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Yataghan

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L to R R to L Alpha
Happy Gnome, The T 
Southeast Face T 

Yataghan Rock Climbing 


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Location: 35.2098, -106.4566 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 2,218
Administrators: Aaron Hobson, Anthony Stout, LeeAB, Marta Reece, Jason Halladay, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Chuck McQuade on Dec 30, 2006  with updates from Bill Lawry
Forecast:
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Chuck leading the 5.9 variation of pitch 4.

Description 

A well defined buttress in the lower reaches of the upper La Cueva canyon. Located on the north side of the La Luz trail, just behind(east) of The Pulpit.

Getting There 

Find the crest spur trail on the south side of the Sandia Crest parking lot, and follow it about 1/2 mile. Head down the La Luz trail, down several switch backs, and continuing down past a several talus slopes. After the talus slops, the trail crosses the La Cueva canyon, here you pass a La Luz trail sign made of iron. From this point continue on for 50 yards. Here a slab of rock extends down off a formation called the Frog. Scramble up this slab and stay against the base of the Frog heading north. After a couple hundred yards you reach the gully between the Frog and the Yataghan. This gully is guarded by a huge chockstone. Which requires a short rap during your descent off the Yataghan. Continue on past the gully to the base of the Yataghan.

Descent:

Once on the summit, head pretty much due north along the summit ridge. Just before the ridge blends into solid ground, a broad gendarme forces you either west or east. Go east, and scramble down a few rock steps to the top of a gully. Traverse across the top of this gully (do not enter the gully) even though it looks casual. Instead continue to the next gully, which is choked with many dead trees. This gully is super steep, and has much loose rock and debris. But the great majority of that rock and debris can be nicely avoided by going down the far side of the gully (east side).

Hike for a long time down along the base of the cliff. When you come to the beginning / top of a ridge line with your original descent gully on skier's right, it will be necessary to make a long detour skier's left, into the wooded area, to avoid a steep section. It also becomes clear at this point why you avoided the western-most gully. Re-enter the gully, but stay on the east side for several hundred feet, until the gully begins to curve slightly to the SW. At this point more rock-hopping is required, and you should be roughly below the start of the Southeast Face. Continue for another 100 yds to the rappel point, which is about 20 feet back from the lip of the giant chockstone. The rappel is about 40 feet long. An efficient party can make this descent in less than an hour.

Climbing Season

For the La Cueva Canyon, Upper area.

Weather station 0.6 miles from here

2 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',1],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',1],['5.8',1],['5.9',0],['5.10',0],['5.11',0],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Yataghan

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Yataghan:
The Happy Gnome   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 700'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Yataghan

Featured Route For Yataghan
Rock Climbing Photo: Approximate route: 5.9 variation shown in red

The Happy Gnome 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c  NM : Sandia Mountains : ... : Yataghan
If swinging leads, let your partner lead the first pitch, all the even numbered pitches are awesome! P1: (5.7) Scrambling and easy dihedral climbing to a bolted anchor. P2: (5.8+) Continue up, then a long traverse left. Climb the slightly runout face to an alcove belay. P3: (5.7) Traverse up and right past a small tree to a hanging belay adjacent to the pitch 4 traverse. Hard route finding here. A (5.9) variation to pitch 4 requires a slightly lower belay, the variation starts with a traverse le...[more]   Browse More Classics in NM

Comments on Yataghan Add Comment
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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From: Morrison, CO
May 15, 2007
The descent off the Yataghan is pretty serious. I would say its the most serious descent I've done in the Sandias.

Once on the summit, head pretty much due north along the summit ridge. Just before the ridge blends into solid ground, a broad gendarme forces you either west or east. Go east, and scramble down a few rock steps to the top of a gully. Traverse across the top of this gully (do not enter the gully) even though it looks casual. Instead continue to the next gully, which is choked with many dead trees, and descend carefully. This gully is super steep, and has much loose rock and debris. Hike for a long time down this gully. Near the intersection with the next gully west it will be necessary to make a long detour east, into the wooded area, to avoid a steep section. It also becomes clear at this point why you avoided the western-most gully. Re-enter the gully, but stay on the east side for several hundred feet, until the gully begins to curve slightly to the SW. At this point more rock-hopping is required, and you should be roughly below the start of the Southeast Face. Continue for another 100 yds to the rappel point, which is about 20 feet back from the lip of the giant chockstone. The rappel is about 40 feet long.
By George Perkins
From: Los Alamos, NM
Sep 7, 2008
An alternative descent with no rappels: Go north along the ridge, then east and down the easternmost of the gullies, almost along the base of the next formation to the east (Chaos Crag), going around the back (east) side of the Frog (the Frog is the smaller formation just right of Yataghan, when you're looking at its SW face). This is Cl. 3 initially, then Cl. 2 most of the way (no rappels) and comes out where the La Luz Trail crosses the drainage. Someone helped this "trail" out by clipping the spike bushes sometime in recent years. I've gone this way twice and would opt for it over the rappel gully (updated 5/2015).
By Reed Cundiff
Sep 15, 2009
First couple of attempts by Dave Hammack and I wound up rappeling off the large ledge. Finally did the last lead off the ledge in 1962 and I remember it just being a walk off the top, but then it has been 39 years since I last did the climb. I also don't remember it being all that chossy except in spots
By Bill Lawry
From: New Mexico
Jun 25, 2016
Here is yet another option for returning to The Crest from the summit of Yataghan. In general terms based on what Tim Z and I found: Climb the broad 200+ foot tall cliff just northeast of the Yataghan's summit. After topping out, hike / scramble to The Sentinel and reverse its' approach back to The Crest. In more detail ...

Kinda think this should not be posted as a bonafide "route" ... unless some adventurous soul finds a better way to do the second half of the cliff. :-)

Follow the descent from Yataghan summit as far as reaching the 200+ foot cliff just east of the Yataghan summit.

Hike uphill (north) along the base of the cliff until at a forested saddle. Going beyond the saddle takes one down into Chimney Canyon - have not gone down that way. On east end of the saddle, scramble up to the large tree in the upper right of the below photo. In View full size , one can see the bottom half of a 60m rope hung from one end as we first rapped in. Rope just reached the large tree in the photo.
Rock Climbing Photo: A way up the cliff that is just east of Yataghan.
A way up the cliff that is just east of Yataghan.


The below climb can be done in one pitch with a 70m rope, which has the advantage of keeping the belayer tucked out of the way of rock fall - lots of choss in the last 25 meters.

P1, 5.7+, ~25m, good rock: Climb up and left from the tree into a slot at the base of the cracked face. Climb up the cracked face. Before the crack flares, move right to climb the slot. When the face again has adequate ledges, traverse left on them about 10 feet. Now go up trending left to the left side of a medium-small evergreen at ~25 meters; the evergreen may not be visible until beside it. There could be good variations on this pitch.

P2, 5.7R, 35+m: Climb directly above the tree for ~20 feet on good rock with no gear placement (5.7R) up onto a big ledge. The run-out is no worse than that on P2 of The Happy Gnome. From the big ledge, continue up for ~15 meters, jog left ~15 feet into an alcove, and then climb up a short right-trending dihedral (~20 feet) to a large tree. Maybe there is a cleaner way up this second half.

From the large tree at the end of "P2", carefully scramble right / up to the top of the cliff. Then hike and scramble the ridge east towards The Sentinel. Along they way, find a ~30 foot rock step that looks easy to climb; we bypassed the step by skirting it to the far right and down around. Continue to The Sentinel, passing on its' north side (climber's left). Return to The Crest - i.e., reverse the approach to The Sentinel. It is probably best to already be familiar with that approach.