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Red Squares

5.7, Trad, 350 ft, 3 pitches,  Avg: 2 from 3 votes
FA: unknown
New Mexico > Las Cruces Area… > Dona Ana Mountains > Checkerboard Wall

Description

Pitch 1: (5.7, 90ft) Go up the leftmost buttress following a straight and distinct left-facing corner (the leftmost crack system going up the buttress proper). The pitch, while moving past several narrow ledges, will go up at a fairly constant upward angle. You should build your belay at a large horizontal crack when you see the angle ease up significantly above. The ledge here is wider, but you can still see your second down below.

Pitch 2: (5.6, 130 ft) Continue up the bulge of the buttress staying basically on the ridge line up to a steep head wall. Make your way around to wall on the right, walk cross a wide, right sloping shelf, and continue up the easy slab on the other side to a ledge below (or even above) a clump of yuccas. (Ending Pitch 2 on the large shelf while inviting is not recommended if you intend to climb Pitch 3, as having the ropes go around the yuccas would cause an unreasonable amount of rope drag for the slabby end of that pitch.)

Pitch 3: (5.7, 130 ft) Once up past the yuccas and the few boulders above them take the right-facing corner on your left. (The left facing one on the right goes too, but it's both harder climbing and less protectable one higher up in it.) Step up into the narrowing end of the corner(s) and you should be able to reach up past the vegetation on your right to protect the transition onto the ramp on the right. Go up the ramp for a few feet and then traverse right on the wide ledge into which it turns until above you you rind a short, left-facing corner with a good crack in it. From there go up within the reddish streak. Protection, while sparse, continues to be adequate. Belay at the top of the slab from the boulders there.

From the top of Pitch 3 walk over to the rap bolts on top of a large boulder in an alcove about 50 feet to your left.

Location

Follow the bottom of Checkerboard left from the end of trail to the last buttress. The rap is best done with two 70m ropes. This will take you to a ledge from which you can scramble down the rest of the way. Two 60m ropes are only good for getting down to the broad shelf, but this can be walked to the left end of the wall and scrambled down, as described under Opening Moves. I have not rapped down with a single rope, but it is probably possible to do. I would attempt to use a pinch on the boulders above the yuccas on the start of Pitch 3.

Protection

I have done it with a double rack for mid sizes and singles in small cams (0.1 and 0.2) and #4, and a set of nuts. A bit less is probably okay. The #4, while I did use it repeatedly, was not required. I did use a blue tricam in a small hueco on the slab of Pitch 3.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Start of the route. Photo Jessica Jelacic.
[Hide Photo] Start of the route. Photo Jessica Jelacic.
The "yuccas" at start of Pitch 3. It works to do Pitch 3 from anywhere directly below these, including from the main ramp, as long as the ropes do not go from the left of the plants (as they do in this photo).
[Hide Photo] The "yuccas" at start of Pitch 3. It works to do Pitch 3 from anywhere directly below these, including from the main ramp, as long as the ropes do not go from the left of the plants (as they do in…
First half of Pitch 2. Photo Elijah Schold.
[Hide Photo] First half of Pitch 2. Photo Elijah Schold.
Upper half of Pitch 3. Photo Marc Tarnosky.
[Hide Photo] Upper half of Pitch 3. Photo Marc Tarnosky.
The right-facing corner at the beginning of Pitch 3. Photo Marc Tarnosky.
[Hide Photo] The right-facing corner at the beginning of Pitch 3. Photo Marc Tarnosky.
Yuccas at the beginning of Pitch 3. Photo Marc Tarnosky.
[Hide Photo] Yuccas at the beginning of Pitch 3. Photo Marc Tarnosky.