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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,S 
Knight's Move T 
Lone Piton T 
Pawn's Promotion T 
Punch In The Nose T 
Queen's Gambit T 
Ring Leader T 
Ring Route T 
Sotol Roof T 
Worth the Effort T 
Unsorted Routes:

Checkerboard Wall  

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 32.4584, -106.7823 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 17,798
Administrators: Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB, Marta Reece, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Aaron Hobson on Feb 26, 2006  with updates from Bill Lawry
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BETA PHOTO: Road (red) and trail (pink) approach to Checkerboa...


A huge east facing wall, around 500' at its highest point, and more than 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 

To get to Jornada Road from Hwy 70 take Sonoma Ranch exit and go north on Sonoma Ranch road. Make a right onto Peachtree Hills when pavement straight ahead ends. There will be a school on your left. Turn left onto Jornada Road at the next intersection. Go past another school after which pavement ends. The road remains graded.

3.2 miles north of the school on Jornada Road look for a pipeline crossing the road at a shallow angle. It will show up first as a row of small signs on your right side, then more signs and a vegetation-free trace on your left. Next watch for a brown "Chihuahua Nature Park 2 miles" sign on the right. On top of the fourth hump after that, you will see a dirt road going off to your left. It's best not to take it, it's quite sandy, but look very closely for a second road to the left very soon after (well before the next hump).

Follow this road to its end going straight where it crosses the power line road. A short, steep uphill precedes the parking area at its end. This is about 2 miles west of Jornada Road at the foot of a small hill. Most of these 2 miles are on a remarkably good road, but high clearance is required in a few spots. Four wheel drive is not necessary.

A well-used climbers' trail goes up and left of this hill and then to the base of the wall. It takes about 15 minutes of hiking. The trail ends at the base of Cross-trainer (which is also used as the rap route for most routes). Minor bushwhacking or scrambling may be needed for some of the other climbs.

Climbing Season

Weather station 9.8 miles from here

14 Total Routes

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

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Checkerboard Wall:
Cross-trainer   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, Sport, 4 pitches, 600'   
Pawn's Promotion   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 4 pitches, 500'   
Lone Piton   5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c     Trad, 3 pitches, 400'   
Punch In The Nose   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 4 pitches, 350'   
Knight's Move   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 350'   
King Me   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, Sport, 4 pitches, 500'   
Checkmate   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Sport, 150'   
Browse More Classics in Checkerboard Wall

Featured Route For Checkerboard Wall
Robert Machina after the crux. The OW resolves int...

Green Thumb 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b  NM : Las Cruces Area Climbing : ... : Checkerboard Wall
This is another Un-named route that I have dubbed. It is on several old topos for the Checkerboard as one of the more prominent first pitch variations. What makes it nice is that it is easy to recognize, and offers a fixed anchor midway up tha wall. It also has good rock (except for the start which is flaky), fun moves, and a beautiful and easy off-width portion. The crux move is getting into the offwidth.The climb follows the wide crack and traverses right under a roof or two. After one such tr...[more]   Browse More Classics in NM

Photos of Checkerboard Wall Slideshow Add Photo
Some of the routes on Checkerboard. Photo Nate Mye...
BETA PHOTO: Some of the routes on Checkerboard. Photo Nate Mye...
Checkerboard from the trail.
Checkerboard from the trail.
The Checkerboard Wall from the approach.
The Checkerboard Wall from the approach.
Checkerboard. Historical Southwestern Mountaineers...
BETA PHOTO: Checkerboard. Historical Southwestern Mountaineers...
Checkerboard on the right.
Checkerboard on the right.
The more featured, and steeper, left end of Checke...
The more featured, and steeper, left end of Checke...
Checkerboard in the center.
Checkerboard in the center.
The start of Cross Trainer.
The start of Cross Trainer.

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 ( mountainproject.com/v/10767479... ). 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.
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