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Watchman's Secret 

YDS: 5.12a French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a PG13

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 3 pitches, 320', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.12a French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a PG13 [details]
FA: Marc Ripperger, Matt Lawry
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 190
Submitted By: John Kear on Jun 12, 2011

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A very nice new route on the right side of the Watchtower formation.
Pitch 1 - Start 15 ft or so right of Seventh Sojourn and a bit left of the first pitch of Excalibur. Climb steep face with a little bit of pro to gain the first of the bolts. Follow the bolts through tricky moves eventually heading out right to a belay about one hundred feet up.
Pitch 2 - Step up and right from the belay gaining short crack systems that lead up to gain the line of protection bolts that lead to the steep left facing corner above. Wild stemming and tiny gear will get you through the crux section. After the crux continue up to a large ledge and another bolted anchor.
Pitch 3 - Step right and follow the bolts up the nice headwall. Interesting and featured rock make this pitch highly entertaining.


Located of the Watchtower starting in between Excalibur and Seventh Sojourn. The route finishes well to the right of the other established climbs. It will cross Excalibur near the end of the first pitch.


Light rack to 2" be sure to have RPs and at least a couple of tiny cams. We used 00 and 000 C3s on the 2nd ascent. 12 Quickdraws.
There should now be a bolted rap route to get to the base of the the climb. Be sure to have a 70 meter rope as the raps are 35 meters. Each pitch has bolted cruxes and the last pitch is all bolts.

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By MattL
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 16, 2011
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a PG13

Route name clarification: The Watchman's Secret

If you like honest to goodness Sandia adventure climbing, read no further on this comment.

The PG-13 section is 5.8-5.9 climbing before the first bolt on the second pitch. Traversing directly right 8 feet off the belay, you can place a #1 TCU or equivalent. Climbing upwards and slightly right you can place a medium sized nut or two. Looking above you should see the bolts up and to your left (15 or so feet up). The crux protects very well, and could be aided if needed.

Video of Marc's description as well as a look at the rappel is posted below. Unfortunately the wind knocked over the camera before it could record the send. Oh well...

By George Perkins
From: The Dungeon, NM
Sep 29, 2015
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

Fun climb. Some notes and pitch-by-pitch ratings to go with the above:
P1: (5.10) Bolts plus supplemental gear. This pitch, or Excalibur's p1 (5.9+), could be used as a start to either route. Both are good; Excalibur is more direct but less interesting, the Watchman's Secret start is harder.
P2: (5.12-) Aim to climb into the L-facing corner you rapped down. It should be obvious, but after the 2nd bolt, don't get lured farther to the right, where there are also bolts for the 5.11+ variation to this pitch (unless you want to do that). The hardest moves are near bolts. But there is still 5.11+ climbing over small nuts, however, if they failed, the highest bolt would prevent catastrophic falls. (If I get more flexible, I'll surely send it next time.) This is a very cool pitch!!!!
P3: (5.11) All bolted, but you might sneak in another piece or two. This pitch is a gem, but one could also finish on the 5.9 R-facing corner of Cry for Merlin.
By Josh Smith
Jun 20, 2016

The 12- pitch is one of the best of this grade I've done in the Sandias. Extraordinary fun with small but perfectly adequate gear.

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