3rd Pitch (crux)
is one of the higher quality obscure routes found in Red Rock.
It is located on the north side of Magic Mountain
out of Pine Creek Canyon. Community Pillar
and Honeycomb Chimney
(5.8’s) are the more common climbs in the area. But another good 5.10+ route near Chocolate Flakes is Edge of the Sun
. These two routes combined make for a stellar day of shaded climbing at Red Rock, although I have climbed both comfortably in January as well. Chocolate Flakes was discovered in 1985 and freed the same year. It is just meters to the right of the arête which is one of the more exceptional bolted routes at Red Rock, Saucerful of Secrets (5.11d).
The first two pitches are the shared approach pitches for four different routes. The first pitch is uneventful. The second pitch runs up a delicate (for pro) whitish flake at 5.9
. You then reach a large ledge below the four routes and Chocolate Flakes’ fixed belay is visible from below, up and left to the right of the impressive arête (Saucerful of Secrets). Cartwright Corner (5.10b) goes far left and Dark and Long (5.11c) goes straight up (on the right side of the other three routes). The third pitch of Chocolate is the crux of the route via tips lay back protected by small cams in a varnished right facing corner. The fourth pitch is just as interesting, adding in a short bit of off-width. I would not hesitate to combine these two pitches.
Park at Pine Creek trail head. Head for Mescalito on the main trail heading west. When you get to the large trail junction right in front of Mescalito, turn left and cross the wash and then turn left on the other side on a well-traveled trail. Fairly immediate, head up the hill via not much of a trail to the base of the huge alcove on the right side of Magic Mountain.
Route DescriptionChocolate Flakes, 450’+/-, 5.10d
1st Pitch- 110’- 5.8/
Four routes share these first two pitches. Once at the base of the deep cleft in the right side of Magic Mountain, scramble up to the small alcove on the right side. Climb up the right side of this alcove via a small corner with a featured right hand face. Continue following the crack line until it makes sense to traverse left onto a large ledge, passing a fixed rap.
2nd Pitch- 200’- 5.9/
From the ledge, move straight up the gully and locate a left facing varnished wall with a white flake leading to a significant roof. Climb the delicate flake (due to poor rock quality, perhaps crux of the route) which also offers the only pro until you get below the roof. The top of the flake feels a little more secure than the side of it, but until you are through the roof, the pro is suspect. Squeeze through the roof (C4#5 could protect here but is still just marginal pro due to rock quality) onto much better rock above. There is a mid-pitch fixed rap once you pull through the roof. Continue to yet another large ledge via fun moves and good rock. Make a left traverse at some point near the top. Pass the fix rap and belay on small gear off the comfortable ledge.
3rd Pitch- 80’- 5.10d/
If you brought enough slings and gear to combine these final two pitches, the experience will make for one of the finer 5.10 trad leads in Red Rock. There are four routes off this ledge. Chocolate Flakes’ anchor can be seen from the ledge up and left. Head up easy ground to the large left facing corner. By most standards, this pitch would be considered soft for 5.10d. You place finger sized and micro cams at will with relatively easy lay back moves (several rests). The crux is at a horn for your hands and a long reach to get fingers back in vs tips. I faced left (the horn) and found small edges for my feet to gain the length I needed to reach those fingers, then did a 180 to a quick lay back move that pulls through the crux. The last few meters are protected with C4#.3’s and essentially involves another, easy for the grade, layback move to reach the chains.
4th Pitch- 90’- 5.10a/
Continue up the corner dealing with some fragile rock on the large flake above. On top of the flake is a short section of off-width. Chicken wing technique makes this section easy despite the run out. The crux of this pitch might be a move at the grade once you are back into a thin corner above the off-width. The right wall is well featured and the angle is slightly more laid back than the previous pitch.
Rap the route. A single 70m rope makes five fixed raps
. Two single raps are required to get down pitch 2. As of 2015, there was no mention of this, but obviously the anchors have been retro-bolted for a single rope (guide book infers double ropes are needed). All stations were in good order as of 2015.
70m rope (60m might be a little short on the first pitch rap), single rack from micro cams to C4#3. Double from C4#.3 to #1. A few offset cams and/or single set of off-set nuts. If combining pitches 3 and 4, add a few more small to medium pieces.
Helmets are a good idea as the belayer can be exposed to loose rock at the top of the 3rd pitch. I climbed Chocolate Flakes in January and used a puffy for the belays.