The Sandia Mountains offer a variety of climbing experiences including bouldering, sport climbing and multi-pitch traditional routes. The climbing season is truly year round; warm, sun drenched winter days can often be enjoyed on the many boulders that dot the western foothills and cliffs near the top of Sandia Crest can be surprisingly cool on 100 degree days in Albuquerque.
The most popular foothills bouldering area is U-Mound located at the East end of Copper Avenue, which features a variety of technical problems on the coarse grained granite boulders.
The Palomas Peak climbing area in Las Huertas Canyon on the east side of the mountain offers over 100 mostly bolted sport climbs on high quality limestone up to 70’ in height. The SW facing cliff is situated at approximately 8000’ in elevation and gets plenty of sun resulting in the possibility of year round climbing with spring and fall providing ideal temperatures.
And finally, the prominent granite faces visible high on the west face of the mountain are what most people think of when they talk about climbing in the Sandias. A bastion of traditional climbing, this is the place to go if you want to experience the high and wild. The majority of the routes require good route finding skills, the ability to build your own gear anchors and a cool head to get you through the occasional run out section. Keep an eye on the weather, as violent thunder storms often build on summer afternoons. Climbs range from one to ten or more pitches in length and include classic ridge routes on the Thumb and Shield, shorter routes flanking the La Luz Trail in Upper La Cueva Canyon, and long free routes on Muralla Grande, Torreon and other major formations.
Even with the City of Albuquerque visible in the valley below, climbing in the Sandias is truly a wilderness experience where you can escape the crowds and enjoy the solitude and challenge of scaling a sheer granite wall on a perfectly clear NM day. Complete route information on the more popular climbs can be found in “Sandia Rock” by Mick Schein available at REI and Stone Age Climbing Gym in Albuquerque. For more information check www.climbstoneage.com and www.nmmountainclub.org
Although the Sandias border on Albuquerque, the biggest metropolitan area in New Mexico, they remain free of crowds… For the climber who enjoys solitude, self reliance and the thrill of a runout, the Sandias still deliver. — Mick Schein in Sandia Rock