OK, I will admit that from the typical climbers standpoint growing up in northern New Mexico would be considered a curse. I mean, Rifle is 8 hours of driving away, the Red River Gorge is about 25 and...no climbing gyms! But what the area does have is lots of untouched sandstone, similar in consistency to that of coagulated sugar. Miles of canyons exist, most of them desolate if not for the hundreds of gas pumps and oil well-sites that pepper the vast desert landscape; "Warning - if siren sounds find higher ground and use gas mask" reads a sign pointing out the potential hazard for H2S Gas poisoning. Yep, home sweet home!
My father and uncle own several acres of farmland situated near Bloomfield. My grandparents purchased this land when I was a teenager and conveniently for me it's within walking distance from Blanco Canyon - this particular area hosts dozens of 50'-200' free standing sandstone towers. Though much of the rock is of such poor quality that most would argue its relevance as a true rock climbing objective - hence, the term "Crumbling"!
It has been a great place to go aid-soloing for me and I must admit I love having the place to myself! Honestly could be one of favorite spots to go bag desert first ascents, tower after tower...
View from the summit of Clyde Tower. The green fields in the background are the farmlands my family owns and operates.
Clyde Tower - named in honor of my Grandfather, Clyde Goodman. This is a very formidable dirt spike overlooking every move the farmers below make. I made the first ascent of this the day we put my Grandad to rest.
The Desert Rose - smells like dirt! This went all free at 5.10.
Eagle Rock aka White Owl - This feature almost sits on my fathers property. I made the first ascent with my father and uncle watching. Little did they know my solo climbing system was sub-standard that day and the rock was some of the worst I have EVER climbed on! I took a hatchet up with me and "enhanced" a few cam placements. It was super cool having them around that day. My uncle gave me my first big stash of climbing gear when I started climbing 20 years ago; a rack that he had used before I was born.
Dude this thing was bomber! Do not forget to bring a hatchet!
My father Joe on the right and my uncle Ron on the left. If you have a problem with how I turned out as a person, take it up with these two! Though, I will add a word of caution from my fathers mouth " I have been shot at and hit. No need to be scared in a gun fit, you won't feel the one that gets you anyways." My father was accidentally shot point-blank in the head with a 9mm in Vietnam, he was pretty much dead right then and there. Not sure you can say he was lucky but, he happened to be sitting on a hospital bed when he took the bullet, from his own gun held by a fellow soldier. Why do they call it friendly fire anyways?
The Grimm Reaper - Probably one of the better climbs in the area and the hardest I have done at 5.7r/x A.3.
The Toaster Crumbs - This rig is almost 200 feet tall and with every breath of wind gets skinnier.
Angel Peak - As viewed from the north on the summit of Clyde. This peak is a landmark feature in San Juan County and has seen several ascents, one of the only formations around I did not get the first ascent of.
Self portrait on the summit of Eagle. I put in 3 bolts on the summit for the rap, all of witch I could remove with my fingers. Using bolts is something I try very hard to avoid!
Tower of Power - could you take an hour? Don't be fooled, this thing is a pile!
The White Owl fleeing from its roost on Eagle Rock. The ground at the base is littered with the bones of rodents. My dad loves it, less ground hogs he has to remove.
I called this the Candle Stick. One of the more teetering dirt sticks out there. I free climbed it up to the last 10 feet with marginal gear. Then used a big hook to lasso a horn on the summit and pulled myself up - probably should have fallen and broken my back that day...stupid obsession.