Type: Trad, 450 ft, 4 pitches
FA: Paul Kemp & Rob DeVelice
Page Views: 2,992 total · 19/month
Shared By: Aaron Hobson on Feb 28, 2006 with updates from Karl R. Kiser
Admins: Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski

You & This Route

15 Opinions

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A beautiful corner system which ascends the North end of the Checkerboard wall. The climbing is great for the first pitch, not bad the rest of the way. There are some sections of crumbly rock near the top, but for the most part the rock is good, the pro is solid and the moves are exciting.

Pitch 1: (70 ft) go up the clean, well defined corner to a ledge. Traversing to the right on the ledge will take you to a rap station if you do not wish to continue.

Pitch 2: (100 ft) continue up the corner past a fixed red cord and up a nice crack. Do NOT go to the top of the corner. Look past the arete on your right for a good opportunity to traverse right. Go past the bolt and up a 5.8 slab on small holds to the right of the small triangular roof. Continue up to a dished out spot with a crack on the left. There is usually a rap sling on a chock short distance above this location if you do not wish to continue.

Pitch 3: Original version (as per topo) goes straight up from here. It looks scary and I do not know it personally. I was told that it does go to another corner (by a person who traversed into it a bit higher).

Pitch 3: Squeeze chimney version. (140 ft) Go up the squeeze chimney above and continue on the left past a bush, then on the right to the top of the wide gully.

Pitch 4: (120 ft) Continue up and left, then up and right, over easier but not always well protectable terrain to where you are comfortable. Sling some boulders or a tree for belay.

To get to the rap line go up the ridge line and look for a largish green bush close to the left edge.


To get to the start of this route bushwhack your way to the northern end of the cliff. The large shaded and clean corner should be evident. It starts with two parallel cracks, continues as a single crack (see photo). The crack should be about hand size at the most, if you're starting in a chimney, you're on the wrong route.

To descend, use the usual Cross-trainer rap line. Alternatively you may traverse right after just a single pitch to a rappel sling in the next corner.


Standard Rack up to #3. Double in mid sizes.


Quite a fun route. Perhaps a bit stiff for a novice 5.8 leader. Couple of sections with route finding, trickier pro and small runouts.

I combined the first two pitches with a 70m. Might be possible with a 60. Sep 1, 2009
GREAT route! I consider it a must-do if you trudge up to Checkerboard. Agree that you want to be solid at 5.8 to lead this one, but it's reasonably protected the whole way, with a couple of short, exciting sections. Fun! Mar 20, 2011
Forrest Wilcox
Las Cruces, NM
Forrest Wilcox   Las Cruces, NM
must do for checkerboard Aug 1, 2012
Marta Reece
Las Cruces, NM
Marta Reece   Las Cruces, NM  
If you go to the right on the ledge about two thirds of the way up the dihedral, you will find a rap sling there.

The dihedral is quality, but you don't get to do all of it as you need to exit onto the slab to the right to get around the roof. There is currently a piece of red cord below where you exit. You can belay from a short distance above it. If you wish to rap from there, you can put a sling around a chock in the groove on the right.

The Rosul-Dunning guide shows the next pitch as going left again and up another dihedral. We have found the move intimidating and went for the squeeze chimney on the right. There is some vegetation in the broken ground above the chimney before you end on a slab from which you can scramble to the Cross-trainer chains for rappel. Dec 20, 2012
The old Southwester Mountaineers topo accurately reflects the FA. It may be 5.8 PG (see Paul Davidson's remarks) but do not discount the climbing because it is more old school. Dec 27, 2012
Ian Harris
Las Cruces NM
Ian Harris   Las Cruces NM
We climbed this in two pitches, rappelling off of the chockstone in the 8-inch wide crack.
I have gone left after this before (as opposed to the chimney) but there is a very committing move to get to the high up finger sized crack.
Even after this, the next chimney/dihedral didn't look welcoming, but you can scramble over left to the Crosstrainer anchors.
Really nice climb. First pitches are quality. Jan 26, 2013
Marta Reece
Las Cruces, NM
Marta Reece   Las Cruces, NM  
An alternative Pitch 3 is to go right from P2 belay, traversing on a rounded boulder, and take the next chimney up. It is wide and filled with chocks, which are surprisingly not too unstable and can be climbed without much of a problem. Once the floor levels off, you can go up the right wall to the slab on the right. Go up it and cross over the chimney where it is filled with chock again, then climb up a steep face to the left of it to reach a slab leading to the boulder field on top of Checkerboard.

Taking Pitch 2 up to the top of the dihedral and continuing up to the left of the triangular roof is possible if awkward, but the crack found there peters out leaving the leader with an option of a tension traverse/lower to the right. The follower is somewhat worse off, having to climb unprotected over steep terrain with very small holds and a significant pendulum should he fall. A bail gear we found in that crack attested to the unwillingness of some to do this. Generally, this version of the route is not recommended. May 4, 2014
Fairbanks, AK
RW1   Fairbanks, AK
All I can say is that I wish I had climbed this route before! I was expecting the ever-present slab, but was pleasantly surprised. Many different ways to climb (the first pitch), but I used a combination of stem and hand-jam up the crack. Great gear placements as well. There were a few 5.8 moves, but I wouldn't say it was necessarily harder than most 5.8s. Jun 20, 2016