Pitch 1: 5.5 55m
Face climb through intermitent while tending right towards a ledge in the dihedral. Belay at about 55 meters.
Pitch 2: 5.6-5.7
Face climb for another 50 meters to a ledge 30' below a small overhang. Make your own belay on the ledge, or use a bolted hanging belay.
Pitch 3: 5.7 40 m
Angle right to a double crack in a dihedral. Follow the cracks up to a good belay ledge
Pitch 4: 5.4 35m
Follow dihedral to a good stance directly below the Flea Tree.
Pitch 5: 5.5 20m
Follow the dihedral to it's end, then cross the face to the Flea Tree.
Alternate: Go left out onto the face from the belay and sling chickenheads fro pro and then straight up to the Flea Tree. Not sure on rating.
Pitch 6: 5.5 65m
Climb up and over a right facing dihedral and begin traversing left towards the summit. Placing pro early leads to lots of rope drag and potentially adds a pitch.
If the Sugarloaf were a shark jumping out of the water, the Flea Tree Route would start on the right side of the eye. The Flea Tree itself can easily be identified during approach as the only tree visible on the right side of the face near the top.
Approach as the North Face and continue along the base of Sugarloaf until you reach a small saddle. From here scramble up to a tree. If you reach the Flea Tree Dihedral (a really large right facing dihedral that takes off from the ground) you've gone just a touch too far. Turn around and you can walk right up to the tree at the beginning of the Flea Tree Route. It will likel have a couple of slings wrapped around it to protect past belayers.
Standard rack: This climb will pretty much take any gear you take. Cams up to #3.4 if you like, but you can protect it all on small nuts too. Lots of slings as you'll be stretching your rope for a couple of pitches.
|By Marta Reece|
From: Las Cruces, NM
Nov 4, 2013
At five pitches Flea Tree is relatively short. It is protectable throughout, route finding is straightforward, and the 5.7 rating is not really sandbagged. There are some loose rocks on the bottom half of the route, occasionally sizeable ones. They can be avoided, but if you'd put your packs behind the tree and trundle some stuff, that would be good.
Approach: from Left Eyebrow go up past the Eye of Sugarloaf and continue up going close to the rock. You will come to a small saddle between a tree and the skirt of Sugarloaf. The route starts here.
Orientation: from where you stand, locate the Flea Tree. To the right of it a row of small bushes marks the top of the dihedral you will be climbing. As you trace that line down, it will become a clearly visible crack and toward the bottom a dihedral with a pair of cracks in it making a narrow, inverted V. The V will become better visible as you get closer and will serve as a landmark.
Pitches 1 and 2, 5.5 - 5.6, 350 ft total. Go up the wide apron to the bottom of the dihedral. The terrain is made up of flakes few inches thick, making up disorganized, right-facing corners. The climbing is easy and you may want to scramble partway up, but even if you do, it will still take two pitches to reach the dihedral. At the top of the second pitch, head to a point some 30 feet to the left of the dihedral, then traverse right on an easy ledge.
If you look to your right, past where the ledge is cut by a deep groove and some ten feet below, you will see two old bolts, one of them with a hook hanger.
Pitches 3 and 4, 5.7, 300 ft total. Go up the dihedral to its top, then face climb to the Flea Tree. This section of the climb is distinctly steeper, and there is a balancy move or two on the face climb, particularly if you are short.
Pitch 5, 5.5, 200 ft. Go up along the right facing corner above the Flea Tree for a bit, then climb on top of it. Slant to the left over chicken heads for the rest of the full-rope pitch to a place within an easy reach of the summit.