From the Pine Creek parking lot, follow the trail into Pine Creek Canyon. When the canyon forks, take the right (north) fork. The trail becomes faint and braided at this point, but the best route is to head uphill about 100 feet, then go left (west), contouring along the right hillside of this drainage about 600 yards on one of the many trails that lead to the large, varnished, north face of the Mescalito.
This route was first climbed by a crowd in 1973. It is one of the best 5.8 climbs at Red Rocks. The climb goes all the way to the top of Mescalito for 14 long pitches, but these days,most people just climb the first four. If you would like to climb the whole route, make sure you know the way down. In early years, this 14 pitch climb was one of the Classics of the area, but due to the adventurous descent, people now climb only the first four pitches. The complete 14 pitch climb is highly recommended as good climbing continues all the way to the summit.
Start on the flat boulder atop a small waterfall at the right edge of a pool, and below a huge, black dihedral system capped by a giant roof.
P1-Face climb up and right past two bolts to a left leaning ramp that leads to the base of a varnished corner. Two bolt belay anchor, 75 feet, 5.5. You can also climb the face about 30-40 feet left of the corner. Somewhat sparsely protected 5.10 A face climbing gets you to the same belay ledge and bolts (see the primary photo here).
P2-Climb the clean, varnished, right facing corner above, moving left to a belay ledge and bolts. 75 feet, 5.7
P3-Stem up the beautiful dihedral to a ledge, 120 feet, 5.7
P4-Climb the right curving crack in the right wall to another tweo bolt belay under the giant roof, 75 feet, 5.8.
Rappel the route in three rappels, using two 50 meter ropes.
If you want to continue, climb straight up over the roof (5.8), follow the prow of the buttress for ten more pitches (5.7-5.8) to the top of the formation.
Facing up just bellow the end of the last pitch, walk to the right over ledges, for a few hundred yards to almost the end of the ridge, where in 1980s, series of rappels off trees (50 meter ropes), fixed gear and scrambling down some chimneys, put you back to the top of the Mescalito Gully. The rap route that Fossana describes ( in additions and corrections) might be the new version of the old descent route. I don't remember any rap bolts there all those years ago, but the location as described by her seems very similar to the "old" down route.
Before attempting the complete 14 pitch route, please familiarize yourself about the descent. I thoroughly enjoyed climbing the complete route in 1987. Quality Route.
For the complete Dark Shadows Route bring set of SLCDs, set of Wires and many slings. 2 x 50 meter ropes are needed to get off the top of the 4th pitch as well as rapping after climbing the complete buttress (14 pitches).
If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.