FactsDistance (Top-Down) - 1.7 miles (one-way to the summit)
Distance (Bottom-Up) - 6.7 miles (one-way to the summit)
Trailhead Elevation (Top-Down) - 10600'
Trailhead Elevation (Bottom-Up) - 7040'
Summit Elevation - 10107'
Gain (Top-Down) - 1700'
Gain (Bottom-Up) - 3100'
ApproachSee the "Getting There" section on the Thumb page for directions to the appropriate trailhead.
There are two possible arroaches for this route, both using the La Luz Trail. The bottom-up arroach is much longer and more strenuous although the top-down approach requires 1000' of gain after summiting the Thumb and returning to the La Luz trail.
Top-Down ApproachFrom the Sandia Crest parking lot hike to the south end of the Crest House up some stairs to where you the sidewalk ends and you see some signs for the trail. Begin down the very well maintained La Luz spur trail. During this portion of the hike you will have great views of the Thumb and will get to see the majority of the route as shown in this picture. After 0.6 miles the La Luz spur trail will intersect with the main trail. Turn right and continue heading down the many switchbacks. Less than a half mile later you will come to the rockslide area where you will leave the trail. Beware there is more than one open rockslide area so make sure you leave the La Luz trail in the correct place.
Bottom-Up ApproachFrom the La Luz trailhead begin up the La Luz trail. There are many switchbacks but the trail is well maintained and easy to follow. About six miles up the trail you will come to the rockslide area where you will leave the trail. As you climb higher on the La Luz trail you will start to see different views of the Thumb. Beware there is more than one open rockslide area so make sure you leave the La Luz trail in the correct place. For more infomation on the La Luz trail refer to this link.
Leave the La Luz trail at 35.20475, -106.45275 (approx 9540') and begin climbing up the rockslide area. Stay in the opening as you boulder hop up the steep slope. Be careful as many of the boulders will move and this is a rather steep slope. As you near the top third of the slope, angle to the climber's right and aim for the higher of two saddles. The slope will begin to lessen as you head into the trees.
Head up the slabs to the tree in the middle of the picture below. To get past the tree you will have to crawl up the slab below the tree branch that juts out to the climber's left. Another option is to go immediately right of the tree. The slab there is much steeper with the potential for a 20ft fall.
Head directly up the slabs in the picture to the left side of the tree shown. The scrambling here is some of the most difficult on the ridge but there is little exposure. Initially it may look easier to go left but stay right! To the left is a solid 10ft section of class 3 scrambling, however, it is EXTREMELY exposed.
At this point the trail will wrap around towards the west face of the Thumb. There is a set of large blocks/ledges that are the last of the scrambling on the ridge. While this is easy scrambling it is more exposed than any other portion of the climb. The picture below is taken from the top of the ledges looking down at this short scamble.
Once past the ledges there is a short section of hiking up easy terrain to the summit. The picture below shows the remaining hike to the summit.