Climbing Potrillo Cliffs

November 21, 2009 at 4:58 pm

As I mentioned in my previous post, our first day in Santa Fe, New Mexio, was an amazing desert adventure. After our trip to the Farmer’s Market, we headed out for a day of climbing at the Potrillo Cliffs.

El Portillo

This line of short, but sunny and bomber basalt cliffs sits above the Rio Grand river canyon, just south of Los Alamos. In fact, inorder to get to the cliffs, you have to walk past a very interesting, specific, sign that outlines all of the possible bombs that we might run across, and who to call if we find some. The area sits on the edge of the Los Alamos munitions testing range, and we all learned a lot about what bombs look like from checking out this sign. I hoped to find a purple grenade!

Mark reads the sign carefully, and hopes to find a purple grenade

At the end of November, this area had perfect climbing weather. There were clouds occasionally obscuring the sun, and a chilly breeze that came and went, but plenty of warmth and light. We hung topropes on several climbs and worked some beautiful cracks.

Ann starts with a clean ascent of the wide chimney on Chuckawalla (5.8)

Mark stems the beautiful diherdral in the afternoon sun

Dylan has a nice write up and good pictures from the day on his blog as well. I loved the thin hands cracks on Upper Kor’s Crack (5.9), the chimney start on Chuckawalla (5.8) was awesome, and the overhanging fingers start on Lower Kor’s Crack was tough but very, very fun.

Mark belaying above the canyon

We climbed until our shoulders started to give out and the sun had dipped near to the rim of the canyon. Then we packed up, hiked back through the deserted, and headed into a cold, quiet starry night. Ann and I spent two glorious hours at Ten Thousand Waves, and Mark and Dylan had beers and a hike home from the Second Street Brewery. It was, as I have said so many times before, and awesome day.

Climbing Desert Basalt