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Was just visiting relatives in New Mexico. Has anybody ever heard of Shield's Knife Edge route? There's a very sketchy description in book I saw that rates it mainly 4th class & slight 5th...Looks very long and somewhat remote..Mostly everyting else there is rated pretty hard.. Wonder if I could lead it...I get sketchy sometimes on gunks crags rated pretty easy & sometimes have found 3rd class in the mountains far more scary because of loose "rock," weird route-finding etc...

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hey jersey,

I've climbed the knife edge. It's a great route and probably 5.0 level climbing (mostly 3rd class). I solo'd it and felt comfortable, but there is some significant exposure (see photo below). Rock quality is good.

Route finding is pretty simple, following the ridge for most of the climb and going left around a couple sections. Some parties rope up at the crux (again, see photo), which is the obvious "W" notch seen from the valley.

Good luck!




big photo

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At the risk of revealing what a lame climber I am, how many pitches is the third-fourth class and higher parts of route?


How is (or would be) the gear & anchoring possibilities? I've only lead on gunks rock...& only to 5.3...and wonder if this would be over my head coming into it cold as leader...I went up Canon Del Aqua trail about 20 years ago.. Is this the approach?

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ummm...the entire route is 3rd class minimum. about 1500' or so. Protection possibilities should be abundant if you wanted to break it up into pitches, however, keep in mind that's a long day of setting anchors and rope drag.

If appproaching from the bottom, you want to take the Piedra Lisa trail north for a few miles, cutting right at a crest, following an obvious climber's trail up to the base of the climb.

I've included a couple more pics for ya. Keep in mind the west face is closed during raptor season (Jan-Aug), however, the knife edge is never restricted if you follow the trails...


knife edge comes into view where the climbers trail cuts left:


biggie size


"crux" (easy) section--this is the "W" section discernable from down below @ Juan Tabo


super size me


It's a spectacular climb and definitely recommended for those new to the Sandias bigdrink.gif

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