The Pulpit is the first major climbing obstacle you come across on the way up La Luz Trail. It is on the east side of the trail and is right before Vista Point, which is considered the entrance to La Cueva Canyon. Vista Point is a common break area for hikes so be prepared for spectators.
The Pulpit is located directly off the La Luz Trail
, thus there are two main options to reach this crag. The first option is to hike up from the Juan Tabo Canyon Area, and the other is two drop in from the Sandia Mountain Crest Area. The hike from the Juan Tabo Canyon Area is more difficult, it consists of 4 miles of trail and 2000 feet of elevation gain.
The routes are listed from north to south
Cave Route, II, 5.7
– Four pitches of good quality rock. Begin this route in a prominent and obvious open book below the large cave. Climb to large ledge above the cave and proceed right to the crack in the center of the Southwest Face. Follow this crack for 100’ and set belay at the bolts. Go left from here 10’ to a second ledge and follow the layback crack above. Continue on this crack until it runs out go left again and continue. The last pitch is actually a scramble to the summit block.I have been told from recent sources that this route can be done in two pitches due to the advances in modern climbing gear, but I am yet to personally verify this.
Waterstains, II, 5.7+
- Four Pitches. Start 50’ to the left of the large right –leaning and overhanging arch on the west face in an open book which leads to a six foot overhang 125’ above the ground. There is a fixed piton beneath the roof and to the left side above the roof is a large ledge with bolts, (these bolts are also shared with Cave Route). Make a long traverse to the right and follow the water stains to the top.
Poontang, III 5.10
– Three Pitches. This route begins at a small aspen tree directly opposite Vista Point on the southwest face. Go up a short gully which will put you on a small ledge with a lone pine tree that marks the start of the climb. Go left to a ledge and continue to slant to the right until it is possible to traverse right ten feet and set a good anchor belay on a ledge. Climb up and left until you are directly beneath a long, narrow roof with a crack on its right side. Turn this roof to a small ledge with a bolt. Traverse right for six feet and then climb left to the top of a large block which is at the right end of a long ledge. From here traverse left on this ledge use the top pitch(es) of Waterstains or Cave Route to finish the climb.
Southeast Ridge, II, 5.2
- Four pitches. Start at the south end of the face. The climb goes directly up the ridge on mostly class 4 rock. Climb the chimney located at the upper part of the ridge to make your way to the summit.
Two rapels off the summit block will get you to the Northest face of the crag. Follow the trails to get back to your packs.
To access The Pulpit from the bottom up option;
Take I-25 North to Tramway Road (NM 556). Take Tramway Road (NM 556) East. Continue for several miles until you see signs for Forest Road 333. FR 333 will be on the left (north) side of Tramway Road (NM 556). Follow FR 333 up to a right hand turn marked with a sign "La Luz Trailhead". Go right (east) at the sign and follow the road until you reach the trailhead.
To access The Pulpit from the top down option;
From the center of Albuquerque travel east on I-40 to exit 175 (Tijeras). From the exit ramp turn left (north) and go under the highway continuing north on Rt 14. Follow Rt 14 north for approximately 6 miles and turn left (west) onto Rt 536.