The Climbing Club

TR: El Rito Cliffs, New Mexico
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Author:  Stephen Ramsey [ Mon Dec 02, 2002 10:13 am ]
Post subject:  TR: El Rito Cliffs, New Mexico

This is kinda off-topic for the UWCC bulletin board, but thought some folks might be interested.

Elain and I were down in New Mexico over the Thanksgiving holiday, and we decided to try out some of the rock climbing down there. The El Rito Cliffs are a trad climbing area located about 50 miles north of Santa Fe, just a few miles outside the small town of El Rito. The main cliff is about 100m high, basalt (I think). There are about 15 popular routes there, mostly in the 5.5-5.9 range. El Rito is reportedly a great cliff for beginner-level trad climbers, which we found to be the case. Most of the routes are three pitches in length, but there are a few shorter routes that can be done in two pitches. The rock was very good quality, with decent opportunities for placing pro. I found that expansion cams were not terribly useful there, owing to the rather irregularly shaped cracks that seemed to predominate. But tri-cams were very useful, and I wished I had brought some tri-cams in the medium sizes. There is a walk-off, which we used rather than rappelling off of the dubious looking juniper trees at the belay ledges. We were one of only two parties climbing on the cliffs that day.

It was quite fun climbing in a t-shirt, in late November. :)

If you are ever traveling through northern New Mexico, and if you enjoy trad rock climbing in the 5.5-5.9 range, I'd highly recommend checking out El Rito.

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