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Mescalito
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Bed of Nails 
Black Widow Hollow 
C11H17NO3 
Cat in the Hat 
Cat in the Phat 
Centerfold 
Chasing Shadows 
Cookie Monster 
Crunchy Cat 
Dark Shadows 
Deep Space 
Edge Dressing 
Excellent Adventure 
Heart of Darkness 
Left of Disco 
Mescalito - South Face 
Negro Blanco 
Next Century, The 
OB Button 
Parental Guidance 
Pauligk Pillar 
Pauline's Pentacle 
Peyote Power 
Pine Nuts 
Rabbit's Arete 
Risky Business 
Sandstone Sandwich 
Short Circuit 
Slot Machine 
Splitting Hares 
This Ain't No Disco 
Too Many Tantrums 
Unknown (Thing 1) 
Walker Spur, The 
Wasp, The 
Welcome to Red Rocks 
When A Stranger Calls 
Y2K 

Dark Shadows 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- British: HVS 4c

   
Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 350'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: many
Page Views: 36,017
Submitted By: Cale Csizmadi on Mar 1, 2002
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Mustafa, beginning the 4th pitch

Description 

A great route to get out of the sun. There is a little stream that you can hang out by and jump over to get to the rock in the spring. Your rope will hit the water on the way down if you don't take care. Three raps from the top get you down with two ropes 60m.

P1- 5.5s two good bolts to the anchor on the first pitch

P2- (P1 & P2) can be done as one pitch(170ft). Take the right facing desert varnished dihedral from the bolt anchor (5.7; 60ft), move left to the the belay anchors.

P3- 5.7 from the anchor continue up the great crack system with some stemming to another anchor (75ft)

P4- 5.8 from the anchor break out right onto the curving crack and follow it to the final anchor beneath the giant roof.

Careful on the way down not to get the ropes caught in the crack as you rap.


Protection 

Pro is great. All anchors are bolts. There are 2 bolts on the 5.5s first pitch. Camalots 0.5-#3.



Photos of Dark Shadows Slideshow Add Photo
tunnel spider web near the top
tunnel spider web near the top
Frogs enjoy hanging out at the spring near the base of the route watching for sketched leaders. November 2008.
Frogs enjoy hanging out at the spring near the bas...
Some of the locals checking us out.  This is taken from the start of the route.
Some of the locals checking us out. This is taken...
Red Rock Water Lily ęZandra Lily.  The rope-soaking pool at base of Dark Shadows.
Red Rock Water Lily ęZandra Lily. The rope-soakin...
Hailey coming up the 3rd pitch.
Hailey coming up the 3rd pitch.
It's worth going to the top...
It's worth going to the top...
gorgeous!
gorgeous!
If you go beyond 4 pitches, rapping the route gets more interesting... Photo by Tony Bubb, 12/02.
If you go beyond 4 pitches, rapping the route gets...
Topping out on Dark Shadows
Topping out on Dark Shadows
The pool directly below the climb.  Be careful when you throw your ropes down!
The pool directly below the climb. Be careful whe...
Christopher Lane belaying nephew, Calder Lane. at the 2nd pitch.
Christopher Lane belaying nephew, Calder Lane. at ...
Descent beta.  Follow big ledge system.  Chimney up behind the tower.  Follow cairns down into bowl. At bottom, rap off tree into chimney.  3 raps.
BETA PHOTO: Descent beta. Follow big ledge system. Chimney u...
Christopher Lane with brother Todd Lane at 4th pitch.
Christopher Lane with brother Todd Lane at 4th pit...
Pitch 10 roof.
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 10 roof.
Pitch 9 climbs twin cracks and then heads rightward to a big ledge at the bottom of a corner with a single bolt.
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 9 climbs twin cracks and then heads rightwar...
Dark Shadows - the belay positions are marked
BETA PHOTO: Dark Shadows - the belay positions are marked
Pitch 7 climbs cracks to a ledge below the roof.
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 7 climbs cracks to a ledge below the roof.
Pitch 10: a crack leads to a roof. This is the crux pitch of the upper route.
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 10: a crack leads to a roof. This is the cru...
Above pitch 10, follow broken rock for a couple of pitches to the summit cairn of Mescalito. Lower fifth class.
BETA PHOTO: Above pitch 10, follow broken rock for a couple of...
Pitch 8 passes the roof on the right side.
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 8 passes the roof on the right side.
Unknown climber on first pitch.  Photo taken October 14, 2002.
Unknown climber on first pitch. Photo taken Octob...
GWB climbing the 4th pitch of Dark Shadows. A sweet pitch with a no hands rest part way up.
GWB climbing the 4th pitch of Dark Shadows. A swee...
P9
P9
Dark Shadows
Dark Shadows
P3. Only using chocks, no cams.
P3. Only using chocks, no cams.
happiness is a bomber nut placement
happiness is a bomber nut placement
Gettin Psyched
Gettin Psyched
Nearing the top of P3.
Nearing the top of P3.
Dick leading pitch 3.
Dick leading pitch 3.
ian van straten combining pitch 1 and 2. nice view of the route
ian van straten combining pitch 1 and 2. nice view...
view back down the valley
view back down the valley
Jenny Schillinger follows on 'Dark Shadows' (5.8). Photo 12/02 by Tony Bubb.
Jenny Schillinger follows on 'Dark Shadows' (5.8)....
Beginning the 4th pitch.
Beginning the 4th pitch.
Pitch 5. The left leaning crack above the roof.
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 5. The left leaning crack above the roof.
Scoping out what I consider crux # 2 on p3 of Dark Shadows, March 2007.
Scoping out what I consider crux # 2 on p3 o...
Tiffany heading up the broken cracks at the start of P9.
Tiffany heading up the broken cracks at the start ...
polished dihedral on P2
polished dihedral on P2
Starting up the first pitch on the slabby 5.5 section.
Starting up the first pitch on the slabby 5.5 sect...
Pitch 5 ends above the pillar on the left.
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 5 ends above the pillar on the left.
The base of Dark Shadows.  A must do.
The base of Dark Shadows. A must do.
On the excellent 3rd pitch.
On the excellent 3rd pitch.
Climbers on the second pitch of Dark Shadows (often linked with P1)
Climbers on the second pitch of Dark Shadows (ofte...
Pitch 6 climbs huecos on the right side past the marked bolt.
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 6 climbs huecos on the right side past the m...
looking down P2
looking down P2
Krista finishing the third pitch, I think.  The water was amazing.
Krista finishing the third pitch, I think. The wa...
Jascha on P5
Jascha on P5
Locals check out our ropes at the base
Locals check out our ropes at the base
P6
P6
Pitch 5 roof above above a bolt.  <br /> <br />This is the first pitch above the 4-pitch "normal route".
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 5 roof above above a bolt.

This is the fir...
P8
P8
Pitch 6 ends on the face after the leftward traverse. One bolt was missing from the anchor. I built a trad anchor in the crack below the bolt.
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 6 ends on the face after the leftward traver...
roof on P10
roof on P10
Pitch 6 traverses left from the piton anchor. Note the pod and dirty gully above - don't climb that!
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 6 traverses left from the piton anchor. Note...
final ramps to the summit
BETA PHOTO: final ramps to the summit
David Franco climbing pitch 2, photo by John Riggi.
David Franco climbing pitch 2, photo by John Riggi...
3rd belay if you don't link the first two
3rd belay if you don't link the first two
Patrick enjoying the 3rd pitch
Patrick enjoying the 3rd pitch
Brandi following pitch 3.
Brandi following pitch 3.
P4 Dark Shadows
P4 Dark Shadows
view from Adventure Punks trying to scope out the elusive Mescalito walk-off
BETA PHOTO: view from Adventure Punks trying to scope out the ...
Pitch 3 action as seen from Excellent Adventure. November 2012.
Pitch 3 action as seen from Excellent Adventure. N...
Jonny on p3.
Jonny on p3.
The glorious corner on pitch 3
The glorious corner on pitch 3
ian climbing the excellent pitch 3.
ian climbing the excellent pitch 3.
?
?
trying to catch the rope and prevent it from going into the stream... with only moderate success.
trying to catch the rope and prevent it from going...
Christpher Lane topping off at the top of the 4th pitch!
Christpher Lane topping off at the top of the 4th ...
Chuck just after the offwidth crux of p4
Chuck just after the offwidth crux of p4
Top of P3, viewed from P4.  Unknown climber from Boston, Sun 10/7/12.
Top of P3, viewed from P4. Unknown climber from B...
the infamous rope-soaking pool (all the more reason to do the full 10-pitch route)
the infamous rope-soaking pool (all the more reaso...
Aaron fixing his shoes on the second anchor
Aaron fixing his shoes on the second anchor
Taking in a view of the 4th pitch off width before attempting the lead
Taking in a view of the 4th pitch off width before...
Looking up at p2 (or the second half of combined p1).  You don't NEED to sew it up like this, but isn't it nice to know that you can...?
Looking up at p2 (or the second half of combined p...
first 4 pitches
BETA PHOTO: first 4 pitches
Zandra Lily on Pitch 2.
Zandra Lily on Pitch 2.
Zandra Lily on pitch 3.
Zandra Lily on pitch 3.
Rapping from top of pitch 4
Rapping from top of pitch 4
Comments on Dark Shadows Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 7, 2014
By M.Morley
Administrator
From: Sacramento, CA
Feb 24, 2004

5 bolts were replaced in October 2001 by the ASCA: "first pitch protection bolts, one bolt at pitch 3 belay, one bolt at original pitch 4 belay, and the protection bolt on pitch 5. Most anchors higher on route are one old and one newer bolt, and all can be backed up with natural gear. One protection bolt off of a ledge on pitch 6 is an old rusty 1/4"."

By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Feb 24, 2004
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c

The above description ignores that there are at least 6 more pitches of rock up above that are part of this great route. My memory of being on some of of those last January is not good enough to really do justive to the route, but I wanted to make a comment or two.One of my reasons for not going tha whole distance was the lack of equipment- that being which was required to replace the anchors on the upper pitches- in some cases just webbing and rings, but in all cases the stations were pretty sketchy one way or another. It should be done the rest of the way up.I ran out of webbign and rings before I finished the job. If you head all the way up, BYO.

By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Feb 25, 2004

When I climbed this route, we went all the way to the top of Mescalito. The upper pitches are quite different from the lower ones, the rock is not as good, route finding ability is needed and there were no more fixed anchors (when I did it). Thus a larger rack and sense of adventure are required. The summit is a scenic spot that is worth a visit.

If you go to the top, I would not recommend rappelling the route. From the summit, simply scramble NW along the ridge, then eventually drop down the east side into a bowl, avoiding anything harder than 3rd class. From here you can descend into the north branch of Pine Creek (same creek where the route starts). I have done this twice, taking slightly different routes, doing one rappel or two. Look for downclimbing routes as much as possible, you should not have to do more than two raps (the last one right into the creek bed). This is actually a pretty short descent for Red Rocks (taking maybe 1-2 hours back to the base of the route). Unfortunately there is no descent beta from the top of Mescalito in the new Swain guide, I think there was in the old edition.

By John Peterson
Mar 8, 2004

Don't miss this route! A classic.

Not sure about the "s" on the first pitch rating - seemed quite reasonable to me. There's no reason at all not to combine pitches one and two - I've done it on 50m rope with no problem. Great ledge at the top of P2.

The 3rd pitch is most definitely not 75 feet. You CAN'T rap on a single 45 or 50 meter rope from there and I've got the booty to prove it. Haven't tried a 60m from there though. The best descent is with two ropes - you can rap 3 + 4 together (plus avoid the worst of the rope eating crack) and then 1+2. I always descend the last rap in tandem, each of us carrying a rope end to keep it out of the water. When you pull the rope get your partner to stand in the pool and keep your rope semi-dry!

Both lines are good on pitch 4 - the crack on the right and the dihedral on the left. The one advantage of the dihedral is that nobody will drop a rope on your head as you pull the crux.

Pitch 5 (the overhang) was pretty good but we backed down from there in the face of easy climbing and questionable rock. The character of the route changes a lot when you leave the varnish.

A great route for photography.

John

By 10b4me
Aug 10, 2004

Great route! Cool creek and crystal clear pools at and near base. While we were climbing this route we got to watch mountain goats defy gravity on the cliffs across the way. Is anybody else ever amazed that an international epicenter of hedonistic pleasure, vice, dirt and grime is so close when back in these beautiful canyons? I always am.

By 10b4me
Oct 20, 2005

My partner and I only had the original 1970's small little red guidebook that describes this route in detail for 6 pitches and then says something like "climb a bit more to the top and then walk-off down the ravine." I will say the first 4 pitches are spectacular - some of the best climbing I've done at Red Rocks. The next two pitches were so-so and the last "bit" of climbing to the top was actually two more full rope lengths of sketchy moderate face climbing with essentially no pro. We got to the top near the end of the day and after searching around quite a bit we saw no easy walk-off. We decided it would be safe to come back down the way we knew, but the raps consisted of having to use sketchy webbing through a hole in sandstone at the top, a single old rusty bolt for the next rap (no place to put in pro), and then us having to leave a two nut anchor for the third rap until we were back to the nice bolts at the tope of P4. Do yourselves a favor and rap back down after the fourth pitch... the rest of the climb (and adventure) isn't worth it.

By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Oct 20, 2005
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c

Well, I havent been to the top via Dark Shadows, but I have summited via Deep Space, a route a ways to the left.

Walking off Mescalito is possible, but routefinding is important, so getting to the summit with an hour or two of daylight left is ideal. Basically head back and drop off to the right (north side) and then stay high, following the occasional cairn for quite a ways. A couple of short 4th class traverses later, and eventually you hit the canyon floor near a fallen tree and a large boulder. From here, its just a good, long, easy hike back to the packs and the car.

Alternatively, it is also (in theory) possible to rappel the last chimney on Cat in the Hat, then downclimb to the summit of the regular route and then rap that route with two ropes.

By Tim Baguley
Feb 1, 2006
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c

Perfect route for warm/hot days. Totally shaded with a nice, cool pool of water at the base.

By rex parker
From: las vegas n.v
Jul 21, 2007

this thing is not all in the sun thats crazy, went last monday got an early start and only pitch 4 was in the shade, if you plan to try to escape the sun and climb this in the summer dont start early the sun cooks it. the shade doesent start untill around 11 but i finally did the route the first 4 pitches. and i am impressed, i liked dark shadows, so go back and do it, is what i say..and the base is a great spot to chill out

By adirondack-aaron
From: Albany NY
Jun 13, 2008

What s stellar route! I led the first 3 ptches, actually linking pitch 1 and 2 together. The third pitch was my favorite. All in all, some of the best climbing I've done so far. Watch out for the water down below when tossing your rope. 2 60 meter ropes are whats needed for 2 raps to the base.

By Josh Audrey
From: LAS VEGAS
Aug 28, 2008

Topped this out yesterday and I think the upper pitches are awsome. Climbed the first 4 of Dark Shadows to the roof, then went through the roof to do pitches 5&6 of Heart of Darkness. Joined up with dark shadows agian to top out. Getting down sucks, but the climbing and the views are great.

By Aaron S
Aug 28, 2008

Upper pitches area ton of fun. Rock quality is better than I expected. Handren guide gives good directions. I would recommend staying roped up for the final 250' of "4th class".

By Aaron Martinuzzi
Mar 21, 2009

climbing to the top of mescalito via dark shadows makes for a really great outing. if you plan on heading up past P4, traverse right under the giant roof and belay at the bolts right on the arete, the highest & furthest right of three sets of bolts under the roof, or plan on moving the belay after finishing P4. this info is adapted from the handren guide, which we found inaccurate on some of the pitch lengths.

P5. 120', 5.7 - Follow a seam past a bolt to a roof. Continue up a widening left-trending crack, up a short chimney to an anchor on top of a huge pillar. A fun pitch.
P6. 100', 5.7 - Step across the void and climb the right side of a chimney with huecos on left wall. Go up 30' to a bolt, and continue, eventually traversing left and then continuing up to an anchor on a ledge at the base of a crack.
P7. 115', 5.7 - Climb the crack to a small ledge below a roof.
P8. 115', 5.7 - Go up the right side of the roof, through a crack to a bushy ledge. Continue to a higher ledge beneath broken cracks. Linking P7 & P8 stretched my 70m, but made for a great pitch.
P9. ~80', 5.7 - Climb the cracks to a varnished ledge with a bolt.
P10. ~150', 5.8 - Go up the right facing corner directly above the belay. Where the corner leans off to the left, climb up the face to beneath the big hueco'ed roof. Pull through the roof on good holds, and continue up the crack to beneath the top of Mescalito. I thought this was the best pitch of the route.

From the top of the route, my partner and I soloed up some 5th class terrain about 200 feet to a more exposed face to the left of the big, dark red headwall. At this point we roped back up, climbing ~70' of 5.5/6 to ~30 feet of scrambling, reaching the top.

Descent: My partner and I headed southwest along the side of Mescalito along some ridges and easily downclimbable terrain until some cairns guided us skier's right to a gully. Started off walking down the gully to find a slung tree. Rapped off this to a slung chockstone, which we rapped off to a third station. This station is best avoided, as the difficulties consist of ~15 feet of easy down-chimneying. A little more walking took us to a fourth station, a bush with long slings (our third rappel). More walking down the gully led to a steep section, with a rappel sling on the left - avoid this last rappel by walking down the ramp skier's right of the shrubbery. This puts you into ~150 feet of bushwhacking to the wash on the south side of Mescalito.

By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
May 1, 2009

Rapping with a single 60m is possible, but requires caution. As Joe Lee says, you must get atop P4 and you must use the LOWER rap anchor at the top of P4. If you go from the upper anchor you are SOL.

If you rap the first two pitches with two ropes, it is almost impossible to avoid a soaked rope. Even with one rope, it'll probably get a bit wet. Good reason to go all the way to the top!

By Aeon
From: Las Vegas, NV
Aug 17, 2009
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c

I don't know which book Erik got his beta from (having read the route description on here I wish it'd been from MP) but losing the route on the 6th pitch, which took us 2 unplanned-for hours, sucked! We picked the route back up but the description Erik had printed out and carried in his pocket about the route was so bad that it was hard for us to recognize if we were on the right line or not. I think route-finding is pretty important when doing the entire DS climb. I'm not sure about where the anchors are located at the top of P6 - we found the roof, but couldn't see any bolted anchor.

All things told, however, Dark Shadows had some of the best long-route climbing I've ever done! The upper pitches are just as good as the lower pitches and the two roofs you have to pull are super friendly offering good feet and big jugs. Only thing that we hadn't planned for was the descent into Pine Creek Canyon South Fork. Lots of down-scrambling and 4 rappels bring you to the bottom. It took us nearly 3 hours.

MY RECOMMENDATION (If you're doing the whole shebang and going off Mescalito Peak on the south side): Start at 0600 when the park opens, walk to the beginning of the route with just the gear you're going to climb in, take extra water, take extra water, take extra water, (3 times, not a typo) do the climb and don't leave anything at the bottom of the climb, take extra water, bring a headlamp and enjoy the views from the big ledge with the tree - it's absolutely fabulous. Don't forget: TAKE EXTRA WATER!

By Erik Atkinson
From: Henderson, NV
Aug 18, 2009
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c

Made copies of the route description directly from the Handren Guide which seemed to give great info until we got to the upper pitches. Like Aeon said, we had a hell of a time with pitch 6. We never saw a piton anchor, neither of us knew what the hell a "pod" was, and the only dirty gully we saw didn't appear to be part of this route at all. We never saw where to traverse left and up to any anchors, so we just built our own and kept going UP (that is the direction that we are all supposed to be going anyway, right!) The other sections of the description seemed to be fine, just pitch 6 sucked for us. Route finding is defiantly a good skill to possess and admittedly not my strong suit.

All in all, the climbing was great and beautiful. The notice earlier that the shade sets in around 11 is great if you are only climbing to pitch 4 and then rappelling off. If you plan to summit, Aeon gives solid advice to start EARLY, especially if it's your first time climbing this route. Oh and he is really not kidding about bringing extra water. I had 3 liters of water and burned through all of it by the time we hit the summit, making the decent (in the dark) and hike back to the packs and then the car quite unpleasant.

By Doug Hemken
Administrator
Aug 18, 2009

Rather than rapping down one of those nasty gullies, you should consider doing the walk off:

www.mountainproject.com/v/nevada/red_rock/pine_creek_canyon/>>>

By Doug Foust
From: Henderson, Nevada
Sep 13, 2009

Climbed to the top, thought it was an awesome route. The routefinding seemed pretty straighfoward. I passed the belay spot on the 6th pitch and built a hanging belay about 60ft above. This allowed Mark to link the next two pitches and we ended up topping out in 8 pitches to the big tree ledge. Definately some technical climbing left to get to the top of Mescalito. We did three more short quick pitches still roped up to get to where we could scramble to the summit of Mescalito. Took about 3 hours to hike back to car(but it was raining so we moved slow)

Awesome day though!

By John Hegyes
From: Las Vegas, NV
Oct 1, 2009

Okay, Gigi and I summited via this route and it was awesome. Highly recommended. I posted the beta pictures for the full route, we climbed it in 11 pitches. I preserved the pitch numbering as listed in the Handren guide, but like everyone else we linked P1 and 2. So, nine pitches to the north shoulder and then two more up broken rock to the summit. And by the way, there is no mention of the final pitches being 3rd class in the Handren book - the final headwall is definitely fifth class - easy but exposed.

We climbed it Sept 29 and we were in the shade all day. We descended in the dark, down the Cat in the Hat rappels with a single rope. Do not attempt this unless you have done the Cat summit route from the ground up (I had done it twice to get it wired). The routefinding would be extremely difficult on this exposed descent if you've never done it before and using a single rope is tricky. That said, I think the Cat descent is the fastest way off the summit. Larry DeAngelo has good beta on the Cat summit route in his book "Red Rock Odyssey".

I hope that by posting the beta, more people will consider climbing the full route. But we should all do our best to retain the full-on adventure aspect of this long route. For example, I saw a lot of unecessarily chalked-up holds. Try to exhibit "leave no trace" and don't trash this route. And please don't place any more bolts.

By Bennett
From: pdx
Jan 19, 2010

Rapped each of first four pitches with a single 70 meter rope. Pitch 3 is a stretcher to rap, knot the ends!

By Sherri Lewis
From: Sequim, WA
Mar 29, 2010

Lucked out to get the route all to ourselves on a sunny Sunday afternonn. Did the first 4 pitches; took three hours to climb and descend moving at a comfortable pace. Excellent climbing all the way!

Two double rope rappels w/60m rope; 1st rap to top of P2, 2nd rap to pile of rocks and bush at left side of pool. Keep your ropes in slings as you rap helps to keep the ends dry.

In the morning, we warmed up by doing Y2K, a 4P route (which gets morning sun)just around the corner from Dark Shadows. Y2K is rated 5.10a, but other than the one-move bolt-protected crux on the 1st pitch(you can aid it if you need to), none of the other pitches had any moves harder than what you'd find on Dark Shadows. They make a nice combination for a full day of fun climbing at the grade.

By fossana
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 15, 2010

Description of Pitches 5-10 for full route
addenda to Handren's description in italics

To access the upper pitches you'll need to use the anchor to the right and around the corner from the usual P4 one. There are a bolt and a pin in the seam leading up to a roof just above and to the left of the normal P4 anchors. This is not the route. Also note, that above P4 the route is more exposed to sun and wind.

P5, 120', 5.7
Follow the seam past bolt through an easy roof. Continue up left-trending crack to top of left-hand pillar.

P6, 120', 5.7
Step across the void and climb chimney. There is chimney to the left and an offwidth to the right. I didn't see the bolt and piton near the chimney mentioned by Handren at 30' and 60', respectively, and it's challenging to protect. As with the person before me I opted to climb the more solid varnished face to the right of the chimney, using the offwidth for pro. The only bolt I found was on a face to the right of the offwidth. You end up in the same place, the pod mentioned by Handren. Above the pod start moving up 20' and left 15' to a (now) single bolt anchor on a ledge below a crack.

P7, 120', 5.7
Climb finger crack to flake to small ledge below roof.

P8, 60', 5.7
Head around the right side of the roof, up crack and through a series of bushy ledges until you reach the base of twin cracks (look up and left from the first ledge).

note: I combined P7 and P8, after finding my options for gear placements fairly limited for an anchor at P7, belaying just below the first bushy ledge (we scrambled up to the actual belay later). It was difficult to communicate with J with the wind, but the rope drag wasn't too bad.


P9, 80-90' (110' per Handren), 5.7
Head up the twin cracks to a ledge with a single bolt anchor.

P10, 170', 5.8
Two options here. Handren describes a right-facing corner. To your left there's an obvious white sandstone dihedral, leading up to a blank (appearing) slab, then to the roof. There's also a shallower, varnished, but likewise right-facing corner to your right, which leads all the way to the roof. Either works. After the roof head up to a large ledge with trees below the summit.

Summit (optional P11)
From the route top out go up and left to start. There's a series of ramps interspersed by short technical sections (up to 5.7-5.8?). We soloed this but it could be done on rope with mindful management.

Descent Notes
Only one of the anchors above P4 was rigged for a rap and only b/c someone had added webbing, but did check out the possible series of rap anchors as noted by asmrz. There were some anchors visible on neighboring routes (climber's left) but they seemed to go only part way up. Handren describes 2 summit walk-off options, noted to be less than ideal. We tried to find the top of Cat in the Hat without success. Eventually we found cairns that we thought would lead to one of the walk-offs. Instead (after some time) they took us to a series of 2 double rope rap stations that dumped us just upstream from the route.


Trip report here

By smassey
From: CO
Apr 19, 2010

Climbed the upper pitches after climbing Risky Business. After p4 of RB, traverse R on a ledge to a crack/chimney leading to the "hueco'd chimney" described in Handren. There is a chimney on the left and a hueco'd face and OW/handcrack on the right. righthand crack is easy, to a 1/4" rusty bolt, over a bulge. The "two-pin anchor" is a baby angle and a ring angle in a horizontal crack. As of 4/18, they do not have any sort of rap hardware on them, and can be hard to see if you are not looking hard. Continue up, then traverse left to a "ledge" with one bolt. A belay can be set here with good wires. It would probably be more comfy to set a belay about 15' below there on a sloping ledge with big cams, but as hanging stances go, it's not bad. Otherwise, fossana's description is great. The roof on the last pitch is perfect for the "Cliffhanger" move - grab the jugs, cut your feet, and have the belayer snap a photo.
To find the CITH descent, you need to go up. Follow occasional cairns and 3rd-easy 5th to the west until it becomes easy-ish to cut back towards the summit to the east of you. From the summit, go directly east, following the line of least resistance (cl3/4) down to a huge pine tree out on the prow. The rap anchors are slightly down and east of this, easily seen from the last tree. A 70 puts you within a few easy moves of the pine tree at the bottom. A short cl4 downclimb to the right on slightly crumbly rock takes you to ledge systems that make their way down and slightly (skiers) left to a (sometimes) cairned line-of-least-resistance route. Stay just slightly right of the vague ridge you're following, passing various pieces of tat on boulders, etc. Aim of the slabby white prow, home of the p6 anchors on CITH. Rap station to station with a 70. Best to climb CITH to the top to dial this descent, as John mentions above. Potentially more efficient in the long run to rap Peyote Power or the standard North side descent as described above, but you need a second rope, and this way is pretty scenic and quick if you know it.

By Laurel
From: Phoenix
Sep 10, 2010

We started out with Chasing Shadows as our goal, which you are suppose to be able to rap with just one rope. But once I got under Dark Shadows, we decided to do the first four pitches of DS. We had the beta from Handren which says you can rap from the top of DS fourth pitch to the anchor at the top of Chasing Shadows third pitch so off we went. I saw the bolt line(s) while I was climbing but never saw anchors at the top of third pitch, swung over to look for them, no sighting. Good news is we had a 70m and you can rap single line from top of 4th, just watch carefully as you rap to top of 2nd pitch. With a 70 you end up about 3 feet above the anchors on a little ledge. Great Labor Day weekend climbing, no one there, no lines, us desert rats like it that way!!!

By jeremy ward
From: las vegas, nevada
Jan 12, 2011

definantly take this route to the summit! the upper pitches and decent totally make the route. plenty of great beta on the earlier posts describing both. have fun! great summer rr route.

By Joseph Stover
From: Batesville, AR
Mar 16, 2011
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c

On Saturday 3/12/2011, there was a serious leader fall to the ledge on the 3rd pitch (the long 5.8 corner). Please be careful, and place enough protection to keep from hitting the ledge. The rock can also seem slick.

By Joe Cayer
From: Mesa, Az
Jun 1, 2011
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c

I'd had a " High Gravity " day on a prior attempt to climb this route before. I made it to the 2nd belay ledge and had to bail, mentally I just didn't have it that day!
Climbed Dark Shadows on Fri., May 27, 2011. Fantastic climb and we had the route to ourselves. I combined pitches 1 & 2, swung lead with my friend Dick and then I finished up on pitch 4. I'm so glad I went back to climb this one, I enjoyed the entire climb and will probably climb it again!

By Sam Daley
From: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Jan 7, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c

After 10 days at Red Rocks this was my favorite.

By Nelson Day
From: Joshua Tree, CA
Mar 5, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c

The Handren guide book says to bring a single rack to 3". Not enough gear! At least for me. I place gear about every 7-10 feet typically on lead. I got about 70 feet up the third pitch, pulled around the roof and looked up at another 40-50 feet of climb to the pitch 3 anchor. I looked down at my rack and had only 3 pieces left, and they were all the wrong size. The upper portion of pitch 3 takes small gear (smaller than 1"). I down led back to the pitch two anchor, pulling gear as I down climbed, and then rapped to the bottom with daylight fading. Note: a typical single rack is ~10 cams... Sad! This route is stellar! Really good moves on really good rock. I would recommend a single rack to 3" with doubles up to 1" for sure. That would have allowed me to finish the climb... I linked the first two pitches together, which made for a ~150 foot first pitch, but wasn't bad. Even with my single rack. The two bolts on pitch one are adequate protection for the entire first 70 feet to the anchor. After you clip the second bolt, the slab eases up and the climbing really isn't bad all the way to the first anchor. Just clip the first anchor with a sling and continue up the dihedral to the second pitch anchor. In short, you don't need any more pro than the two bolts on the entire first pitch.

The bottom of the rope fell straight into the creek at the base of the climb from the rap at the pitch 2 anchor, but I guess that is to be expected on this climb. I was using twin/half ropes, and they dried well over night. As such, I would recommend doing this route at the end of your climbing day to allow your rope to dry out over night.

By Rob Fielding
From: Las Vegas, NV
Jun 1, 2012

For Spring/Summer, the first 4 pitches don't get shaded until afternoon, maybe a little earlier.

Finally topped out on the route, wouldn't recommend the entire route for hotter Vegas days, you'll be baking in the sun on all the pitches and wishing you were in an ice bath.

The route is worth while to the top, lots of great pitches, you won't be dissapointed, the final 2 pitches have some shatty rock, you might want to stay roped up. As of 06/12, the South Pine Creek descent is very well cairned. You can rap it w/ a single 60m, and it goes pretty quick. Once at the wash, it's about 45-60 min back to the car.

For a rack, single to 4" w/ extras in 0.5"-2".

W/ a 70m rope, you can link 1/2, 3/4, 7/8, 9/10. If linking 3/4, you might want to bring a little extra gear.

Have fun!

By Apuyr
Jun 12, 2012

Emily and Rob, We accidently walked off with your rope bag today 6-12-12 after sharing Dark Shadows with you. One of my partners thought it was mine as I have the same bag. With wet ropes, we didn't use bags for the trek out. We apologize! Please post a mailing address or send to my e-mail and I will send it back immediately! Did not post to forums because I thought you would look here first.

By Canon
Dec 13, 2012

Linked first two pitches. P3 was awesome! You can sew it up (and I did), mostly with nuts. To the poster who said he needed double cams to get up the pitch....I brought a double rack to 2" with a 3", only to get to the end of P3 and find I had more than an entire single rack of cams still hanging off my harness. Good weight training, I guess.

For the first 4 pitches, single rack .3 to 3" with a full set of nuts (4-12 BD) and a few tri-cams (pink, blue, red) and I had gear to spare.

Rope got a little wet on the way down.

Good climb, but COLD back there.

By Matt Pesce
From: moab, ut.
Mar 11, 2013

Topped out on Mescalito in 12 roped pitches...ran 1 & 2,3 & 4 together rock up high is different but awesome in a different way. Descended CIH with 1 70m barely !

By Nate Flink
From: Minneapolis, MN
Mar 30, 2013

Superb route! Crowded. Easy to rap from top of 4th pitch from LOWER anchors with 60m rope. At least 3 sets of bolts at top of pitch 4, used the lowest ones I could see. Rap to intermittent anchor from Chasing Shadows, then to pitch 2, pitch 1, then ground.

By Phil Esra
Apr 4, 2013

Tied with Clyde Minaret and Braille Book as my all-time favorite 5.8s.

By Sean
From: Oak Park, CA
Apr 12, 2013

Possible to rap from top of P4 with a 70 in three raps, if comfortable with finishing via easy downclimbing. First rap down to Chasing Shadows anchor, then to Dark Shadows P2 anchor, and from there down to the easy face just below P1 first bolt. Second the comment about clipping that first bolt and using that to keep rope dry when pulling. Linkable P1 and P2. Amazing P3 and P4.

By steple
May 2, 2013

I would like to suggest to the administrators to update the route description to 8 pitches and to include fossana's description of the upper pitches.

By Royal
From: Henderson, NV
Jun 29, 2013
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c

The upper pitches are most definitely not in the shade in late June. I just climbed the complete route two days ago and we got cooked. Plus, the descent is kinda a pain in the dark especially when you have a slow and scared partner.

By Jared Wicks
From: Las Vegas
Aug 4, 2013

Great route. Climbed this today and we had the wall to ourselves thanks to the 100+ degree temps in the valley. Climbed the first four pitches and rapped down the face. We brought along a 70m and barely had any rope left over on the first rappel to the top of the neighboring route. A 60m would be sketchy and I'm not even sure it would make it. We were able to get down from there with 2 more rappels thought we had to down climb a few feet on the last rappel.

This route definitely deserves it's Classic status. Amazing rock with great pro.

As for the sun... the route was in the shade by 9. Perfect climb for hot days.

By Russell Fogle
From: Boise, ID
Oct 19, 2013
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c

Got ropes stuck twice, give your ropes a quick hard pull when pulling ropes!

By DannyUncanny
From: Vancouver
Feb 16, 2014

Pulled a #1 camalot out of pitch 3. If you want to get down without getting your rope wet in the stream, the trick is to bridge the gap between the boulder and the wall, leaning left, and the rope will fall right on your head.

By Nick Nystrom
From: Pittsburgh, PA
Mar 23, 2014

On the final raps from Dark Shadows, a 70m rope just makes it (with rope stretch, using a 70m rope with 9.5% static elongation) from the rap anchor at the top of pitch 2, ending on the gravel bar downstream of the pool. Stationing one person at the downstream edge of the pool and pulling hard from the left should allow the rope to stay dry.

By Dan Birman
From: Berlin, Germany
Mar 30, 2014

Couldn't find any decent descent info for topping out and going down cat in the hat, here it is:

From the tree ledge head up the red headwall. We started on the left side at a hand crack in a corner and soloed about 150' up, trending right, to a "mushroom" shaped block. Cross back left 20' and head straight up (rope up, 5.4R/X) to large blocks near the summit. Turn left towards magic mountain and scramble down, a 190' rappel from bolts near a tree puts you on a col, follow this towards magic mountain and scramble ~400' down easy rock with a few 5th class moves to the pinkish buttress that sticks out, rap cat in the hat. ~2 hours from the tree ledge to the ground.

By John Ryan
From: Poncha Springs, CO
Apr 1, 2014

This is a very striking route with excellent gear in a beautiful setting. The first two pitches are easily combined to reach the large belay ledge at the end of pitch 2. Pitch 3 is a straight forward dihedral crack with tons of varied protection options. Pitch 3 belay station is a nice ledge big enough for 3 people. Pitch 4 is weird but fun, with great exposure. We rapped on a 70 m and 60 m from the upper anchors on top of Pitch 4 to the ledge at the top of Pitch 2 without difficulty. We saw many fixed pieces, most of them the small size Link Cams on pitches 2 and 3.

By Fan Z.
From: Washington, DC
Apr 7, 2014
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c

Climbed this route on the afternoon of 3/30/14 with JV. Expected crowds due to RR Rendezous but found only one other party ahead of us. It was windy and cold enough to keep the synthetic down jacket on during the entire climb. First two pitches were awkward and uninspiring. Finger crack corner on P2 was especially awkward. Pitches 3 & 4 were fantastic. Crux on P3 was the off-width section near the start; great stemming after that. Three rappels from top of P4 using a single 70m rope. Got about 20' of rope wet pulling on final rappel.