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Y, The

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Y, The Rock Climbing 

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Elevation: 6,265'
Location: 35.8669, -106.2022 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: George Perkins on Jan 29, 2008

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You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
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The "Y" is a narrow portion of lower Los Alamos Canyon with 45' climbs on both sides and an intermittent stream flowing through it. It is one of the better choices for basalt climbing in Los Alamos/White Rock in the summer, because the canyon is relatively peaceful and cool, though the south-facing wall is in the sun most of the day. You can seek out sun or shade as you desire- but most of the climbs are on the north (south-facing) side. The "Y" is more novice-friendly than many other areas in White Rock, but still contains enough interesting routes for those of all abilities.

It's a popular toproping area, though many of the climbs can be led. You'll need to bring gear to set anchors.

Climbs are numbered to coincide with the North Side Beta Photo and South Side Beta Photo.

What's that smell? That peaceful stream is effluent from the waste-treatment plant for Los Alamos (the town, not the lab). This area occasionally flash-floods, also.

There are many petroglyphs in this area. Don't climb on them or right next to them, and certainly don't damage them. Access has been closed in too many other areas in the southwest US for climbing too close to petroglyphs. There's 300+ climbs in White Rock: think very carefully "do I really need to climb this one climb??" Be responsible, realize that many people appreciate these cultural resources and that hikers sometimes come in this canyon just to see the rock art.

Getting There 

The "Y" is just south of NM 502, a little bit east of the intersection of NM 502 and NM 4 (where the road forks to go to White Rock or Los Alamos). From the junction of 502 and 4, get going eastbound, and park on the shoulder where the first guardrail on the south side comes to an end (if you drop down past a water tank, you've gone way too far). Hike south 1 minute to the clifftop. The downclimb is 3rd class and is found by heading west along the cliff's edge.

Climbing Season

Weather station 5.3 miles from here

23 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',5],['2 Stars',14],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Y, The

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Y, The:
Wisconsin   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Y - North Side
The Nose   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a X     TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Y - North Side
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Y, The

Featured Route For Y, The
Rock Climbing Photo: Ken Sims Soloing Beastie Crack.

Beastie Crack 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a  New Mexico : Los Alamos & White Rock : ... : Y - North Side
Climb the finger crack crux off the ground. This is 5.9 to 5.10+ depending on finger size and reach. Being taller with fat fingers probably helps. You can get finger size cams in, but don't fall, because without a perfect belay you'll land awkwardly on jagged rocks. Easy 5.4 stemming leads to the top. Please try not to touch or stand on or near the petroglyph. If you're not sure you can climb this without impacting the archaeology, don't climb it....[more]   Browse More Classics in New Mexico

Comments on Y, The Add Comment
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By Spacey Hall
From: Burque, Land of Enchossment
2 hours ago
Went climbing here 10/15/17. We somehow left behind a green .75 camalot with yellow on blue tape. If you find and return it, I'll hook up some beer and good juju. PM me. Thanks.
By Bill Lawry
From: New Mexico
Mar 29, 2008
Marc Beverly's guide "Jemez Rock & Pecos Area" (2006) indicates that Bandelier National Monument prohibits bolting in this area.
By George Perkins
From: The Dungeon, NM
Mar 30, 2008
Not sure that Jemez Rock is accurate on who "owns" the Y, based on maps by LANL and elsewhere, but more importantly where the fences and signs are.

This is LANL/DOE government property, as indicated by signs on the fence next to the highway. Signs on trees 20' south of the South Rim say 'NPS boundary', so that is where the northern extent of Bandelier's Tsankawi district begins. It was discussed that this area might have been included in the LANL-San I land swap deal (which would've likely resulted in its closure), but it was ultimately not included in that deal.

Because it is DOE land and not Los Alamos County Open Space [like the rest of White Rock - except Potrillo (also DOE) and Sewer Crag - (San I Pueblo)], rules about fixed gear might be different here, but most likely nobody with authority has thought about this, which is good because: currently, climbing is allowed.

In the White Rock bolting agreement , the Y is considered ok for installing bolts for anchors (because many of the trees are dead), and off-limits for installing new bolts on the climbs.

The two climbs that had lead protection bolts at the Y do not have hangers. If you must lead them, bring your own hangers, and take 'em off when you're done, or someone else probably will.

Since it only takes one motivated self-righteous individual to remove bolts, anyone installing anchors at the Y or any of the "trad cliffs" at White Rock should be aware that there's a chance the same person who removed previous bolted anchors at the Playground and Potrillo might come back.
By Chris Wenker
From: Santa Fe
Mar 31, 2008
I can't remember where I saw this, but a while ago I read somewhere that the canyon in which the "Y" climbs are located is on land administered by the New Mexico Department of Transportation. When I read that, I went so far as to check that out on the maps at the Santa Fe county assessor's office. If I recall correctly, their GIS maps supported that DOT land status, I think as far south as the southern canyon wall. Although, having worked at the county myself, I wouldn't put 100% confidence in their GIS land parcel boundaries (they're not meant to be pinpoint accurate anyway). If the Y is indeed DOT land, I don't know what that might mean as far as access; also, I'm not entirely clear if it was DOT land or just a DOT easement.
I'll try to find where I originally saw that information. Anyone? Maybe in an old archived LAM google discussion forum?

Edit Update: Here it is: Jackson's 2006 Falcon guide book, page 191. "Management of The Y is by the New Mexico Highway Department."

Edited edit: Others 'in the know' have now told me that there is actually a strip of DOE land between the highway ROW land and the boundary of Bandelier land, so Jackson is probably wrong (as is the county's map). George's comment above is actually probably more accurate regarding the land status of the crag.

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