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Checkerboard Wall

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Checkmate T,S 
Circus Finish T 
Cross-trainer T,S 
Green Thumb T 
King Me T 
Knight's Move T 
Lone Piton T 
Opening Moves T 
Pawn's Promotion T 
Punch In The Nose T 
Queen's Gambit T 
Red Squares T 
Ring Leader T 
Ring Route T 
Sotol Roof T 
Worth the Effort T 

Checkerboard Wall Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 32.4584, -106.7823 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 12,101
Administrators: Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Aaron Hobson on Feb 26, 2006  with updates from Bill Lawry

86° | 66°

87° | 67°

87° | 67°

83° | 67°

84° | 68°

87° | 70°
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Best climbs for YOU in this area
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A huge east facing wall, over 500' at its highest point and almost twice as wide. There are many enticing crack systems which give the wall its checkered appearance. Several large boulders litter the valley below and offer many challenges of their own. You can follow one of the listed routes up this immense face, you can design your own variations connecting different crack systems, or simply choose a line and have at it.

Getting There 

Zero your odometer where N Jornada Rd meets the Bataan Memorial Highway (Hwy 70). Drive north on Jornada for ~4.89 miles. Skip the dirt road on the left and drive another 0.07 miles and turn left. Drive less than a mile to the road's end. Along the way you'll pass beneath some power lines. This last part does not need four wheel drive but high clearance is required in a few spots.

A well-used climbers' trail heads north of the end of the road, and then snakes west / north to the base of the wall. It takes about 30 minutes of hiking.

The trail ends at the base of Cross-trainer. Minor bushwhacking or scrambling is needed for some of the other climbs.

Cross-trainer can be rapped after summiting. The walk-off down the south end of the wall is easy but long with a need to come back up and is not recommended.

Climbing Season

Weather station 9.8 miles from here

16 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',3],['2 Stars',9],['1 Star',4],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Checkerboard Wall

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Checkerboard Wall:
Pawn's Promotion   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 4 pitches, 500'   
Cross-trainer   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, Sport, 4 pitches, 600'   
Red Squares   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 3 pitches, 350'   
Knight's Move   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 4 pitches, 450'   
King Me   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13     Trad, 5 pitches, 500'   
Lone Piton   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 3 pitches, 400'   
Punch In The Nose   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 4 pitches, 350'   
Queen's Gambit   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     Trad, 5 pitches, 450'   
Checkmate   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Sport, 150'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Checkerboard Wall

Featured Route For Checkerboard Wall
Rock Climbing Photo: Opening Moves. Photo Elijah Schold.

Opening Moves 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b  New Mexico : Las Cruces Area Climbing : ... : Checkerboard Wall
Rock is fairly clean, climbing sustained at the grade, particularly on the first pitch, and the route is easy to follow and protectable throughout. The route has certainly been climbed, but I have not been able to find it on any topo or get any information about it. Pitch 1: (5.6, 110 ft) Go up the right half if the distinct buttress on the left/south end of the Checkerboard. Take the slabby surface up to a ledge. Follow the ledge a short distance left to a chimney. The chimney can be climbed on...[more]   Browse More Classics in New Mexico

Photos of Checkerboard Wall Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The more featured, and steeper, left end of Checke...
The more featured, and steeper, left end of Checke...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Checkerboard Wall from the approach.
The Checkerboard Wall from the approach.
Rock Climbing Photo: Checkerboard. Historical Southwestern Mountaineers...
BETA PHOTO: Checkerboard. Historical Southwestern Mountaineers...
Rock Climbing Photo: Road (red) and trail (pink) approach to Checkerboa...
BETA PHOTO: Road (red) and trail (pink) approach to Checkerboa...
Rock Climbing Photo: Checkerboard in the center.
Checkerboard in the center.
Rock Climbing Photo: Checkerboard on the right.
Checkerboard on the right.
Rock Climbing Photo: October
Rock Climbing Photo: Checkerboard from the trail.
Checkerboard from the trail.
Rock Climbing Photo: Some of the routes on Checkerboard. Photo Nate Mye...
BETA PHOTO: Some of the routes on Checkerboard. Photo Nate Mye...

Comments on Checkerboard Wall Add Comment
Show which comments
By Aaron Hobson
From: Clinton, TN
Feb 28, 2006
I have given one of the "un-named" routes on this wall my own name, to make referenceing easier. There are many lines on the Checkerboard wall that are named "un-named" on topos that I have acquired. For the purposes of this site I have given names to routes after climbing them and posting information about them. If you know of other names I'd love to hear about them.

Also, the variations on Checkerboard criss-cross quite a bit. I'm trying to decide on the best way to capture this. For now, I'll just post stuff however it occurs to me, but this section can be reorganized fairly easily. I'm open to suggestions/comments/ideas.
By cuclimbing
From: Las Cruces
Mar 25, 2008
Once you get to the summit of Checkerboard, follow the saddle north to the next, higher summit. You can find a little Ginkgo Biloba bottle with a summit log in the rock pile. (I'll try to put a summit log by checkerboard next time I'm up.) There are also some awesome 100-200 ft pitches on the west side of the second summit, check it out it's worth the time.
By Reed Cundiff
Sep 16, 2009
One of the better routes was named "Wally's Folly" after Wally Houseman who was happily belaying the leader on one of the ledges around 1970 when he realized there was a loud buzzing between his feet. He got struck on his boot heel by a a moderately large rattler. Fortunately, he was wearing heavy mountain boots which probably gave the snake a headache and bent fangs. He did a bit of dancing on the ledge but maintained his belay.
By Aaron Hobson
From: Clinton, TN
Dec 13, 2009
Reed, do you remember which route this was?
By Karl Kiser
Jan 1, 2013
The central portion of Checkerboard has been extensively climbed since the late 1960s. Refer to B (Wally's Folly or Green Thumb?) through D (Punch in the Nose) on the old Southwestern Mountaineers topo ( ). There were two climbs in the C portion of the topo. First was the face as shown and the second climbed the chimneys to the right (Miserable Chimneys, not to be confused with the original Miserable Chimneys on NRE below Pea Pod).

Most of the obvious weaknesses, even the unprotected sections, in a moderate range (5.8 and below) have been climbed. Usually one would climb two or three pitches and then belay on the larger "Lunch Ledge" portion of the face. Then one would choose a finish (Circus left, Standard center, Punch right). One might need to add a traverse pitch to position the belay under the chosen finish.

It would be useful if someone climbing in Cruces at present would add a photo and lines of climbs for this portion of Checkerboard.
By Taylor J
From: new mexico, new england
Mar 25, 2013
Climbing-wise it's a fun wall. Not too much sustained climbing for any of the grades and the beta here is pretty terrible. Pretty much just winging it while up there, but have fun with it. Mountain Project, the Falcon Guide, and some topos I found all say different things and different grades. Some climbs are over bolted like crazy and some of the anchors are in weird spots. Not that they don't work, but with some thought the placement could have been much better. Most can be lead on gear.
By Ted Waruszewski
From: Albuquerque, NM
Apr 17, 2017
Hope I'm posting some relevant information for you all, and it is possible that some of the locals know about this: I saw some Africanized Honeybees,commonly known as killer bees, while camping in front of this wall about six days ago. My party accidentally left a half full bottle of water out without its cap off that attracted them. It also trapped them in it and that agitated the crap out of them. Within minutes we had 200-300 bees all around our camp site. We spend the afternoon in the camper and left when it was cool out. We are unaware as to where the nest is and it could be in any of those rocks. The bees are darker in color than a typical honeybee, almost grey in color. Bee carefull out there!
Rock Climbing Photo: Africanized honeybee
Africanized honeybee
By Drew Chojnowski
From: Las Cruces, NM
Apr 21, 2017
Hi Ted.
Where *exactly* were you camping (photo would help), so that we can stay clear of that area? Fortunately, I think we can rule out the vicinity of Cross Trainer as a possible hive location, since it was climbed Tues. and Wed. of this week without major issues. I did get harassed by a few times on Tues. by individual bees, one of which I think must be an Africanized type. It was darker color and pretty aggressive.

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