Walker Spur is a worthwhile
route on the east face of Mescalito. This area of Mescalito is sandwiched between two of the more popular routes in all of Red Rock, whether they deserve it or not, Cat in the Hat (5.6) on the south face and Dark Shadows (5.8)
on the north face. Most of the climbs on the east face of Mescalito are underwhelming. The only other routes I had climbed on the east face prior to the Walker Spur were Black Widow Hollow (5.9)
and Y2K (5.10a)
, neither of which I recommend. However, Walker Spur is worth clmbing and more interesting than those two routes.
1st Pitch- 100’- 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.
Park at the Pine Creek trailhead and hike west along the Pine Creek trail. Before you reach Mescalito, you have the option to drop down into the wash. Walk up wash for just a minute or two looking for a typically well marked trail heading due west for the east face. The Walker Spur is best identified via pitch two, the tall dark hand crack following an arête with a significant roof separating it from pitch one.
You should be able to spot the first pitch fixed belay above a small ledge from below.
Route Description350’+/-, 3 Pitches, 5.10b
1st Pitch- 100’- 5.10b/
Head up easy varnished holds to the right side of a narrow ledge. Move left to just around the arête
and use an edge or two to step up and place a solid nut back on the right face next to a mank piton (2012). Stem up discrete edges for a move or two at the grade (crux) until you reach a finger crack
. Solid fingers get you up to good hand jams. Follow the slick rock corner up to a comfortable fixed belay ledge below a significant roof.
2nd Pitch- 150’- 5.9/
This is a great pitch for the grade on excellent rock.
Move out left
and climb edges up the dark varnish. A pod protects low and a horizontal crack protects high (bit run out) before you start your traverse
along a hand rail to pull the roof in the right corner via a hand crack. Follow this stellar hand crack (5.8) up to the base of a chimney and a single belay bolt (2012) along with plenty of gear options to set the belay as well (belay bolt unnecessary).
3rd Pitch- 100’- 5.7/
Continue up the chimney/crack via mostly 5th class ground to a large ledge. I am sure there is a rap anchor here somewhere, but since we knew where we were, we just down climbed to the top of the third to last single rap anchor on Cat in the Hat.
Take three single rope raps down Cat in the Hat and return to the east face.
Double rack to 2” including a few C3’s. Set of flared nuts helps with the crux protection. Mostly draws, but a few shoulder length slings will be helpful on the second pitch. A single 70m rope will get you all the way to the ground on those raps, but I would not hesitate to make a 60m work as well. Haul your shoes up the route for the return to the east face. This is an east facing wall, meaning it could get a bit chilly in the afternoon during the winter when the sun sets behind Jet Stream Wall. Don’t be fooled by how warm you feel on the approach.
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