|By Marta Reece|
From: Las Cruces, NM
Nov 4, 2013
At five pitches Flea Tree is relatively short. It is protectable throughout, route finding is straightforward, and the 5.7 rating is not really sandbagged. There are some loose rocks on the bottom half of the route, occasionally sizeable ones. They can be avoided, but if you'd put your packs behind the tree and trundle some stuff, that would be good.
Approach: from Left Eyebrow go up past the Eye of Sugarloaf and continue up going close to the rock. You will come to a small saddle between a tree and the skirt of Sugarloaf. The route starts here.
Orientation: from where you stand, locate the Flea Tree. To the right of it a row of small bushes marks the top of the dihedral you will be climbing. As you trace that line down, it will become a clearly visible crack and toward the bottom a dihedral with a pair of cracks in it making a narrow, inverted V. The V will become better visible as you get closer and will serve as a landmark.
Pitches 1 and 2, 5.5 - 5.6, 350 ft total. Go up the wide apron to the bottom of the dihedral. The terrain is made up of flakes few inches thick, making up disorganized, right-facing corners. The climbing is easy and you may want to scramble partway up, but even if you do, it will still take two pitches to reach the dihedral. At the top of the second pitch, head to a point some 30 feet to the left of the dihedral, then traverse right on an easy ledge.
If you look to your right, past where the ledge is cut by a deep groove and some ten feet below, you will see two old bolts, one of them with a hook hanger.
Pitches 3 and 4, 5.7, 300 ft total. Go up the dihedral to its top, then face climb to the Flea Tree. This section of the climb is distinctly steeper, and there is a balancy move or two on the face climb, particularly if you are short.
Pitch 5, 5.5, 200 ft. Go up along the right facing corner above the Flea Tree for a bit, then climb on top of it. Slant to the left over chicken heads for the rest of the full-rope pitch to a place within an easy reach of the summit.