of Tortilla Flats, White R...