|Middle Rabbit Ear
The description below, found in NMSU archives, was created by the legendary Southwest Mountaineers. It is at a minimum twenty years old, but likely dates as far back as 1970ís. The rock itself may have changed since that time. The rating system certainly has. You will want to add at least a point to it. For comparison, the Normal Route, considered by many to be seriously sandbagged at 5.6, is listed in the same document as 5.5, the West Face as 5.6. So please treat what follows as a rough guide to an adventure, not as a solid and current info. If you do climb the route, sharing of what you learn would be appreciated.
"This spectacular route goes up the NW Face in the gigantic open book below and to the right of the Church Key. From the NRE-MRE saddle climb third class to the top of a mossy rocked shoulder. Rope up and climb either the vertical chimney straight ahead or the steep rock to its left. Soon free climbing peters out. Place a pendulum pin as high as possible and pendulum right into the crack below an overhanging step, around and behind with you force your way. Then up a great ramp to the Second Overhang, where the Church Key itself abuts on the vertical North Face. Go far back into this great chimney and climb out through some holes above. Then friction climb the extensive ramp which forms the west side of the Church Key to level ground. A short easy chimney leads to the summit.
"A variation (Harry Earle and Bernard Topp) is to traverse across the sheer North Face at the level of the shoulder on the West Face route (next route), then rappel into the great open book above the First Overhang, and below the Second Overhang. Finish as above. (The West Face was reached by an easy traverse from the large mossy shoulder.)"
Approach up Rabbit Ears Canyon
Protection described only as "class 5.7 (?) and aid" with not even the rating apparently being well known.