Trip Report: Roy, New Mexico

Roy, New Mexico has been on our brains since last years road trip. We first heard about this new bouldering area in the rural town of Roy, a year ago. We had been traveling around the southwest for over a year strictly bouldering. So it was exciting to hear about a sandstone bouldering mecca found right in the southwest of New Mexico.  The area beckoned for climbers to explore and climb anything that had quality rock.

After seeing some photos being posted online from fellow climbing friends, we eventually felt the pull to come to Roy to see for ourselves. Thanks to a now sold out climbing guidebook that was published ~3 years ago, we were able to have a guideline on where some established climbs were, where to camp, and what roads to take. We even met up with friends that had been to Roy previously and assisted by guiding us around.

The climbing in Roy has provided almost bulletproof Dakota sandstone, a perfect type of rock for climbing, located in the side canyons of Mills and Mesteño. Both of these side canyons come off of the much larger Canadian River Canyon. Needless to say, there is a lifetime or more of climbing and exploring to be had.

The rock tends to be either tall with sloping features, or overhung with jugs and crimps. The difference depends on where the rock is located within the canyons. In the Upper Mesteno section, you will find horizontal roofs as well as highball face climbs. In the Lower Jumbles, the rock will feature smoother sloping holds created from water and weathering.

Recommended Climbs

Puddle Jumper V6, Fun Bags V6, Dustbowl V7, Erganomicon V7, Try Angular V6, and Buttercup V5


Preparing for a trip to Roy involves bringing enough food and water to last for a while because the nearest Walmart or large grocery store is 80 miles one way. There is however a small grocery store with limited options and water located in the town park, 9 miles away. In order to get to the actual climbing, you have to drive down rutted dirt roads passing through several cattle gates ~5 miles from the Forest Service campground. Its easy to get lost on the way to the climbing zones due to the grasslands disguising the canyons. To say this place is rural is an understatement.

With the appeal of this new area giving rise to an increased population, looking towards the future in terms of the impact on the land, has many people concerned. Access is always an issue when establishing a new climbing zone. Typically the town will work with the climbers to figure out how to make a climbing area sustainable in the long term.

The locals, town representatives, forest service staff and climbers are all asking questions: Is the climbing located on public or private land?; Where do climbers camp?; Where will they poop?; How much erosion is occurring due to increased traffic?

So far the town of Roy has shown an interest in maintaining access for climbers to come to this area. Currently there are in two Forest Service campgrounds in Mills Canyon that include pit toilets which can sustain a large number of climbers. With a new attraction such as Roy bouldering, there will likely be an increase in spending, which can help the local towns economy.

Right now, Roy is in the middle of a change. More and more people are arriving to Roy by the car load thanks to the the rise of social media and climbing in general. Just look back up at the top paragraph and you’ll be reminded that we found this area through social media as well. We know we are part of the crowd. We acknowledge the effects that an individual has on the land. And after spending some time in Roy, we came to appreciate the area immensely. We are hopeful that the climbing community will uplift this town, while caring for the land that we get to play on. We absolutely plan on returning when the season is good again. But for now, we have headed to Joe’s Valley, a place that Roy can look towards as an example of climbers and the local community coming together.


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