Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 36.12333°N / 115.49389°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
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4th Pitch Dow leading Deep Space

The East Face of Mescalito at Red Rocks often gets overlooked for more popular destinations on the small pinnacle of a mountain like Dark Shadows Wall to the right and Mescalito’s south face to the left. But the lack of attention for the east face is not for a lack of published routes: 22 as of 2009. Y2K , 4 pitches at 5.10a is no doubt the most popular of the east face routes. The remainder are relatively obscure lines by Red Rocks standards. And for good reason really; the routes are not that long, many being from two to three pitches, and the rock not that good on the east face of Mescalito. Only the northeast buttress routes, Deep Space and Centerfold, can reach the summit and neither receive accolades from Handren.  

Y2K, 5.10a Dow leading Y2K

The east face is by far the warmest of the three faces to climb on Mescalito. Dark Shadows Wall represents quite the enclosed north face and the south face gets a lot of sun blocked out from nearby Juniper and Rainbow Peaks. Park at the Pine Creek trailhead off of the Red Rocks loop road. In the spring and fall, on weekends, you will find an array of tourists hiking this section of Pine Creek Canyon. Hike down the trail along the creek, past the old homestead and into the wash as it heads for Mescalito. To reach Y2K which represents the north side of the east face, look for a rather indistinct trail off to the left and up from the bottom of the wash. To avoid bushwhacking, wait until you have identified the route and are basically underneath it before ascending the bushy slope to the base of the rock. This goes for pretty much all the routes. A trail does circumvent the east face, but quite a ways down from the base of the peak.  

Routes Listed Left to Right as you Face the Wall

  • The Wasp- 300'- 5.10/ The start of the first pitch is on rotten sandstone: a short vertical finger crack at the bottom of the massive 300’ corner. The rock was poor enough that I found no need to even try and protect this section and ran it out to the awkward mantel out of the finger portion. From there the rock continues to improve all the way to the top. I had a single to C4#3 with no #4’s or #5’s and therefore belayed in a cave that makes the “hole” discussed at The hole is not so much a hole as a short off width roof/bulge you need to pull at about 100’ up. If I led it again, I would take a few more larger pieces and make the first pitch to the fixed belay (not rap) on the wall out right which is well above the exposed crux off width section (cave). Either way you can still make the top in just two pitches and a #3 does protect the start of the off width move out of the cave. The true crux of the route is a roof above this off width. Small gear in the under cling protects the pull which offers one hand jam but then opens up to a wide pod making this the technical crux move of the route. If you are leading you will want to stay with the crack vs the face out right which makes the pull as physical as the off width below. From there it eases way up all the way to the top of this southeast shoulder on Mescalito, just meters from Cat in the Hat which you rap. Dow
  • Black Widow Hollow- 400’- 5.9+/ Black Widow Hollow is actually quite dated compared to other routes on Mescalito’s East Face. Joe Herbst and Mark Moore put it in during 1976. The first pitch involves easy 5.7 climbing that lands you on a comfortable belay ledge directly below the 200’+ chimney. Handren puts the 2nd pitch at 210’ and it is more like 220’, but it is easy to add 20’ to the 3rd pitch and still make this a 3 pitch route with comfortable belays. There is a big ledge within the chimney itself 20’ or so down from the top of it. The rope drag is so severe towards the top of the chimney that it makes much more sense to climb Black Widow Hollow this way versus topping out on the chimney for a belay which would require simul-climbing with 60m ropes. As with any deeper chimney, it is hard to protect the 2nd pitch safely. At times you will need to squeeze in, place pro, use an extended sling and climb back out, knowing that any fall will more than likely result into a slam back into the chimney. Dow
  • Pauline’s Pentacle- 230’- 5.10a/
  • Cookie Monster- 340’- 5.7/
  • Walker Spur- 350'-5.10b/ Walker Spur was established by John Long and Lynn Hill in 1981. Why it has not seen more attention than it has, in comparison to some of the other routes nearby, I cannot say. The first pitch does have the crux move or two immediately above a potential ankle busting ledge. A well placed nut however protects the moves relatively well. There is also an old piton (2012) at basically the same spot that needs to be knocked out or reset. Once above this shallow corner, the first pitch finished on mostly a solid hand and/or fingers crack to a comfortable belay. The second pitch is one of the finer 5.9 pitches in all of Red Rock. Although the last 2/3rds of it are closer to 5.8 hand crack climbing, the airy arête and eventual roof pull at the beginning made for a stellar overall pitch on excellent rock. The last pitch is sort of your typical Red Rock 5.7 low angle finish which reaches a broad shoulder intertwined with Cat in the Hat. After a brief down climb to reach the first accessible rap station, you can rap down Cat in the Hat with three quick single rope raps. Dow
  • Pine Nuts- 235’- 5.10a/
  • When a Stranger Calls- 350’- 5.9/
  • Crunchy Cat- 150’- 5.8/
  • C11 H17N03- 535’- 5.7/
  • Mescalito Regular Route- 1100’- 5.7/
  • This Ain’t No Disco- 140’- 5.10a/
  • Welcome to Red Rocks- 150’- 5.12b/
  • Pauligk Pillar- 270’- 5.7/
  • Y2K- 515’- 5.10a/  It definitely felt below the grade of 5.9 and was rather anti-climactic. The rope snag opportunity on the first of three double rope rappels on descent makes this route barely worth visiting. However, if one is looking for their first 5.10a trad experience at Red Rocks, there could not be an easier objective. The first pitch has the only 5.10a moves on it and they are short lived, involving a well protected (bolt) roof mantle. The second pitch (5.8) is almost a full 200’ and will involve some run-out to avoid tremendous rope drag. The third pitch is an easy traverse into the corner which was supposed to be the crux of the route. However, I led the final pitch and found it quite easy at the grade (5.9). I also did not find the need for any RP’s as Handren suggested in his guide book. A #.75 cam along with a small nut or two easily protects the final steep section with plenty of protection prior. Dow
  • Too Many Tantrums- 200’- 5.7/
  • Splitting Hares- 225’- 5.9/ Splitting Hares is a worthwhile route for the budding 5.9 trad climber.  The first pitch is rated 5.7 and offers some cool stemming and crack climbing through a roof at the grade to a sloping ledge gear belay below and left of the first fixed anchor on Next Century (your rap).  The second pitch starts out in an excellent shallow corner/flake with good pro at the grade and then easier climbing through face and intermittent cracks to a significant roof.  Protect the 2nd here and traverse right and up to the top of Next Century and a bolted rap. users referenced splitting this route into three pitches, but I don’t see the reason.  They also mention two ropes, which we had, but I suspect a 70m does rap Next Century in two raps.   I recall one fixed rap anchor on Splitting Hares mid-2nd pitch that could be used from the top of Next Century with a single 70m as well.   Double 60m ropes definitely makes it down and right from Next Century in one rap. Dow
  • Next Century- 200’- 5.10d/ One of my favorite mixed face climbs in all of Red Rock, relative of the respective grade. The first pitch is realtively short and easy.  Start to the right of Splitting Hares and climb up the right leaning corner and then trend up and left to a modern (2020) fixed belay/rap.  From there climb up and right towards the arete.  The crux of the pitch is between the first and second bolt via off balance face moves.  Then continue up sustained 5.10 moves on dark varnish face to a shallow and closed right leaning corner.  Surmount it and trend up the steep face to the left, placing solid horizonal gear.  There are two reachy moves on this pitch.  At 5'11", they are just within reach.  The 2nd crux of the pitch is one that is on this upper face protected mostly by horizontal gear.  Once through this thoughtful and reachy crux, trend up and right and back left to the fixed rap.  One full double 60m rope rappel gets you down climbers right onto slab.  Gear to #2.  Dow
  • Ride the Tiger- 600’- 5.9/

Northeast Corner

  • Bloodline- 300’- 5.11a/  A competent team can solo the first two pitches (5th).  The third pitch of Bloodline is reminiscent of Next Century’s idealistic second pitch except it is mostly bolted (I placed one trad piece at the end of approximately 190’).  They are both tall pitches on black varnish involving sustained 5.10 face climbing on excellent rock.  Bloodline’s fourth (final) pitch offers one of the better 5.10+ finger splitter cracks in Red Rock.  Although Handren's guide lists this pitch as 5.11a, most competent trad climbers would consider this pitch 5.10+ at most.  You can easily place over a dozen pieces on this plug and go 150’ pitch.  Ironically, Handren's guide (2020) had information that the third pitch was 5.9 but the consensus on is that it is as challenging as the 4th pitch and discuss it being “spicy”.  In the end they give it a 5.10 rating which I concur with.  Dow
  • Deep Space- 1300’- 5.9/ While the 4th pitch is the identifying pitch to the route with its beautiful varnish and run out stemming, the 5th pitch is by far the crux following a finger splitter up to below a roof and then making an exposed traverse left (and perhaps the only pitch at the grade). The rest of the route offers variations but my description below found good climbing and maintained a fairly straight line to the top. The 7th pitch was probably my favorite of this group, but the 8th pitch was cool as well. Dow
  • Centerfold- 1100’- 5.9+/
  • Flakes of Wrath- 455’- 5.10dR/



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MescalitoMountains & Rocks