Splitting Hares and Next Century, 5.10d, are relatively obscure two pitch routes located to the east of the uber popular Dark Shadows wall on Mescalito. The rock on Next Century is as good as any in Red Rock via pure black varnish maneuvering up an arete. Next Century, being somewhat forgotten by most following the more modern guide books to Red Rock, was listed in the original Super Topo guide (select routes only) for the Red Rock area. It well deserves to be included in a “select” route compilation at Red Rock. It’s 2nd pitch offers outstanding climbing through a mix of bolts and gear on excellent rock with wonderous movement. It was established in 1998 and Splitting Hares in 2006. These two routes run side by side with Next Century offering a clean bolted rap for either route.
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. MP.com 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 make it down and right from Next Century in one rap.
Park at the Pine Creek trailhead and hike westward on the trail directly for Mescalito’s right side and Dark Shadows. Before reaching Dark Shadows, cross the creek and aim for a small alcove where these two routes are found (photo).
1st Pitch- 85’-5.7/ Both of these pitches are decent trad pitches by Red Rock standards. Splitting Hares is definitely an overlooked route. Directly in the alcove, start up the obvious right facing corner (not the chimney). When done with the corner, continue straight up intermittent cracks, trending left and then back right. When you hit a patch of white rock on a sloping ledge with an obvious flake/crack/corner above, do a gear belay. The fixed rap at the top of the first pitch of Next Century is up and to your right.
2nd Pitch- 140’-5.9/ Layback up the flake (crux of the route) placing finger to finger lock sizes and pull up and over the corner. Meander up the face and cracks to below the roof above. Place gear and traverse right and up, slightly exposed, to the fixed rap atop Next Century.
One rap on Next Century with double 60m ropes, not back to the start, but rather down climbers right to reach a gully higher up from where the route starts. A single 70m probably makes it down Next Century in two raps (the first one is close), but there is a higher fixed rap in the middle of the 2nd pitch for Splitting Hares (2019) as well.
Single 70m rope or double 60m ropes. Single rack to C4#3. If this is your trad limit, take a few extra pieces for the longer 2nd pitch. Slings vs draws. North facing wall, dress accordingly.