OverviewThe Checkerboard Wall is a huge east facing wall, around 500' at its highest point, and more than twice as wide. There are many enticing vertical and horizontal crack systems that give the wall its checkered appearance, but Cross Trainer is the most recognizable route - simply because it's the only one bolted from bottom to top.
Getting ThereFrom I-25 in Las Cruces, take US Hwy 70 East for about 3.5 miles. Take the Mesa Grande exit and use the far left (U-turn) lane. Make the U-turn underneath the highway and head West on the frontage road. Turn right on N. Jornada Rd after about 0.75 miles. Follow Jornada (from asphalt to grated gravel) until you reach a barbed wire fence with a dirt road heading West on the South side of the fence. Take the dirt road West. High clearance is not required, but there will be a few interesting sections (my Element did just fine). Follow the road until it reaches the power line road, and turn right. This road is a bit rougher. Continue North until you see an old concrete structure on the left. Turn left at the next dirt road (the Checkerboard Wall is pretty much on your left at this point) and follow it to a small parking area. A well used climbers trail guides you to the base of the cliff and takes about 20m to hike.
Route DescriptionCross Trainer is a multipitch sport route but can also be lead with traditional gear. Rock quality of good with a few small hollow flakes and edges. Be sure to smack the holds before committing to them.
The route has seven belay stations equipped with chains. For best results, combine the first two pitches and the second two. Then climb the short pitch to the fifth belay station and stop there. Take the fourth pitch all the way to the top, skipping the sixth, terribly placed, belay.
The worst thing about this climb is the bolt and belay chain placements. Most of the anchors are placed BELOW the belay ledges and several of the bolts meander for no apparent reason (use slings to reduce rope drag on the second pitch (3rd and 4th if using every belay)). The belay chains are also too short and make very shallow angles from the bolts. Be careful at the belays! Bring a cordalette and build your anchor off the bolts - don't use the chains.
This route climbs roughly straight up the middle of the Checkerboard wall. To find the base of the climb look for a large cairn supporting a dead yucca stalk. The base of the route is in a bushy alcove.