Type: Trad, 800 ft, 9 pitches, Grade III
FA: Edmund Ward, Glen Banks, Paul Seibert and Mark Motes, 1976/1977.
Page Views: 5,809 total · 44/month
Shared By: George Perkins on Feb 11, 2008
Admins: Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Placement of bolts/fixed anchors is prohibited in Wilderness Study Areas Details


Described as a highly recommended Organ classic, this climb is a great way to reach the Sugarloaf summit, for a party that's up for climbing 5.10 slabs. Don't be discouraged by the 5.11 rating, the crux section is short, right at a bolt which you could easily aid off of to get through, or avoided altogether by poorly protected 5.9 friction traverse.

4/2018: Most of the original 1/4" bolts have been replaced with modern 3/8" bolts, and all of the hanging belays have at least one new bolt.

Pitch 1. Go up right leaning cracks to the second of 2 fixed pins. Traverse left on the face to a new bolt, then continue left on less-featured slab to a second bolt. Up from here to a 3-bolt belay on a small ledge. (5.10)

Pitch 2. Move right on the ledge, then up to a fixed pin in a dish. Up and a little right past two bolts with the climbing consisting of thin face/slab moves between ledges big enough to rest on. Stop at an anchor with 3 bolts. (5.10-). You could rappel to the ground from here with 2 ropes, but expect to leave webbing at the belay if doing so.

Pitch 3. 10' up and left is a bolt. You can climb directly past this with a 5.11 boulder problem to a small undercling flake (recommended) or avoid the 5.11 section by traversing left from the belay and going up from there (5.9? big fall possible?). "A0" using the bolt is a reasonable option to avoid the short 5.11 section. After the crux, angle left to a fixed piton, and then, an amazing flake that you'll hand traverse back to the right. Continue up to a belay on a good ledge with some fixed pins and lots of tat. (5.11 or 5.10A0 or 5.9R?). You could retreat from here to the top of p2 with 2 ropes, if necessary.

Pitch 4. Your goal is to reach the big tree shared with Left Eyebrow. The topos show to head left on a fun, but unprotected, chickenhead face to a wiggly 'fixed' piton (which can be backed up with small cam). From this point, cruise up low angle knobby slab with minimal pro to a hollow flake and the tree. Written word in RC:NM says you can get to this tree by "face climbing right, then up the the tree" from the previous belay as well. Check out the giant steel ring on the webbing on the tree! (5.8). You could retreat from here to the top of p3 with 2 ropes.

 From this tree, the climb follows the upper pitches of Left Eyebrow.  It has some runout sections, but that probably won't bother you as its significantly easier than Science Friction.

Pitch 5. Angle right on easy ledges to below a bunch of left facing flakes that form a left facing corner. Some choss. (5.2)

Pitch 6. Follow the corner/crack system, to a dead tree stump (belay here, or continue farther right to a stance in the corner below the obvious roof) (5.4). These last two pitches can be combined with a modest amount of simulclimbing.

Pitch 7. Climb up to the roof, escape its to its right- to an amazing face of knobs and chickenheads. Continuing up, bear a little to the right, passing a bolt, to reach a 3-bolt belay (rated "5.6", probably more like 5.7 R).

Pitch 8-9. Follow a right-leaning crack to a bolt, then traverse left to bust through a roof on big jugs. Soon above this, you'll reach a right-facing corner. Belay somewhere in here.  With a 70m rope we were able to continue to a grassy ledge in a single long pitch, but you'll need to split this into 2 pitches with a shorter rope. Quality. ("5.6", maybe 5.7?).

Pitch 10. Various options for another 200' to the summit.  Straight up from the right end of the grassy ledge, then traverse right on a dike to 4th class cracks worked for us, but other possibilities exist.


This climb is located on the blank-looking slab left of the Eye on the northwest face of Sugarloaf. It is to the right of some right arching roofs. The face appears to have no holds whatsoever from below. You will likely be able to see some of the bolts and the first bolted belay from below.


1 set nuts, 1 set cams to 3".
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
  5.10d PG13
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
  5.10d PG13
Wow! What an enjoyable route. Difficult friction face climbing for a few pitches to start and then super enjoyable featured climbing to a great summit! Sugarloaf needs a summit register--it would be great to see the names of ascensionists on this fine formation.

The webbing and fixed cord at all the belays is in dire need of replacement. Had I known this I would have taken some with me to do some replacing. All the pieces of fixed cord/rope around the tree at the top of pitch 4 are all showing core threads. That giant steel ring on that belay is way cool. Feb 11, 2008
There may an old register in the archives at NMSU. Several persons worked on this climb, the four pitches prior to the link with Left Eye Brow (probably about 1976-77). They should be Edmund Ward, Glen Banks, Paul Seibert and Mark Motes. Mar 14, 2008
Very late report:
Did this a couple of yrs ago. 5.11 section is VERY short and right at the start. 5'5" person can do it if he/she can do the first 2 pitches. Upper pitches are easier but runout. “South Ridge Rap ~South” descent description is right on. Just make sure you go down the “exposed ridge line” then you’ll see those blots. Left our backpacks at the start and picked them up on our way down. May 10, 2016
Santa Fe, NM
Haj   Santa Fe, NM
Loved this route! Great backcountry granite climbing in a stunningly beautiful setting.

That said, in my view the route should be be given an R rating until all the in-route bolts are replaced. There are some new bolts on the route (bomber 3/4 Metolius) but there are also several spots where the now 40 year old, rusted 1/4" bolts are the only protection. This makes for some potentially very big and dangerous falls if those bolts where to sheer (likely given their age and condition). At this time, I wouldn't recommend this route for anyone not 100% solid on hard 5.10 slab and willing to risk a very long fall. If/when the bolts are replaced the route gets my enthusiastic 3 thumps up!

If anyone is up for the re-bolting job, an additional bolt at the top of pitch 7 would be a welcome improvement to the route as well. Also, I would be happy to support the effort with a contribution to the cost of new hardware. Message me here on Mountain Project if that's happening.

Another point of caution: pitches 5 and 6 can have a lot of loose rock especially after heavy rainfall. Take care on these pitches! Nov 14, 2016
K. Boyko
Las Cruces
  5.10+ PG13
K. Boyko   Las Cruces
  5.10+ PG13
Great route. Good rock. Awesome Summit.
Not time committing, bottom to top in 4.5 hours.
Just a heads up, nothing felt harder that 10+. But easier climbing can be pretty runout. Especially the beginning of pitch 4, which is only 5.8 if you climb 5.11...

Very easy to get lost getting back out to car, luckily I followed my dog out.
Plan accordingly. Dec 17, 2016
Logan Peterson
Santa Fe, NM
Logan Peterson   Santa Fe, NM
Did this route yesterday, and observed that a number (but not all) of the 1/4" bolts on the first 3 pitches have been backed-up with 3/8". Seems to me that each of the true cruxes on these pitches is protected with a 3/8" bolt, but it is still possible to take a big fall on a rusty 1/4" bolt if you blow other sections--or if you clip the old bolt in place of its new neighbor. Of particular interest, the bolt protecting the 10+/11- crux move at the start of P3 is now 3/8" stainless. Awesome route!!! Apr 16, 2018
Aaron Miller
Santa Fe, NM
Aaron Miller   Santa Fe, NM
A few notes:
The first pitch starts by heading right along a seam/ledge, then at the piton, head back left through bolts, and at the last bolt (now all bolts replaced) it heads back right to anchor, completing the inverted "Z".
The second pitch heads right from belay before going up.
The third pitch really heads straight up, not much wandering around.
Fourth pitch has some small but good gear that back up the loose piton.
Had a super fun time on it, lots of quality climbing, even after the crux pitches
All of the original pitons are suspect, at best, in my opinion. However, most of them can be backed up with reasonable gear. Having at least one full set of C3s will allow you to do this. Apr 19, 2018