Tres Piedras Climbing

I can’t think of anything I’d rather do for my birthday weekend than explore a new climbing area! Tres Piedras (Three Rocks) is a tiny town in northern New Mexico, distinguished by three rock formations visible from afar. The largest is partially in Carson National Forest, and has some nice climbing on highly featured granite. I haven’t seen so many chickenheads since making the long, long drive into the Church Domes in the southern Sierra Nevada domelands. Camping in the quiet Ponderosa woods surrounding the rocks is sublime.

Our routes:

Dirty Diagonal 5.7
A wide, angling crack provides protection for the entertaining chickenhead climbing on the neighboring face. We do the whole 180 feet to the top and walk off.
Chickenheads 5.7
A high first bolt leads to diagonal cracks and, you guessed it, chickenheads! This climbing felt significantly steeper, more committing, and harder to protect than the previous route. This time we’re not sure the rope will reach the top, so we do a short second pitch.
Serpentine Crack 5.8
This crack weaves up the rock like a snake, big at the bottom and steadily narrowing towards the top. Again climbing is largely on face features, but a few fine crack moves come in handy. There are some steep, awkwardly leaning moves, but protection is good. We intend to go all the way up again, but an approaching storm convinces us to descend from the bolted anchor, which we do as the rain starts to fall.
Alien 5.9
My favorite route of the weekend. Nice crack climbing over bulgy, blocky terrain leads to an intimidating headwall, which yields good holds with the correct sequence. I produced a giant grin and a loud whoop after climbing it.

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