1st slabby pitch
Revenge of the Elderly
is one of the more popular 5.7 climbs in the Sandia mountains, New Mexico. It is located in the Lower La Cueva Canyon
, and is easily accessible from Albuquerque. This climb features some slab climbing, crack climbing and also a short section of chimney climbing. The first pitch is bolted, the rest of the route is trad. The route involves 4 pitches.
Contrary to the steep walls and buttresses of the upper Sandias, Lower La Cueva Canyon features superb low angle crack and slab climbing. This area is accesses from the foothills of Albuquerque. The canyon is a pleasant escape from the heat and congestion of the city. There is a stream that runs through the canyon, and plentiful trees to provide shade on the hike.
Approach under this roof rock Girls on the approach
The approach is from La Cueva Picnic Area.
Take Tramway Blvd. and turn to Forest Road 333 (turn-off for La Luz trail, one of the best hiking, running trails in the Sandias), and continue on this road for less than 1/4 mile. There will be turn off to the La Cueva Picnic area (Forest Road 333 B). Take this road. There is a small parking lot, just past the restrooms with trail going up (east) into the Sandia Mountains.
The trail goes into an obvious La Cueva Canyon.
It does intersect with Lower Tramway trail, so keep going east into the canyon. The Lower Tramway Trail is more used, and more obvious, but it goes north to south.
Follow the creek to the unusual rock formation creating a roof above the creek. You have to leave the creek at this point and scramble up the steep slope to a large boulder with some old fixed gear. You continue again east on a faint trail from this large boulder, and pass several climbs. Gemstone is the furthest east located climb. You can see fixed bolts on its route.
Belay anchor 3rd pitch
The climb is about 100 meters long, so you can do it in 2 pitches. I did it in 3 pitches, and some people climb it in 4 pitches (which I think is way too much).
The first pitch is on the slab, it is about 30 to 35 meters long, and it is bolted. The bolts are widely spaced - only 3 en route, some people make the climb easier and climb more to the right (west). There is a bolt, which belongs to another 5.6 climb. So, if you get worried about exposed slab climbing, there is an easier way up. The pitch leads to a ledge and a tree, which serves as a belay station.
2nd pitch (all trad from here) you climb up to a left facing dihedral, and continue to an unusual notch (almost like a little cave) at the end of this dihedral. You cannot see the 2nd belay station until you get to the end of it. It is obvious then.
3rd (+ possible 4th pitch) - from the back of the notch (little cave), move up and right to an alcove. Continue up to an narrowing chimney, which many people call the crux of the climb. Climbing above this section is easier, follow a little slab, and then you will see fixed anchors on the wall. You have to traverse a short slab section to get to these anchors.
- 2 rapels on two 60 meter ropes.
Cams up to # 3, small nuts, 2 ropes (required for descent).
Personal climbing gear and plenty of water.
External LinksMountain project