The Prow is the frequently overlooked, canine-shaped rock below the much larger Shield and Needle in the Sandia Mountains. The rock itself rises 540 feet above the accompanying ridge and 2000 feet above the Piedra Lisa Trailhead Parking Lot. The rock is the typical iffy granite encountered in the Sandias. Hanging Sling Buttress is a 4-pitch 5.8 TRAD route on the southwest buttress that holds the largest vertical relief on the rock at about 640 feet. The rock is a protected bird of prey nesting area that is closed from March 1st until August 15th each year.
The Northwest Ridge (AKA Winter Ridge) - 2 pitches - 5.3 (closer to 5.5)
Hangling Sling Buttress - 4 pitches - 5.8
East Ridge - 4th/low 5th class
The Prow Before The Shield
Piedra Lisa TH:
From the intersection between I-25 and I-40, go north on I-25 to the Tramway Rd. Take a right onto Tramway and continue past Sandia Casino towards the mountain. Several miles past the casino, turn left onto the FR-333 to the La Luz Picnic Grounds near the base of the mountains. There are two places where you can pay the parking fee, the first is near Tramway Rd. and the other is at the turn off to the La Luz Trailhead parking lot. Continue straight beyond the turnoff to La Luz onto FR-333D (a dirt road) to the Piedra Lisa Trailhead, which is just before a gate that has a sign saying “no public access.”
After about 5 minutes on the dirt road is the turn off onto the actual trail. Near the location where the Piedra Lisa Trail drops into the first large gully that is actually the convergence of two arroyos, several trails shoot east. The first is Music Trail while the second, which is in the next wash 90 feet up the Piedra Lisa Trail, is Fletcher Trail. Descriptions of the trails, due to their confusing nature, will be provided later when a better understanding of how they meander through the canyons and up the slopes is achieved.
Protected as part of the Sandia District of the Cibola National Forest and the Sandia Mountains Wilderness Area, The Prow has several restrictions. No motorized vehicles or mountain bikes are allowed on the trails and a $3 parking fee is required at all trailheads within the national forest or wilderness. They now accept National Parks Passes in the parking areas. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash and picked up after.
The Shield, Prow, and Needle are all closed March 1 through August 15
each year to protect raptor nesting. However, the Knife Edge is always open.
There are no campgrounds on the mountain but camping is allowed as long as fires are not made. However, all climbs are done within a day so camping is unnecessary for most people. If need be, there are several semi-flat areas near the base of the rock that could support a tent or bivy.
When To Climb
The peak is climbable at all times during the year. The best period is between April and September, which is true for most peaks in New Mexico. Afternoon thunderstorms are common on this mountain, more frequently during the spring, summer, and fall. Due to the dry air, altitude, and intense sun that drain you of water it is important to pack plenty of it (a couple of liters is good).
For mountain conditions you can take the following link.
Sandia Peak Ski Area Weather
It is also possible to e-mail, call, or mail the district ranger of the Sandia Mountains. His e-mail is email@example.com, his address is 11776 Highway 337, Tijeras, New Mexico USA 87059-8619, and his phone numbers are (505) 281-3304 [voice] and (505) 281-1176 [fax].