Type: Trad, 350 ft, 4 pitches
FA: many
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Shared By: Cale Csizmadi on Feb 28, 2002 with improvements by Oliver and 1 other
Admins: Larry DeAngelo, Justin Johnsen

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Access Issue: Red Rock RAIN AND WET ROCK: The sandstone is fragile and is very easily damaged when wet. Details


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. You can rap with a single 60 m rope using the anchor of Chasing Shadows/Edge Dressing. No need for 2 60m ropes.

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

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

P3- 5.8 from the anchor continue up the great crack system with some stemming to another anchor (120 ft)

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.


Pro is great. All anchors are bolts. There are 2 bolts on the 5.5s first pitch. Camalots 0.3-#3 and a set of wire nuts


M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
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"." Feb 24, 2004
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
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. Feb 24, 2004
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
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. Feb 25, 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 Mar 8, 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. Aug 10, 2004
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. Oct 20, 2005
Las Vegas, NV
J W   Las Vegas, NV
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. Oct 20, 2005
Tim Baguley
Tim Baguley  
Perfect route for warm/hot days. Totally shaded with a nice, cool pool of water at the base. Feb 1, 2006
rex parker
las vegas n.v
rex parker   las vegas n.v
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 Jul 21, 2007
Albany NY
adirondack-aaron   Albany NY
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. Jun 13, 2008
Josh Audrey
Josh Audrey   LAS VEGAS
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. Aug 28, 2008
Aaron S
Aaron S  
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". Aug 28, 2008
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. Mar 21, 2009
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
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! May 1, 2009
Aeon Jones
Las Vegas, NV
Aeon Jones   Las Vegas, NV
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! Aug 17, 2009
Erik Atkinson
Henderson, NV
Erik Atkinson   Henderson, NV
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. Aug 18, 2009
Doug Hemken
Madison, WI
Doug Hemken   Madison, WI  
Rather than rapping down one of those nasty gullies, you should consider doing the walk off:

mountainproject.com/v/nevad… Aug 18, 2009
Doug Foust
Henderson, Nevada
Doug Foust   Henderson, Nevada
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! Sep 13, 2009
John Hegyes
Las Vegas, NV
John Hegyes   Las Vegas, NV
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. Oct 1, 2009
Southern California
Bennett   Southern California
Rapped each of first four pitches with a single 70 meter rope. Pitch 3 is a stretcher to rap, knot the ends! Jan 19, 2010
Sherri Lewis
Sequim, WA
Sherri Lewis   Sequim, WA
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. Mar 29, 2010
leeds, ut
fossana   leeds, ut
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 Apr 15, 2010
smassey   CO
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. Apr 19, 2010
Laurel Arndt
Laurel Arndt   Phoenix
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!!! Sep 10, 2010
anchorage, alaska
JBroom   anchorage, alaska
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. Jan 12, 2011
Joseph Stover
Batesville, AR
Joseph Stover   Batesville, AR
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. Mar 16, 2011
Joe Cayer
Mesa, Az
Joe Cayer   Mesa, Az
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! Jun 1, 2011
Sam Daley
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Sam Daley   Minneapolis, Minnesota
After 10 days at Red Rocks this was my favorite. Jan 7, 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. Jun 12, 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. Dec 13, 2012
Matt Pesce
moab, ut.
Matt Pesce   moab, ut.
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 ! Mar 11, 2013
Nate Flink
Minneapolis, MN
Nate Flink   Minneapolis, MN
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. Mar 30, 2013
Phil Esra  
Tied with Clyde Minaret and Braille Book as my all-time favorite 5.8s. Apr 4, 2013
Oak Park, CA
Sean   Oak Park, CA
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. Apr 12, 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. May 2, 2013
Santa Rosa, CA
Royal   Santa Rosa, CA
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. Jun 29, 2013
Jared Wicks
Las Vegas
Jared Wicks   Las Vegas
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. Aug 4, 2013
Russell Fogle
Boise, ID
Russell Fogle   Boise, ID
Got ropes stuck twice, give your ropes a quick hard pull when pulling ropes! Oct 19, 2013
DannyUncanny   Vancouver
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. Feb 16, 2014
Nick Nystrom
Pittsburgh, PA
Nick Nystrom   Pittsburgh, PA
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. Mar 23, 2014
Dan Birman
Berlin, DE
Dan Birman   Berlin, DE
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. Mar 30, 2014
John Ryan
Poncha Springs, CO
John Ryan   Poncha Springs, CO
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. Apr 1, 2014
Fan Zhang
Silver Spring, MD
Fan Zhang   Silver Spring, MD
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. Apr 7, 2014
Do this route to the summit, it is fantastic. You need to go to the actual summit to descend. Apr 23, 2014
Chris D
the couch
Chris D   the couch
What a climb! Only did the first four pitches, but it was amazing. P3 is one of the best pitches of climbing I've done anywhere. So nice.

One note - Handren calls P2 5.6. If this pitch is 5.6, I must have missed a LOT of holds. Slick rock with small holds, but no need to lieback anything. I was a little spooked on toprope! Ha! Apr 28, 2014
At the top of pitch 4 there are three sets of bolted anchors, a set immediately at the top of the pitch, and also a lower and upper set about 20 feet to the right. If you rappel from the upper set of anchors to the right, a single 70-meter rope will reach the Chasing Shadows anchors, but just barely. Knot the ends of the rope. Note, the Chasing Shadows anchors are just around a corner, and cannot be seen from Dark Shadows. From here you can rappel to the top of pitch 2, then 1, then the ground with a single 70-meter rope. May 11, 2014
Climbed end of April 2014.

Going to the top:
Aaron M 's beta is great - had no problem following it.

Descent beta:
We followed the photo in redrocksguidebook.com/forum… . Take a full page print out of the photo. As you get higher, the terrain shown in the photo becomes quite clear.

0. From the huge ledge system at the top of Dark Shadows, some mandatory 5th class is required to get up the head-wall above.
1. *From the top*, head up-canyon/follow cairns (climber's right). Take care not to follow cairns back to the huge ledge system mentioned above. At a 20-30ft chimmney - either rap from a small tree (we did) or down-climb the chimmney. This puts you within 50ft of the N. Fork (Dark Shadows side) vs S. Fork (Cat in the Hat side) decision point. We took the N. Fork descent i.e. did not cross the saddle.
2. Follow path of least resistance to skiers left, staying high-ish. Aim for the slabs/bowl in the photo. When you get cliffed out at the bottom on the slabs, look to skiers right, the first tree-d gully you see is where you want to be - maybe ~ 100ft uphill. About 20mins travel time to get here for first timers.
3. 3 raps down a huge chimmney system - at first look, the reaction is "what, me go down this way?" The slings were quite ratty , we left most of a cordallete and 3-4 biners.
(a) Rap-1: Slings around tree or if you missed the tree (we did not see it initially), tunnel under some boulders down the gully and rap off a sandy suitcase handle.
(b) Rap-2: Slings wrapped around chockstone. Rap with your ropes (ie do not drop them into the maw below) if you can. Keep rapping past the first ledge to the second one 10ft below - this will likely be a 2 rope rap.
(c) Rap-3: Rap to the ground. Likely a 2 rope rap.

4. From here, it took us ~ 45mins-1hour to get to the base of dark shadows - in the dark, 2 headlamps for party of 3. And then 45mins - 1 hour to hike out.

Now for the request (or why I didn't have my headlamp with me): I left my hydration pack (w wind-breaker and headlamp)at the first rap, if anyone takes this descent, finds my gear and feels like returning it, that would be awesome.

It was a good adventure,highly recommend going to the top. Jun 3, 2014
Las Vegas, Nevada
Likeasummerthursday   Las Vegas, Nevada
+1 for rapping with a single 70m. I think a single 60m would work, too. Definitely don't bring two ropes if you have a 70! From the anchors at the top of p4, lower to rap anchors that are ten feet down and 15 feet climber's right (easily visible). Rap straight down and about five feet right to anchors on Chasing Shadows---just follow the bolt line down. Then rap to top of DS p2, then to p1 then the ground. As mentioned, you could rap straight to the ground from atop p2...might have to downclimb a few feet...or swim!

Single set from 00-2. Used a #3 but wouldn't bring it next time. P3 eats good nuts. Hard to keep the rope dry pulling it to the ground. Good beta above for this. Sep 24, 2014
las Vegas, nv
jessy   las Vegas, nv
70 was cutting it close on the rap from 3 to 2, I wouldnt try it with a chopped 70, let alone a 60.

rap beta with a 70 from pitch 4:

rap to pitch 3 anchors
rap to pitch 2 anchors
rap to ground

This route was awesome! Linked pitches 1 and 2 on the way up and on the way down. 3rd pitch was long and my favorite. 4th pitch was also very nice. Good 4 pitches for a half day of climbing. Feb 15, 2015
Chattanooga, TN
Manderson198   Chattanooga, TN
Climbed this with Garrett on 5 February. We climbed the first four pitches and then rappelled. A couple of notes:

We followed the Handren pitches, but it would have been much faster and quicker to link the first two.

If rapping after the fourth pitch, belay from the lower set of anchors under the roof. We had a single 60m, rapped from the top set, and just barely reached the next anchors. Tie knots! Mar 19, 2015
We bailed on this route on 3/26/15 when it became too dark to see. I left two nuts, a double length sling, and four non-locking carabiners on the route. I'll gladly pay for shipping if anyone feels like returning them :) Mar 31, 2015
Santa Rosa, CA
Royal   Santa Rosa, CA
I received this descent beta from a friend of a friend. It's good. As far as I know it's the safest non technical means of descent off mescalito. I'd think twice about attempting it in the dark. It worked for me.

From whatever route you've topped out, head up to the true summit. From here, continue west along the ridge into a slight saddle (generally cairned). Somewhere in the vicinity of this saddle is a very obvious cairned descent gully. If you head down here it's somewhat moderate downclimbing and 3 or 4 sketchy rappels (if memory serves).

To avoid the technical option, continue past this gulley through some bushes and you'll discover a few more cairns. These lead to the next small summit on the ridge to the west. Don't go down any gulleys along the way.

From this summit, drop off its southern shoulder and stay high on the shoulder of the ridge angling slightly down along a ledge system the entire way. This section of wide ledges is exposed but not challenging. Eventually this leads you to the very back of the wash.

At this point you basically make a u-turn off the ledges and into the wash heading back east. Follow the wash out to the trail and then to the car.

Summit to car time is about 2.5 hours. Apr 3, 2015
Zak Munro
VT,CO, Bar Harbor ME
Zak Munro   VT,CO, Bar Harbor ME
absolutely loved this climb. Seemed like there was holds in all the right places! Apr 8, 2015
Countzen Shin
Santa Monica, CA
Countzen Shin   Santa Monica, CA
I hate getting lost on the approach and wasting time... and I did. So here's something to save you time.


wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do… Apr 20, 2015
The p3 crack was a definite rope eater for our 8.5 mm doubles. After rapping from p3 anchors and pulling the ropes, I had to reclimb the route to free one that was tightly wedged. Then despite giving the rope a sharp pull away from the crack the next time, the end still dropped back to the same place (but not so deep, and it came out with a good tug). May 9, 2015
Dan Mathews  
Single 60m rope descent info. Four rappels. The first two raps do not follow the climb. This is necessary because pitch 3 is 120 feet and a rappel with a single 60m will not come close to reaching the anchor at the top of pitch 2. At the top of pitch 4 use the bolted belay about 15-20 feet right of the pitch 4 crack.(There is another bolted belay straight up from the pitch 4 crack. Don't use that one.)

Rap #1 - From the top of pitch 4 rappel to a hanging, bolted belay that is on the face to the right of pitch 3. Rap #2 - Rappel to the top of pitch 2. #3 - Rappel to top of pitch 1. #4 - Rappel to ground.

NOTE: You CANNOT rap pitch 3 with a single 60 m rope. Oct 19, 2015
Awesome climb, but p3 is full of fixed cams to the extent that it's pretty ugly. If someone can figure out a way to extract them that would be great.
Don't overcam, people! May 2, 2016
Jon P
Duluth, MN
Jon P   Duluth, MN
Just +1 some above comments:

-Some cams are cool (small-3") but nuts slot in where cams won't here so bring a mix. Lots of the crack is flair. Plenty of pro but double cam rack unnecessary.

-If you have a single 60m rope you need to rap from lower set of anchors atop 4th pitch (obvious when up there). You will not make it from the upper set... I promise you don't want to test your luck here.

-It gets a lot of traffic so start early or late. The sweet spot between 9am-noon will probably have a queue.

-Fun an worth doing on a sunny and hot day. Beautiful Pine Creek is a great place to hang out while waiting for the other parties =) Sep 19, 2016
Bryan Hermannsson
Berlin, DE
Bryan Hermannsson   Berlin, DE
Really epic, amazing, well protected, bolted anchor climb. The 200 ft repel is pretty epic. String together the 1st and 2nd pitch to speed things up.

Here's a recent video of someone soloing the 3rd pitch. :-0

Dec 15, 2016
the party in front of us tried to rap with one 60m and got into some trouble. At the top of pitch 4 there are two sets of anchors: one set 20 ft to the right of the crack, and one set right below the roof above the crack--use the ones on the right!! with a single 60 the higher rings will come up short of the hanging belay directly below!!
Best to use 2 60s or a 70 to rap this one, though one 60 could probably work in a pinch. with one 60: rap from top of 4 to intermediate hanging belay directly below, then to the top of 2, then to top of 1, then to ground, so 4 raps total. Not recommended. Mar 27, 2017
Cleveland, OH
DavidTighe   Cleveland, OH
We rapped on a single 70m from the top of P4. P4 anchor->Chasing Shadows anchor -> P1 anchor -> ground. Unforunately the 70m didn't quite reach the P1 anchor from the chasing shadows anchor so an easy ~5ft downclimb was required. Probably should have rapped to the P2 anchor but it was busy there. Apr 5, 2017
cassondra long  
I think this is the prettiest climb in Red Rock. Certainly one of my favorites. Apr 8, 2018
Sergey Shelukhin
Seattle, WA
Sergey Shelukhin   Seattle, WA
Some rappel beta.
1) From the top with a 70 meter rope, go to the right anchor on top to rap. We went from the left anchor (the 3 bolt obvious one) with an 80 and didn't have that much rope left. Also it's more in line with the next one so you don't have to angle as much along the slippery rock.
2) With an 80, on the 2nd rap we /just/ made it to the anchor on top of the initial slab, skipping the crowded ledge before the 3rd pitch.
3) The top and bottom of the 3rd pitch each have two sets of bolts right there if you look around... people rappelling thru or climbing to you can probably park at the other bolts if you use the ones closer to the next pitch. Apr 15, 2018
Cameron Casey
Las Vegas
Cameron Casey   Las Vegas
Yesterday there was a party on the 5th pitch of dark shadows. Their follower dislodged a several hundred pound block which hit the 4th pitch rap anchor area almost perfectly. There was another party of 3 beneath them on the ledge to the right of those anchors who were super lucky to escape with their lives. The block fell only several feet to the left of them. On top of that, there were two others parties on pitches 1-3. If you're climbing the upper pitches, PLEASE BE CAREFUL, do not just blindly trust the rock up there. Your life and others lives depend on it. Mar 26, 2019 · Temporary Report