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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: 18,529
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 

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 although, with care in route finding, the walk-off down the south end of the wall is pretty easy and quick.

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
Mike Edmonds at the crux of the third pitch.

Ring Leader 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b  NM : Las Cruces Area Climbing : ... : Checkerboard Wall
A previously un-named route that leads up the left-central side of the CheckerBoard wall. This route can be done in 3-4 pitches. It begins on the left side of a huge buttress that roughly splits the cliff into two halves. The left side of this buttress has a huge roof which provides an unmistakable landmark.Scramble up a thorny gully on the left of the buttress to a small grassy ledge beneath a clean slab. Pitch 1: climb the crack system on the left side of the slab. Belay at a ledge beneath a l...[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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