The Box Recreational Area: Climbing and More

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About the Box

The Box Recreational Area is located in Socorro, New Mexico. I first heard of this BLM land from an acquaintance I met in Hueco Tanks, Texas. He said it was a quiet little area which plays host to a little bit of everything: sport climbing, trad climbing, bouldering, hiking, and off-roading are at your finger tips!

To avoid people during the COVID-19 chaos, I decided to take a trip there for the first time ever. What a great idea, too! I fell in love with this little area. The Box is on BLM land, meaning you can park and camp wherever you want (just don’t be that person and park in the middle of the road).

The Box is Beautiful

At The Box, I engaged in many activities, most were primarily focused around rock climbing. I met some friendly locals on my first day out and they showed me around the bouldering area. Although you can no longer purchase the guidebook for this area, many of the routes and problems can be found on Mountain Project.

Also, the evenings are nice and quiet – stars fill the sky and light up your campground. It’s such a wonderful place!

I can’t stress enough how awesome The Box people were and how much I enjoyed the climbing activities. I will have to say that the actual city, Socorro, isn’t all that great to explore. It has a high crime rate, so I stayed away as best I could. There’re grocery stores, a Mexican restaurant, and a coffee shop; but nothing that I would recommend checking out while you’re in the area.

So get back out to that BLM land and start exploring! Don’t waste any time in the city, man.

Climb on!

For me, The Box was an amazing experience. Having spent almost an entire month at The Box, I still feel like I left with so many unexplored and unfinished problems. Since the day I left, I’ve been thinking about when I can go back.

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For the first few days, my skin was getting used to the uber sharp rhyolite rock. You see, rhyolite is a type of igneous rock whose texture is granite-like and glass-like. The fine-grained rock definitely will take some getting used to. I will say, however, after two or three days of climbing, I grew accustomed to it and was ready to crush!

Awkward top out, but it still counts, right? Bonus points for the butt shot!

Recommendations on Climbing Areas

  1. Major Wall, southern box
  2. Alcohol Wall, southern box
  3. Alcohol Wall South, southern box
  4. Pocket Change Wall, southern box
  5. Waterfall Area Bouldering, northern box

Top 5 Favorite Bouldering Routes

v4 beta version, courtesy of a friendly local!
  1. Sofa King, v4
  2. Rubber Walrus Protector, v5
  3. Jah Lives, v5
  4. Pressure Drop, v2
  5. Peck’s Mystery, v4

Top 5 Favorite Sport Climbing Routes

Liquid Diet, 5.11d
  1. Brown Baggin, 5.12b
  2. Bananas on Acid, 5.12a
  3. Pocket Change, 5.11+
  4. Bat Out of Hell, 5.11d
  5. Liquid Diet, 5.11d

Things to Know About The Box

As mentioned before, I was able to boulder and sport climb here. The Box is divided into four sections. I mostly explored the Southern Box and a little bit of the Northern Box. In my opinion, you can find high quality boulder and sport routes in Southern Box. Also, this is where I set up camp. The climbing access is so convenient that you can hike from you campsite to the trail. Granted, the farther away from the trail you camp, the longer of a hike you’ll have.

First, you’ll want to download The Box area map and pictures on the Mountain Project app. If you have AT&T, the service is very spotty and often have no service at all. Here’s a tip: hike a little bit into the Alf Rig trail and you’ll eventually get some decent service 🙂 Also, it gets pretty chilly at night (spring time) and SUPER WINDY throughout the days and nights. Wind gusts can get extremely strong, so be weary. My buddy lost his bouldering pad in the middle of the night! Don’t worry -we found it.

Here’s a little info about the two areas I explored:

Northern Box

Camping in this area is pretty nice. If you’re looking for some bouldering and most of the trad, stay in the Northern box. It’s also closer to the entrance. There is a huge pullout where many people set up camp. The pullout has a kiosk and restroom.

While hiking in the area, watch out for cow poop. There’s a bouldering area called “Cowshit Roof” for a very good reason. In terms of the climbing scene, I only bouldered in the Northern box for two days. I heard from a few locals that a lot of the sport climbing in northern box is rather chossy and not as highly traveled as the climbs in the southern box.

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Southern Box

I spent most of my time here. It has great bouldering and sport climbing routes. I liked this because there were plenty of places to camp, a little bit more open space than northern box. It was easy to social distance.

Also, I could just hike from the campsite to the climbing areas. The approaches are not bad at all! Bring sunscreen, sun shirts, and sun hats! You can find shade at some of the climbing walls, but you’ll be nearly fully exposed while hiking to and from. The climbs don’t have too much choss on them, and I never encountered any rocks or holds that were about to come off the wall.

Thanks for Reading

Please comment below to share your thoughts! Thank you for taking time to learn more about The Box! Follow me on Instagram @teachonclimbon to keep up with my latest adventures.

High five and goodbye!
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About Taylor Stogsdill

Hi! I'm Teacher Taylor. I teach, travel, and climb. I live for adventure, new experiences, and take pleasure in meeting new people! I share my experiences with anyone who is interested and curious. Teach On. Travel On. Climb On.

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