Socorro Bouldering Guide - Box Canyon - Streambed

"Streambed'll make you strong!" - Peck exuberantly quoting Bertrand

Streambed is located just south of where the Box Canyon wash crosses US60. You can either park on the side of the highway just West of the bridge and head down into the wash, or you can park at the main parking lot and head North down the canyon. This is the area that the Dr. Topo guys erroneously call "New Box".

Streambed is different rock than most of Box, featuring pocketed tuff. This place is rough on your skin, especially the traverses as you tend to twist you hands on the rough holds. These long, pumpy technical traverses are excellent training, building fingertip calluses, forearm stamina, and character. Bob Murray's ancient but fun problem, Left Roof, is classic powerful pocket pulling on a horizontal roof.

There are two major walls on either side of the wash: East Streambed and West Streambed. West Streambed is generally easier climbing, less painful, and therefore more popular than East Streambed.

The ground level and landings are at the mercy of the summer floods. At times, the low traverse can be much harder when the footholds are covered in sand. Sometimes, large rocks can be deposited directly under high problems causing dangerous landings. This area sees flash floods several times a year. In the summer of 2006, the water flowed over seven feet deep and washed some car-sized rocks away.

For a few years a gold mine was operated here. A wooden structure was erected and Box was often filled with the sound of a running water pump. The climbers and miners would regard each other with mutual recognition of the insanity of the other, and the miner was an interesting person to talk to while bouldering the traverses. Then one day the miner dug up the ground under West Streambed and made a horrible landing for a while, which understandably angered the climbers and hikers. No gold was ever found, the public was getting upset, and the miner was forced to leave. It took years for him to remove all his equipment, and for a few years a boom truck was parked a few yards up from the wall. Visiting climbers were told that the wooden structure was a gallows.

When the landings are good, Streambed is a great place for night bouldering. Streambed "Missions" were often run during the summer nights when the Biting Bugs of Box were sleeping and the air was cool. The State Police showed up during one mission, having seen the lights and looking for a car that had seemingly driven off the highway bridge. They left with baffled expressions for the strange idiots climbing rocks in the middle of the night.

West Streambed

UTM 13S 0316390 3764313
    Streambed, West side, far left
    West Streambed, Far left side

  1. Lip Left - V4 tall Rob*
    Sit start in the streambed at the far left end of the wall, just right of the small boulder. Go up to the lip, and then follow it to where it intersects Left Roof and top out.
  2. Left of Left - V8 (V8-V10) tall
    Sit start Left Roof, but at the jug go left out edges and a mono to the lip, then straight up.
  3. Left Roof - V5 (V4-V6) tall Bob Murray
    Stand start on a jug, go out the roof on pockets to the horn, then top out left. Sit start is a bit pumpier.
    This problem is incredible fun. A Jake variation is to do the Low Traverse right to left and then top out using Left Roof. I've seen people campus (no feet!) this problem.
    3a. Painsnake - V4 tall Bob 2/2003
    Go to the high jugs on Right Roof. Traverse left on sharp holds, then drop to the horn and top out Left Roof.
    Jake's idea.
  4. Right Roof - V3 (V3-V4)tall Bob Murray
    Stand start and use the slot to gain a sloper, then either go up right to a sharp hold and top out (4 alt), or traverse left to some jugs and top out (4).
    Very nice, super quality with fun moves
  5. ? - V2 (V1-V2) tall
    Stand start and go right to top out on the slab right of the prow.
  6. Hidden Hold - V1 (V1-V2) tall, crux at top
    Stand start on a big juggy hueco and go straight up through the two small roofs to top out.
    Lucky Seven - V5 contrived Peck
    I need to put a detail picture here to show this splendid contrivance.

  7. Streambed, West side, left
    West Streambed, Left side

  8. Crimpy Thing - V2 tall
    Start on the shelf, above the big hueco at navel height. Grab the sharp jug and use small holds to the lip. Nice crimp.
  9. The Throne AKA Midway Crack - V2 tall, scary
    Climb to the obvious seat, then top out through the overhung crack.
    This is a nice place to cheat on the High Traverse, because you can sit here and relax a bit.
  10. Huck - V3
    Sit start on a flexing undercling. Go up and left to finger pockets, then huck right and up about three feet to a jug. Top out if you dare.
    The first move on this is one of the cruxes on the Low Traverse
  11. Short Cake - V5
    Sit start in the same undercling as above, then crank off small edges straight up to gain the ledge.
  12. Slop - V4 semi-contrived Bob*
    Sit start ten feet right of the undercling. Go up and right to a slimy knob, then up and left to small slopers, then to the good holds on the ledge. Don't go too far right or the holds will get huge. Traverse right and top out Guano Hold.
    Sloppy Seconds - V4 tall, scary, semi-contrived Barrett 6/10/2003
    Do Slop, then top out to the left.
    I suddenly fell from the top of this one summer night in 2003, perhaps due to a loose foothold. Floods had recently made the landing rocky and then I missed the pads and spotter by several feet and landed sideways (suprise fall, 19'5" from my waist to the ground). I sustained a Type-II Radial Head Fracture (one of the long bones in the forearm) along with very large bruises, abrasions, and 3/4"-long cut on my head. This was my second-worst bouldering fall.
    Joel's Pocket Pleasure - V5 contrived Joel
    Just right of Slop, do reachy moves between sharp two-finger pockets to work up and left. A detail picture is probably needed.
    Extraordinarily painful.
  13. Guano Hold - V1 tall, scary
    The obvious line of jugs straight up to a freaky mantle top out.
    The nice hold 2/3 of the way up can be filled to the lip with guano. When this occurs, everyone who grabs it from below says the same thing: "Eww".

  14. Streambed, West side, right
    West Streambed, Right side

  15. ? AKA Night Mission Left - V4 tall, scary, contrived Jake
    Sit start to tiny sidepulls, and then throw to the huge cobble. Top out, but the lip on the right of the top out is loose. You know, I need a seperate page to detail the wonderful contrivances on streambed.
    Conceived and executed during a night mission.
    ? AKA Night Mission Right - V4 tall, scary, contrived Jake
    Sit start right of Night Mission Left, use two-finger pockets to get to the huge cobble. The lip on the right of the top out is loose.
    Conceived and executed five minutes after the above problem.
  16. ? - V2 tall
    Jugs to a fist crack, mantle top-out.
  17. Tongue - V1 tall
    Line of jugs with a "tongue" of rock sticking out the middle. Actually the tongue is now broken off, but a big smiley hueco marks the place where it used to be.
  18. ? - V0
    Obvious line of weakness, topping out in the notch.
    Easiest, least scary top out at Streambed
  19. The Right Way or the Highway - V0
    Sit start, crank up juggy huecos and pull over the lip.
    There used to be broken glass all over the top of this.


  1. Low Traverse - V2 (V2-V3) contrived
    Traverse the entire wall, either direction. Stay below about six feet for the grade.
    This is such a long traverse that it should probably be rated as a route: 5.11+.
  2. High Traverse - V1
    Traverse the entire wall, either direction.
    Pumpy. About 5.11-. Jake has stayed on for a mile of laps in one push. Yes, one mile. It took hours.

Other side of the wash from West Streambed

There is a short, small wall of the same type of rock.
updated November 30th, 2004
Bob Broilo