Published: March 2009Adventure Travel in New Mexico
Southwest New Mexico

The Next Southwest: New Mexico

Moab gets a face-lift. The Grand Canyon shows off two secret falls. And the Colorado River makes room for untested paddlers. Presenting the 20 best adventures in the Four Corners, where everything old (even the ancient stuff) is new again.

Text by Kate Siber
Climb a One-of-a-Kind Crag
You might recognize Diablo Canyon as the setting for the first shootout scene in 3:10 to Yuma. Then again, Diablo, which is carved from the desert about 15 minutes outside of Santa Fe, could be almost any canyon in the Southwest—a flat, sandy wash flanked by soaring cliffs and devoid of people. Here, however, those cliffs hide slices of hard, dark basalt with cracks formed by cooling lava—the perfect habitat for climbers. In the past ten years, local Santa Fe crag rats have developed some one hundred routes here. You’ll find impressive variety: single-pitch and multipitch routes, bolted sport and trad climbs, as well as both north-facing and south-facing climbs. "But the biggest allure is that there are no crowds," says John Kear, an American Mountain Guide Association–certified guide and the co-owner of Albuquerque-based Suntoucher Mountain Guides. "On most all the crags you’re by yourself or close to it." During a day of guided climbing with Suntoucher, don’t miss Post Moderate, a 5.9 face climb with large, satisfying holds and wide-angle views across the back lot of a Western ($295 per person, per day or $376 for two; suntoucher.com).

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