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Tres Piedras

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Tres Piedras Rock Climbing 

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Location: 36.6608, -105.9829 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 51,765
Administrators: Mike Howard, Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Mark Mathis on Jul 12, 2007  with updates from Levi Wilner


64° | 38°

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Mosaic Rock & The Moon Rise

Some rocks in this area are on private property. Property owner requests signed waiver. MORE INFO >>>


Tres Piedras offers a selection of traditional routes on quality granite slabs, cracks, and steep faces. Spanish for "Three Rocks" Tres Piedras (obviously) consists of six major rock formations.

In addition to the taller routes, the bouldering is excellent here and it is not uncommon to see as many crashpads as ropes.

The 2 guidebooks ('Taos Rock' and 'Rock Climbing: New Mexico') are both excellent and virtually identical as far as the route descriptions and photos. 'Taos Rock' (unlike RC:NM) also documents some of the bouldering.
An aging incomplete guide by Bill Johnson, John Joline, Cayce Weber and Lee Sheftel from the 70s is posted on the LA Mountaineers website here

Rock Climbing Photo: First Ascentionist Bruce Holthouse on his Clean Gr...
First Ascentionist Bruce Holthouse on his Clean Green Dream

Image courtesy of All rights reserved.

Bruce Holthouse climbing Clean Green Dream on the the 30th anniversary of the FA.

Getting There 

The small village of Tres Piedras is at the junction of US 285 and US 64. From the intersection, go west on US 64 for 0.7 miles (past the ranger station) to an unmarked dirt road on the right. Look for the big green water tower on the ground. Go through the barbwire fence gate (and close it behind you). Follow this for 0.5 miles to the parking area (left at the "T", left at the "Y").

U.S. Forest Service Information

Guide Service - Mountain Skills

Climbing Season

Weather station 1.1 miles from here

95 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',6],['3 Stars',37],['2 Stars',31],['1 Star',21],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Tres Piedras

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Tres Piedras:
Dirty Diagonal   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 2 pitches, 150'   Mosaic Rock
Chicken Heads   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 200'   Mosaic Rock
Chicken Shit   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 40'   Mosaic Rock
Mama Jugs   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13     Trad, 2 pitches, 190'   Mosaic Rock
Serpentine Crack   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   Mosaic Rock
Fried Chickens   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 220'   Mosaic Rock
Yikes Dikes   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 200'   South Rock
Five Years After   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 150'   Mosaic Rock
Alien   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad   West Rock
Clean Green Dream   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 140'   Mosaic Rock
Unknown (Right of Mama Jugs)   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, Sport, 57'   Mosaic Rock
Gila Monster   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Aspen Alley
Alias The Martian   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   South Rock
Better Red Than Dead   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 180'   Mosaic Rock
Cowboy Bob's Chickenhead Delight   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 160'   Middle Rock
Serpent Face   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 110'   Mosaic Rock
Holthouse to Hell   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 2 pitches, 220'   Mosaic Rock
Surface Tension   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c PG13     Trad, 2 pitches, 190'   South Rock
Techweenie   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Sport, 75'   Mosaic Rock
Techtonics   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a R     Trad, Sport, 75'   Mosaic Rock
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Tres Piedras

Featured Route For Tres Piedras
Rock Climbing Photo: High stepping into a mantle on Holthouse to Hell.

Holthouse to Hell 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c  New Mexico : Taos Area : ... : Mosaic Rock
Holthouse to Hell is probably the easiest route up the intimidating wall right of Serpentine Crack with the Holthouse climbs, and is the best climb I've done so far at Tres Piedras at this grade or easier, at least, as far as I can recall.The Direct Start (5.11) is recommended, it adds another challenging crux to the climb but the result is the most aesthetic line. Begin just right of Serpentine Crack, face climb past 2 bolts, and reach an easy runout. Or use the original start to reac...[more]   Browse More Classics in New Mexico

Photos of Tres Piedras Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: USGS Topo Map for area.  Hard to say if this indep...
BETA PHOTO: USGS Topo Map for area. Hard to say if this indep...
Rock Climbing Photo: Tres Piedras ~2007
Tres Piedras ~2007
Rock Climbing Photo: Map:"The property line runs from approximatel...
BETA PHOTO: Map:"The property line runs from approximatel...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Land Owner requests this waiver to be signed a...
BETA PHOTO: The Land Owner requests this waiver to be signed a...
Rock Climbing Photo: San Antonio Mountain as viewed from the northwest ...
San Antonio Mountain as viewed from the northwest ...
Rock Climbing Photo: The entrance
The entrance
Rock Climbing Photo: Another view from the parking area.
BETA PHOTO: Another view from the parking area.
Rock Climbing Photo: First Ascentionist Bruce Holthouse on his Clean Gr...
First Ascentionist Bruce Holthouse on his Clean Gr...
Rock Climbing Photo: View of South Rock from the parking area.
BETA PHOTO: View of South Rock from the parking area.

Comments on Tres Piedras Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 13, 2016
By Chris Wenker
From: Santa Fe
Jun 2, 2008
Historical Query: In the old-school guide that is linked here, does anyone know what the capitalized letters in the route descriptions stood for?
Such as:
BLACK LICHEN (5.6 I, 1 pitch, B.P. )
CRACK N' FRICTION (5.5, I, 1 pitch, E. )
QUEEN CRACK (5.8, II, 1 pitch , E.D. )

What do the "B.P." "E." and "E.D." stand for? These are the only three acronyms that are used, appearing repeatedly throughout the document. Are they descriptions of the protection? Maybe, because "E.D." appears to correlate with climbs that were not free leads.
By Jason Halladay
From: Los Alamos, NM
Apr 28, 2009
Chris Wenker wrote:
does anyone know what the capitalized letters in the route descriptions stood for? What do the "B.P." "E." and "E.D." stand for?
Chris, you may have already gotten this information but for the edification of others, I just recently posed this question to long-time local climber Norbert E. and his response was:
Norbert E. wrote:
But I think I remember that they refer to the protection on the route. B.P. is Bomb Proof, E. I don't remember, and E.D. is Extremely Dangerous. I think you will see that these designations are appropriate for the climbs listed.
By Chris Wenker
From: Santa Fe
Apr 30, 2009
Thanks for that info Jason.
Dennis Jackson's books mention that a "classic unbound, self-published guidebook by Cayce Weber and Ed Jaramillo has been circulating since 1981."

But the .pdf that's on the LAM site is apparently not that guide. I've been told by a guidebook author that the .pdf is an even earlier version that was put together by Bill Johnson, John Joline, Cayce Weber and Lee Sheftel. (How old does that make it?).
So, it'd be cool to actually see Weber and Jaramillo's 1981 guide too.

I'm still hoping someday to figure out the locations of some of those older climbs that aren't in the modern guidebooks (like where Puddin' really goes, or where Summer Dreams should be (I think it differs from Jackson's description), and comparing Bats in the Belfry versus Crowbait, etc).
By Patrick Moe
May 7, 2009
Just spent three awesome days in TP! Great climbing and some great locals. Thanks for the beta, and the little pick me up. Can't wait to come back!
By George Perkins
From: The Dungeon, NM
Jul 20, 2009
It's tough to feel good when climbing at your limit over 30+ year old rusty 1/4" bolts.

Also, it's important to remember that:
On most climbs at TP, and nearly all of those 5.10 or under, the fixed gear and bolts are in great condition and trustworthy,
despite the reputation this area has unfortunately gained over the years. First time visitors, and climbers staying on 5.10 or easier climbs, should not be discouraged from coming here, and should not worry about bolts.

Here's my take on the known and suspect hardware to help people avoid (or seek out?), or upgrade these routes. The majority of climbs at TP appear OK. I'm not sure about the buttonheads- I think the 1/4" ones are sketchy but the 5/16" are generally considered trustworthy? Don't hesitate to let me know if you see any scary fixed gear that I haven't found yet, so I can update this list:

Lookout Shelf- From Here to There- 1 bolt- haven't climbed it or looked at it
S Rock- Airy Scary- 2 bolts- 1st bolt is 1/4" but 5.10 climbers won't fall there; 2nd bolt ok; 1st pin ok; 2nd pin = junk
Mosaic Rock- Raise the Titanic- 1 bolt is ok(?); comment on MP says (2) pins should be checked
Mosaic Rock- Clean Green Dream- possibly 1/4" first bolt - REPLACED 11/10/09 SS FIXE 3/8x2 3/4 Bolts with Fixe Hanger (all holes over-drilled 2 cm deeper)
Mosaic Rock- Holthouse in a Haulsack- has 2 1/4" bolts and 4 pins that look fair/good
Mosaic Rock- In Step (direct start to Bolts to Nowhere)- some modern bolts, some buttonhead bolts, 1st bolt has no hanger- REPLACED missing Hanger on first bolt
Mosaic Rock- Bolts to Nowhere- at least 2 buttonhead bolts
Mosaic Rock- Holthouse to Hell- all 6(?) bolts are 1/4"- REPLACED 11/09/09 Hilti Quick Bolt 3 with plated Fixe hanger. Thanks to Jay and Mountain Skills for the hardware
Mosaic Rock- Direct Start- bolts are buttonheads, but they held when I fell on them- REPLACED 11/10/09 with SS FIXE 3/8 and Fixe Hangers
Mosaic Rock- climb left of Holthouse to Hell- buttonheads
Mosaic Rock- Serpent Face- all bolts are ok (may have been replaced at some point ~10 yrs ago?)
Mosaic Rock- Better Red Than Dead- first 2 bolts are 1/4"- REPLACED 11/10/09 SS FIXE 3/8x2 3/4 Bolts with painted Fixe Hanger
Mosaic Rock- Chicken Heads- the recently installed bolted anchor was chopped (might have been for a line left of this?)
Mosaic Rock- 5 Years After - bolted anchor was chopped, but reinstalled -REMOVED SMASHED BUTTONHEAD, PATCHED HOLES, CLEANED 11/10/09
Mosaic Rock-Dirty Diagonal- bolted anchor was chopped, but reinstalled CLEANED 11/10/09
Mosaic Rock- TBOL- 2 buttonheads and 2 3/8" bolts, all with SMC hangers
Mosaic Rock- Seaman Girl- 1 buttonhead with SMC hanger- may have been replaced now?
Independence Gully- all bolts & anchors are ok
Beastie Alley- Unnatural Attraction- only one bolt at the top of the steep section, there may have been a 2-bolt anchor here previously
Beastie Alley- forgotten mixed line left of 41 with 2 old 1/4" bolts could be replaced
Beastie Alley- mixed line right of Inner Sanctum- 1 1/4" bolt on this, but you could maybe get to the new bolts of I.Sanctum.
Middle Rock- Cowgirl Pump- haven't climbed it; Taos Rock says "old bolt", I looked for it but didn't see it from the next climb over.
Middle Rock- Dragons Lair- 3 bolts, put in '90, probably is good, but I haven't looked at it
Middle Rock- Grandmas Cancer- 5 bolts, haven't climbed or looked at it
Middle Rock- Raging Chicken- 4 bolts, put in '90, probably is good, but I haven't looked at it
West Rock- Alien- anchor was upgraded with chains in '08
West Rock- Geez Louise- bolt is old rusty 1/4"
Aspen Alley- all bolts and anchors are ok, except "Analog Analogy" is missing hangers.
North Rock- I haven't been out here. Supposedly some of these were chopped; and/or are 1/4" bolts.

Edit: most recently edited 6/15.
By William Penner
From: The 505
Jul 20, 2009
I agree with George--90% of the best routes at TP have good to excellent natural and fixed gear. The remaining 10% with gear in possibly poor condition are mostly harder routes or less interesting obscurities.
By Jan Studebaker
From: Jemez Springs, NM
Apr 27, 2010
The Los Alamos Mountaineers now have a guide to Tres Piedras that combines several sources together to create an easy to follow climbing guide to the area. MountainProject route descriptions are referenced for all routes. Many thanks go to all who helped with the individual descriptions!

Click here to view this guide.
By Jason Halladay
From: Los Alamos, NM
Apr 27, 2010
Very nice work, Jan. Thanks.

And speaking of the LA Mountaineers, I believe the annual LAM climbing school graduation is being held at TP this Saturday, 5/1/2010. If you seek solitude at TP, it's best to avoid the area this Saturday.
By worm
Mar 31, 2012
no need for the rope,bouldering there is awsome, beer crashpad and colorado green is all you need,warm no people and tons of virgin lines love it.
By Daniel Stein
Aug 1, 2013
Does anyone know if there are any moderate routes accessible from the top for some rope soloing?
By Owen Summerscales
From: Los Alamos, NM
Aug 1, 2013
yep, aspen alley
By Daniel Stein
Aug 2, 2013
Thanks Owen! Do you know specifically which of the route anchors are accessible from the top?
By Owen Summerscales
From: Los Alamos, NM
Aug 2, 2013
all of them I think. Ive definitely set up/taken down anchors on Unknown 5.10a, Analog Analogy 5.11b/Digital Dilemma 5.11c (same anchor) & zorro 10a. Im fairly sure gila monster is the same. the "unknown" 10a is actually a cool climb and you can do a few variations on toprope. Actually the bolted line isnt the easiest line - on TR you can climb this face at ~5.9.
By evan h
From: Denver, CO
Sep 1, 2014
There is a new restaurant/cafe/grocery store/B&B at Tres Piedras called Chili Line Depot. On the way back to CO this morning, we stopped in for a quick breakfast burrito. We met one of the owners, Debbie, and she expressed a lot of excitement about serving the climbing community in the future. She was amazingly friendly and showed us around the bedrooms for rent, which also included a pool table/lounge area. The breakfast burritos were excellent (didn't try any other food). I think the bedroom might be a great option for colder temps when camping is out of the question. Either way, I told her I'd give a shout out on MP, so stop in and say hi! Their number is 575-758-1701.
By Teddy Malley
May 1, 2016
I found a blue lightweight puffy jacket at the base of dirty diagonal. If this is yours let me know and I will get it back to you.
By meems
May 3, 2016
Teddy, sent pm to you about the found puffy., but no response, so: I believe I know owner, says he left/lost it at Mosaic a few weeks back. blue Golite. plz let me know if you think it matches.
By Laura.Burkhardt
From: Alamosa
Aug 13, 2016
HI! My name is Laura. I recently moved to Alamosa and am seeking climbing partners for Tres Peidras and other areas. Let me know if you'd like to get out! 720-355-8484. Thanks!!!

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