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Science Friction (to Left Eyebrow) 

YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b

Type:  Trad, 9 pitches, 800', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.11 French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E4 5c [details]
FA: Edmund Ward, Glen Banks, Paul Seibert and Mark Motes, 1976/1977.
Page Views: 5,049
Submitted By: George Perkins on Feb 11, 2008

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Cleverly drilled Cassin lost arrow with 1/4" ...


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.

Some, but not all, 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 1/4" 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.

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, passing a large dead tree, to a belay in 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 (5.6).

Pitch 8. 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 flake below a right-facing corner. Belay here, with pro in the crack in the corner above. Quality. (5.6, maybe 5.7?) These last two pitches can be combined (barely) with a 60m rope.

Pitch 9. Summit pitch. Go straight up the featured corner above and continue to follow crack systems generally straight up. After about 180', you'll reach grassy ledges below the summit. (5.5) Belay here, and 3rd class another 200' to the summit.

Descent See the Sugarloaf main page. 2 ropes recommended (but not absolutely mandatory) for the rappels.


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". Double ropes are recommended, but not mandatory, due to traversing nature of some pitches (and having 2 ropes simplifies the descent).

Photos of Science Friction (to Left Eyebrow) Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Wyatt launching out into the 2nd pitch
Wyatt launching out into the 2nd pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Mark Motes on the first pitch of Science Friction ...
Mark Motes on the first pitch of Science Friction ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Same old bolt hanger and same sling, 4 years later...
Same old bolt hanger and same sling, 4 years later...
Rock Climbing Photo: The view from the belay at the top of pitch 3 is p...
The view from the belay at the top of pitch 3 is p...
Rock Climbing Photo: When you reach this cool tree, you're near the sta...
When you reach this cool tree, you're near the sta...
Rock Climbing Photo: 1st pitch, right before sprinkle.  Swapped lead, s...
1st pitch, right before sprinkle. Swapped lead, s...
Rock Climbing Photo: At the top, looking North.
At the top, looking North.
Rock Climbing Photo: Near the end
Near the end
Rock Climbing Photo: The moves stepping up to the second bolt here are ...
The moves stepping up to the second bolt here are ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Surveying the rest of the second pitch after clipp...
Surveying the rest of the second pitch after clipp...

Comments on Science Friction (to Left Eyebrow) Add Comment
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By Jason Halladay
From: Los Alamos, NM
Feb 11, 2008
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b

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.
By Karl Kiser
Mar 14, 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.
By ForeverStuckat5.11 Yama
May 10, 2016
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b

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.
By Haj
From: Santa Fe, NM
Nov 14, 2016

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!
By K. Boyko
From: Where the dog is
Dec 17, 2016
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b 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.

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