Amole & Comale Canyon
Northern New Mexico New Route Info
A big thank you to the Mountain Skills Guides who established most of these routes. Also Thanks to Mad Rock Climbing! Without thier many contributions many of these new routes would not have come to fruition. See Taos Rock for area maps and driving directions.Visit Mountainproject.com for more info and photos.
From Taos, drive 14.7 miles on NM 518 and park .9 past the Amole day area. Past the large road cut on your left find a faint two track marked #390. Follow it through the fence, walk left along the fence, and look for a faint cairned trail up to the cliffs. Stay left at top to avoid POISON IVY on right side of wall.
For Comales Canyon, continue on NM 518 for 3 miles and look for trail head on your right .2 miles past Comales Campground. See Taos Rock for detailed map.
From Santa Fe, turn right off NM 68 onto NM 75. Stay on 75 East for 20 miles. At the junction of 75 and NM 518 turn left (towards Taos) and drive .7 to Amole climbers trail. Turn right (towards Sipapu) and drive 2.4miles to reach Comales Canyon.
The Amole climbing area is comprised of four small cliffs located along the SHORT but high quality cliffband above state road NM518 and south of the Amole day use parking area. Left to right they are The Crack Cliff, Reach Around wall, Pine Shadow wall, and The Phishbowl / Dead TreeArea (visable from NM518). The majority of these walls face Southwest, and are in the shade until afternoon. Many routes continue to receive partial shade from large pine trees in the afternoon. The Fishbowl gets winter sun and has the best sport climbs. The Crack Cliff stays mostly shaded all day and has the best trad routes. Once you are familiar with the location of the cliffs an optional approach is to walk or bike in to the top of the cliffs from the Amole day use area. Park at a small pullout on you left and follow first trail on right accross from the parking marked with blue diamonds. Walk about 10 min to Crack cliff and 15 min to Phishbowl.
ROUTE DESCRIPTIONS FOR The Phishbowl / Dead Tree area (listed left to right):
Jugalo 5.10-*Sport. (Jay Foley,Donna Longo,Matt Bogar)
A smooth black face leads to jugs in a small overhang at top. Located by itself on the left side of west facing section of cliff left of the steep wall with cracks. 4 bolts, chain anchor.
A short hand crack through a roof wich leads up to a thin black face.Twenty feet right of Jugalo. 2 bolt anchor.
Finger It Out 5.10**(Jay, Kevin Ormerod)
Easy cracks and stemming lead to a ledge. From the ledge jam the finger crack (crux) up the left facing corner then follow steep but easier juggy terrain to the top. A standard single rack will get you to the Chain anchor.
Unamed Crack 5.9** (Matt Bogar,?)
Two obvious cracks split the middle of this steep section of cliff. Finger It Out to the left and the wide crack on the right is No Name Crack. Bring big cams or toprope from two bolt anchor.
Chalk Dust Torture 5.11-** Sport (Jay, Kevin Ormerod)
Steep climbing with some tricky moves and a crux at the top. Shares chain anchor and first bolt with A Chalkwork Orange. The left of two routes up steep Southeast face. 4 bolts.
A Chalkwork Orange 5.11*** Sport (Jay, Kevin,Tim Naylor)
Steep climbing with a thin crux low, beautiful orange and black face with perfect pockets midway, and a tricky finish! Shares first bolt and chain anchor with Chalk Dust Torture. 4 bolts.
The next six climbs start about fifteen feet to the right. They are close to each other and climb the SHORT steep pocketed rock in the “fishbowl” feature. PLEASE LEAVE CARABINERS ON ANCHORS AND USE FOR YOUR LOWERING CONVENIENCE!!! Toprope off your own draws please!
Placita Jita 5.9+ / 5.11**Sport (Jay, et all)
Climb out the left side of the “fishbowl”. Stay left of bolt line and climb down and left after clipping 4th bolt for 5.9+ jug haul variation. Go straight up for 5.11 crux. 4 bolts, biners at anchor.
Vadito Jito 5.10+***Sport (Jay, Tim Naylor, Kevin)
Fun STEEP climbing! Start left of first bolt then move right and straight over second bolt. Share anchor with Jicarita Jita or Phish Crack. 4 bolts, shared anchor.
Phish Crack 5.10+***(Jay et All)
Stemming and steep jugs. Flared slot with crack located in center of wall. Fun toprope from two bolt anchor or lead with standard rack.
Guacamole 5.11a/b–** Sport (Jay, Matt, Kevin… ?)
Start right of first bolt then straight up to second. After a rest crank the sustained moves above. Immediately right of Phish Crack. 4bolts. Carabiner anchor.
Amole Mole 5.10+**Sport (Kevin, Jay)
Slabby start leads to steepness and spicy finish above. Farthest right of the “fishbowl” sport routes. Share anchor with Wirelessor Guacamole. 4 bolts.
Wireless 5.10a**(Jay, Dennis Jackson)
Fun steep trad lead on good holds with good pro. Follow crack in left facing corner make a tricky move to gain a bolt continue up steep jugs. 3 or 4 cams up to one inch. Chain anchor.
The next few routes start about ten feet right on a west facing section of cliff known as the PT Wall. BEWARE!!!THE CLIFF BASE BEYOND THIS WALL IS COVERED IN POISON IVY!!! Because of this there are no routes right of the 5.4 arete.
PT(Physical Therapy) Grad Party 5.7+** (Matt Bogar, Marsha Ready, Jay)
Fun trad route. Start in a slaby black corner. Stem up to the bulge, from here you can step left around the bulge or take it straight on. Standard rack up to 1.5 inch. Chain anchor.
There are some easier albeit a bit dirty trad variations between these two routes. No Anchors.
Amo Lei (Italian for”I love her”) 5.9***(Kevin, Jay)
About twenty feet right of PT Grad Party on the right side of the wall start in an awkward finger crack in a small black corner then follow a hand rail to the first bolt. Pass 3 bolts and continue up on protectable pockets and a thin crack to the anchor. Light rack and 3 bolts. Chain Anchor. You can protect the direct 5.10 start*** with a small wire.
Five Four Arete 5.4**
Top rope the arete right of the Amo Lei face. Beware of POISON IVY down hill to your right!! Chain anchor.
PINE SHADOW WALL
This small compact wall is an independent formation located a 5 minute walk west (climbers left) across the scree field from the Dead Tree area. Follow the “main” lower cairned traversing trail across the scree field then go straight up to find the wall on climbers left of scree behind large pine trees. Here you will find two fun sport routes and 3 excellent trad leads. Routes listed below left to right.
Shadow Boxing 5.10*** (Jay Foley, Matt Bogar)
Start in a short right facing dihedral follow cracks up this (blue # 3 Camalot helpful) then step onto steep face follow thin seem through distinct pockets up green lichen streak (crux, small wires). As the angle decreases pass left of tree then up short headwall (microcam helpful) to chain anchor. Standard rack
Shadow Prancer 5.9** Sport (Jay,Matt)
Follow line of bolts up steep arete 10 feet right of Shadow Boxing and just left of Shade Hunter corner. Shares finish and chain anchor with Shadow Boxing (microcam helpful). Bolts and one small optional piece at top.
Shade Hunter 5.7** (Matt Bogar, Jay)
Follows crack in big corner. Finish up wide crack at top and belay off tree or share anchor with routes to left. Standard rack up to 3 inches.
Finger Puppet 5.10*** (Jay Foley, Matt)
Steep finger crack immediately right of Shade Hunter (stay off this route for full grade value) corner. At cracks end climb up steep face with protectable pockets (crux, medium to large wires helpful). Standard rack, No Anchor.
Best Hold in Thailand 5.8** Sport (Matt Bogar, Jay)
On the right edge of cliff follow a bolt line up steep rock. Pass The huge pocket midway and finish up arete to anchor. Fun! 4 or 5 bolts, chain anchor
Reach Around Wall
Relatively undeveloped this wall is found between Pine Shadow and The Crack Cliff. Matt Bogar led a nice 5.9 trad route on good rock located on the far right side of this cliff called Reach Around. Jay foley Led The route just left of Reach Around which is much easier than it first appears because of a stem back to a detached pilar at the start, maybe 5.7 or so. Some cool looking short thin faces on the left side of this wall. Fixed rope anchor at top?
Solid rock and a nice base hidden in the trees on the far left end of the Amole cliff band. this cliff is A bit taller and in the shade of the trees most of the day. The cliff has some tough topropes and fun trad leads with short splitter crack sections. Stay on the “main” cairned lower traverse trail below the base of the cliff band hike West (climbers left) about ten to fifteen minutes from Fishbowl and still a bit of a bush wack. It is also possible to walk on top of the cliffs across the flats (or along the Amole blue diamond loop road above) about 5min. Look for the remains of an old fallen barbwire fence before the cliff bends back to the north and tapers off. Hike down were the old fence meets the cliff/gully then walk back East (climbers right to reach the cliff base. Routes listed below left to right. MORE INFO PENDING!
Slopy Seconds 5.9- (Jay Foley, Thor Husted)
Better than it looks from below but still a bit dirty and loose near the top out. Start up a jagged right trending crack over small roof to bushes above. Move left away from bushes into a left angling finger crack that is hard to see from below, then straight up to rim. Standard rack, no anchors.
First Love 5.9** (Jay,Thor)
look for a splitter hand crack hidden in a left facing corner up in an alcove. Climb the crack to a tricky steep exit around small corner (crux, micro cams in seem out right helpful) Continue up pocketed face and steming make another tricky move over a bulge then straight up easy pockets to top. Standard rack, 2 bolt anchor.
Dixieland 5.11**TR ( Paul Judges,Jay)
About 10 feet right of First Love.Clip a lone directional bolt off First Love anchors and TR up thin crack then around left side of roof (crux) and up thin face.
Roof Proj 5.12+* TR
Toprope off Pass anchor up finger crack to roof (crux) behind tree.
Pass The Basalt 5.10-* (Jay, Russ Husted, Matt Bogar)
Start in crack behind free standing block. Standard rack, 2 bolt anchor
Basalt n Pepper/ AKA Daily Vegetable 5.11c/d**
Start in finger crack then follow steep bolted face above. A few finger sized cams and 3 bolts, shares anchor with Pass.
Holy Amole 5.10+*** (Jay,Thor)
Splitter thin hand crack to short offwidth, then finish straight up or step right to a sweet steep pocketed face with pro in hand crack on right. Standard rack, 2 bolt anchor.
Thor’s Face 5.12**TR (Thor Husted, Jay Foley)
Climbs face right of Holy Amole. Hard thin moves low lead to a crux through the bulge.
Pride and Prejudice 5.8-** (Jay, Kieth)
Lieback short spliter to a slab up to a ledge. Continue up steep blocky corner to 2 bolt anchor. standard rack.
COMALE CANYON (Upper Walls) Listed left to right. (All routes are fully equipped sport routes except DHMR 5.7+) See Taos Rock for detailed driving and approach directions.
Tim’s Thumb – Furthest north (climbers left) formation with pointy summit and one large leaning pine tree in the center of the base area. (Routes listed Right to left)
The Black Sheep* 5.11 climb through a series of angular roofs one on the right side of the formation. 5bolts.FA Dan Greenwald
Family Day 5.12a **** Climbs steep orange face behind big tree to sharp black arête above. FA: Jay Foley, Donna and Milan.
Father’s Day 511c/d*** Climb the steep left side of the Family Day arête. FA: Dan greenwald
Summer Solstice 5.11b/c** vertical crimping imediatly left of Fathers Day. 5 bolts FA:Harrison Holthouse, Jay, Matt Bogar.
It Takes A Village 5.10b/c** Crimping leads to pockets. Second bolted route from left. 5 bolts. FA: Gina Hawryluk, Scott Resnick,Dan Greenwald
The Middle Child 5.10* TR Top rope in between It Takes and Fun.
Fun for The Family 5.8** Fun steep climbing.Left most route on The Thumb start up steep slope.5 bolts. FA: Dan Greenwald
THE BLOCK– The first formation climber’s left of Fire Wall. Horizontal roofs run through the cliffs right side. “New” trail arrives at base of this wall. (left to right)
Aaron’s Route 5.8 ** Start on right side of dead tree and after 4th bolt angle up left and over bulge to left facing corner. 5 bolts. FA: Gina Hawryluk, Dan Greenwald.
Nicole’s Corner 5.10a ** Start 10 feet right of dead tree. Crux move is right off the ground and can be protected with small gear or avoided by starting left and traversing right to first bolt, which keeps the route at 5.9. Heads up clipping third bolt. 6 bolts. FA: Nicole Heckmann, Dan Greenwald.
Shadow Caster 5.10c *** Start behind large tree on left side of roofs and climb over two roofs. In the shade all day! 5 bolts. FA: Scott Resnick, Dan Greenwald
Shadows Edge 5.11 b/c ** Climb over two roofs and up to 2 bolt anchor with chains. Note: 1st and 3rd bolts need shoulder length slings to avoid rope drag over roofs. 5 bolts FA: Dan Greenwald/Gina Hawryluk
Into the Light 5.10 10 c/d ** Climb up and over large roof on great holds and then angle up and right to a roof with side pulls, edges and slopers. Follow up slab to 2 bolt anchor with chains. Note: A long draw is recommended at 2nd bolt to reduce rope drag. WARNING: A 10′ stick clip is needed to clip 1st bolt. 4 bolts FA: Dan Greenwald/Gina Hawryluk
FIRE WALL – Large formation located directly above lower walls, routes listed left to right. See picture in Taos Rock.
E-Z Rider 5.10a ** Starts 20 feet left of DHMR at base of steep loose slope on the far left end of Fire Wall formation. High first bolt that is easily reached from left side. 5 bolts. FA: Tim Naylor, Jay Foley.
Dennis Hopper Memorial Route 5.7+ PG13 ** DHMR start behind big pine 10 feet left of In Descent. Climb a shallow low angle right facing corner then move right under roof. (5.9 variation: just left of In Descent a bolted bouldery start joins the 5.7 at ledge.) From the ledge follow a double crack system capped by a small roof above. Exit left here and then continue up cracks above. Gear – wires, small cams, up to #3 Camalot. FA: Jay Foley, Tim Naylor.
Hopper’s Face 5.12a** TR. Top rope the face in between DHMR and In Decent via In Descent’s anchor.
In Decent 5.9*** / 5.11-* Start 8 feet right of DHMR on a blunt arete. For 5.9 grade move right of bolt line about half way up as the route steepens. If you stay direct here you will earn the 5.11 grade. 8 bolts. FA: Jay Foley, Carlos Abeyta, Vali Valus.
Stellas Grove 5.7
The Anvil 5.11a *** Start 15 feet left of leftmost black streak (Fiyo) and 20 feet right of In Descent. Climb up over bulge and then up to “hanging” anvil. 6 bolts. FA: Dan Greenwald, Gina Hawryluk.
Fiyo (AKA Catch a Fire) 5.11d *** Climbs left most black streak. A bouldery start leads to easier but STEEP climbing above. 5 bolts. FA: Kevin Ormerod, Jay Foley.
Still Smokin’ 5.10d ** Starts by dead tree and just left of Reignite and climbs up over bulges. Big reach to hidden hold. 6 bolts. FA: Dan Greenwald, Gina Hawryluk.
Reignite 5.11d *** Fun Steep climbing up left side of middle black streak. 7 bolts. FA: Dan Greenwald, Jay Foley, Kevin Ormerod.
Burnt 5.11c **** Climbs right side of middle black streak. 8 bolts. FA: Jay Foley and Cliff Reed.
Toast 5.11d *** Follow blonde streak left of right most black streak. 7 bolts. FA: Jay Foley.
Fire Walker 5.11a **** Climb right side of right most black streak. 7 bolts. FA: Spike Lynch, Jay Foley, Dan Greenwald.
The Egg 5.11a ** Climb flaky face right of right most black streak over several roofs. 8 bolts. FA: Dan Greenwald, Gina Hawryluk.
Prescribed Burn 5.10b ** Climb left side of flaky pillar to beautiful face above. 7 bolts. FA: Dan Greenwald, Jay Foley.
Kindling 5.10a * Climb up steep face to bulge half way up and step left and then back right over bulge and then continue up and right to anchors. Easier if you move right on upper headwall. 7 bolts. FA: Dan Greenwald, Gina Hawryluk
Lichenland is a shady cliff that is still realatively undeveloped. Park .2 of a mile West from the Comales Campground entrance on the south east corner of the bridge in large pullout. Walk an old road below power lines for less than 5 minutes. Lichenland is the first cliff on your left hidden in the trees fifty meters uphill from the power lines above a small flat clearing with a small flat boulder. Routes listed left to right.
Lichen The Ledge 5.10* (Tim Naylor) Bring a couple small TCU’s to supplement this bolted route.
Finger Lichen Good 5.9** (Tim Naylor) Standard rack.Two bolts and Chain anchor.
Lichen the Layback 5.8+ (Jay & Thor) Treaverse left on brushy ledge to gain a small right facing layback corner. Standard rack. 2 bolt anchor.
Seems Lichen 5.10* (Jay &Thor ) Lead with pins and micro gear or TR from Lichen The Layback anchor.
Hiken’ The Lichen 5.7*(Tim Naylor) Start right of bolt line then straight up after second bolt.