Type: Trad, 650 ft, 6 pitches, Grade II
FA: Bruce Eisner and Joanne Urioste, 1976
Page Views: 104,206 total · 533/month
Shared By: George Bell on Apr 27, 2003
Admins: Larry DeAngelo, Justin Johnsen

You & This Route

858 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do · View List

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

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


This route is probably the most popular multi-pitch route in Red Rocks, and always seems to be swarming with parties. For many years I avoided the route because it always seemed mobbed. Then, on a day when the wind was screaming down the canyon we figured nobody would be on it. Wrong! Another party at the base. We still had a fun time and everyone was very friendly and nobody was in a rush. Good to adopt this attitude on this route - if it's high season it's going to be crowded.

This route faces south and can get quite hot. It can be done on a sunny winter day and you could die of heat stroke in the summer.

Hike the trail to where the two forks of Pine Creek join at the base of Mescalito. Here you want to take the left (south) fork. Follow a trail on the north bank past a prominent buttress, then curve right up a broad, bushy gully to the base of the route. The first pitch faces southwest and is in the shade in early morning, it cannot be seen from the parking lot.

P1&2: Follow a 5.6 crack up and left (4" piece can be useful at one point if you want really good pro). At 110' you hit a 2 bolt anchor, but you can continue to the next anchor (60m rope better for this). The next bolted anchor is off to the right on a ledge, we missed it on the way up. It is easy to get sucked left into a gully, where you can just belay from gear. [Many parties still split this long pitch into two]

This next part is not well described in Swain: wander up and right on a huge terrace to the highest point on the ledge. This is 3rd class except for maybe the first move, and we downclimbed it unroped on the way down, but many people choose to stay roped up for it.

P3: You are aiming for a tree at the top of a gully, make a weird boulder problem off the deck and then continue more easily up the gully to the tree, 5.5, 70'.

P4: The wall steepens. Climb a thin crack in a black face and step left below a roof. Follow another crack all the way up to a block slung with slings, 5.6, 150'.

P5: Above here you see some bolts, this is the 10d direct variation, go for it if you want! The normal finish is to go down from the belay and traverse right around the corner. Keep traversing until you are to the base of a beautiful crack in the center of a black wall, 5.3 50'.

P6: Climb the crack, angle right to a bolt, and then up a face (somewhat runout) to a 2 bolt belay, 5.6 100'. We combined P5 and P6 with a 50m rope but this makes the final runout moves of P6 harder with all the rope drag.

You can continue to the summit of Mescalito from here (many pitches mostly 3rd and 4th with some 5th class), but virtually all rap: First 130' to the top of pitch 4 (lots of rope drag to pull, plus knobs to catch the rope, some recommend doing this as a 50' rap to an intermediate bolted anchor and then an 80' rap to the top of pitch 4). Second rappel 140' from the big block to the tree at the top of pitch 3. Third rappel 70' from the tree to the big ledge. Scramble down the ledge to the bolts at the top of the second pitch (this down scramble is a little tricky at the end, watch out, maybe belay beginners). Fourth rappel 150' from the bolts at the top of the second pitch, angling left (north) to make the ground. We experienced bad rope drag pulling this one too and perhaps it is better to do use the bolts atop pitch 1 to split it up into two. I believe you could rap this with only one 60m rope EXCEPT for the second rappel.

There is an entire chapter about this route in Red Rock Odyssey


Standard rack to #3 Camalot, two ropes for the rappels


As with CC, this is the other Must Do route for the hoardes. It's a lot more forgiving of crowds than CC but you're still looking at a potential fiasco if things are crowded. I prefer a late start (like 3 or 4pm) to let the crowds thin out and avoid the oven.

This is a good route but not so great that it's worth spending a whole day waiting in lines on. There are really only two classic pitches (4 & 6).

Hey George! Your route description sucks :-). No, really, the only problem I have is that the right thing to do is combine 5 & 6, not 4 & 5. It's no stretch to reach the top from the block with the slings. Be careful with the first few pieces (long runners) and you're all set. And as the man says, combine 1 + 2.

The other big piece of advice: the EDK is your friend. I watched some poor suckers take hours on the first rap because their knot wouldn't slide. There's no reason to use a figure-8 to join ropes anywhere in Vegas but here it's even more important. The Euro Death Knot is your friend.

John Mar 8, 2004
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Yeah, I messed up the pitch references in the description of P6. I submitted a correction, it should be changed in the route description eventually. Mar 9, 2004
After dealing with the miserable raps on this route a few years ago, I went out and bought 180'of 7.5mm to carry along for the second rope. This makes it easier to pull down the rope from each rap. This makes my partners a little nervous; however, the test strength is quite adequate. You do need to practice with it a bit since the 7.5 mm tends to slip somewhat as you're rappeling. Mar 28, 2004
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
As an alternate finish to the top pitch of the 'normal' climb (P6) you can step a few feet over to a brown arete and finish on a bolted line. This seems to be 10/10+ and is quite nice.Admittedy this is out of charicter with the rest of the line, but it allows you to finish on something hard if you want and dodge the crowd on the last pitch and the rap-through issues. Mar 30, 2004
Jason Shatek
Jason Shatek  
This is an easy and extremely popular 5.6! We were the third party out of about 6 that day (thursday). Unfortunately, the 1st group was un-godly slow and jammed everyone up. It took us something like 8 hours to do a 2 hour climb. If you have a 60m rope definately run pitches 1 and 2 together! Don't even bother stopping at the first anchor bolts. Top of P2: You'll know you're there when you reach a ledge (with bolts) big enough to park a pickup truck on. Also, run together pitches 4 and 5. Intead of stopping at the top of P4 then doing another pitch of downward traversing to the right just run them together, its only 20 feet or something and easily accomplished with a 60M rope. Thus, P4 will go something like this: head up the right crack on the red wall. Traverse right and cruise up the dihedral; don't stop at the rock with all the slings on it. Continue up the dihedral for another 20 feet or so and traverse right around the arete and setup belay on the nice big ledge, there will be a big block with slings on it. From here you can tackle the final pitch going straight up the crack. Pitches 4 and 6 are the best ones. Also note; it is extremely easy to get your knot stuck on the first repel, use the euro death knot; even that got stuck for us! Luckily someone freed it for us from above. Apr 7, 2005
Great climb! We spent more time lounging on belay ledges, waiting for parties ahead of us to move on, than we did actually climbing--and this was on a Thursday. It did afford us the opportunity to meet some tres cool people from across the U.S. (D.C., Santa Cruz, North Carolina, Colorado Springs). Anway, if the other climbs in the area are as good as this, I can't wait to return.

As Jason mentions, beware on rappel. It's tricky to keep your rope from getting stuck. The sixth pitch was the best by far--so persevere and battle your way through the crowds and you will be rewarded. So, what does "mescalito" mean, anyway? I know it's a James Taylor album title. Apr 14, 2005
Instead of stepping down and around at the start of pitch five climb up to the first bolt of the 10d variation and then traverse back right to the crack. Just take care with rope drag.For us a much more pleasant alternative than the downwards right traverse. H. Aug 16, 2005
J. Thompson
denver, co
J. Thompson   denver, co
Rappeled this again the other day after climbing The Walker Spur. This route can now be rapped fairly easily with a single 60M rope. Here is the beta...from the top of 6 rap to the anchor on the 5.10+ sport'o variation. The go to the "pancake" belay. Now rap to the east shoulder of the formation...you will have to down climb about 10ft of 5.3/4 to get to the tree rappel. Now rappel to the big terrace...unrope and scramble over to the 3 bolt boulder rappel...do this to another rappel(which was added when?) from 2 bolts. From these 2 bolts you can make it to the ground.

With a single 70M you can probably remove the short bit of down climbing. Oct 6, 2005
A quick added note on rappelling with a sixty meter rope:

It is possible to do the rappels from the slung block under the bolted 5.10 variation in two rappels to the tree rappel. There are some slung blocks climber's right of the route behind an arete. By rapping to these, one may avoid downclimbing the lower moves with a single rope.

Jason May 1, 2006
Salt Lake City, Utah
46and2   Salt Lake City, Utah
Our group of three climbers thought this route was incredible. Pretty casual yes, but how often can you get that steep of climbing at 5.6 on pitches 3 & 5? Those two pitches are simply a blast to climb (understatement)!! We were able to do the raps no problem but probably just got lucky, it seemed like ropes could get stuck fairly easily. One topo note; in the new guidebook (Brock) the topo drawing looks like you should start angling left immediately after the bolt; don't do this! After the bolt continue to slap directly straight up to another left angling crack, follow this to the bolted anchors. Four Star Climb!! Feb 2, 2007
My friend Sandy and I did this route yesterday (2/19/07) and had a great time other than the sprinkles turning into a downpour on the rap down. We did this route with one 70 meter rope without a problem. We climbed the route in 4 pitches (combining pitches 1&2 and 5&6). We rapped with the single 70m rope in 5 rappels. The first rappel from the top of pitch 6 (top of the route) to the top of pitch 4 (slung boulder) left us standing on the boulder just to the climber's right of the slung boulder. The second rappel from there to the top of pitch 3 (tree anchor) left us standing on the ledge at the base of pitch 4 with a very short easy downclimb to the tree anchor. The third rappel got us all the way to the top of pitch 2 (bolted anchor at the big ledge) without having to even downclimb the short scramble. The rope from there didn't reach all the way to the ground, so we rapped to the bolted anchor at the top of pitch 1, then to the ground. One rope makes it much easier to not get it stuck on the way down, single 70m rope highly recommended. Feb 20, 2007
George Wilson
Las Vegas
George Wilson   Las Vegas
Gorgeous climb, Great protection, Great exposure...I would recommend climbing CITH with two ropes as it eliminates any down climbing. If you start this route after 11:00 on a week-end be prepared to walk out and maybe rappel in darkness. This route was swarming with odd numbered parties helping turn a 2 hour climb into a 7 hour climb. Seems all parties rapped off at the top of pitch 4...They missed out. Pitch 6 is a must do, I found moving right after the bolt and then back left caused less stress. Someone added a new quicklink to the end of the route...Thanks! Nov 5, 2007
Boissal .
Small Lake, UT
Boissal .   Small Lake, UT
Good route but nothing really stellar on it. P1+2 were sweet as one long pitch, P4 was good, and I assume P6 would have been awesome if not combined with P5. A party recommenced clipping the 1st bolt of the arete variation and doing the traverse, which leaded to such heinous rope drag my partner had to leave the lead rope clipped to the last bolt and switch to the line we were trailing to rap. Lesson learned: never trust people who are so sketchy they get in verbal fights about how to set a rap.
We ended up rappelling in the dark, freeing a stuck rope and helping a party with only 1 60m rope stuck halfway up P3 on a ledge. Good times. Nov 26, 2007
"A party recommenced clipping the 1st bolt of the arete variation and doing the traverse, which leaded to such heinous rope drag my partner had to leave the lead rope clipped to the last bolt and switch to the line we were trailing to rap."

This actually works if you're willing to run it out a long long way...however, as you found out...if you place gear before the top of the pod in the crack, there will be serious rope drag. If you don't place gear before that point, you risk a ground fall.

Jason Nov 26, 2007
Mike Caruso
Mike Caruso  
I have never liked the crowds on this climb, but we decided to give it a run on Saturday of rendezvous weekend. Expected large crowds as we had to park on the loop road at Pine Creek. Arrived at the base of P1 at 11:00 am and there was no one on the climb. Weather was perfect and it made for a relaxing quick climb. As far as the moves past the bolt, I think they are solid. I didn't see the need for any gear until the rap anchors. Probably says more about runout Adirondack slab climbing than it does the Cat. Rapped off without any problems. A good day. Just goes to show you can never tell if it will be crowded or not. Best pitches to lead 1, 4 (roof pitch), & 6 (bolt pitch). The other pitches and traverses detract from the climb. Apr 15, 2008
Lynn S
Lynn S  
Good fun, mellow climbing. We did an off route variation on the second pitch up a shallow left facing corner (about 70 right of the 2nd anchor bolts at the top of the first pitch). It actually was very nice climbing, some hollow rock but fun moves. Only negative is that you have to scramble through some bushes to the left to get to the pitch 2 tree that is the anchor.

When rapping from the top do a short 40 foot rap to anchor bolts at the top of the arete and then an 80 foot rap to the ledge with slung chickenhead, top of pitch 3. Apr 6, 2009
Chris D
the couch
Chris D   the couch
Climbed this route with a friend on Christmas day. Couple of observations:

All the descriptions of this climb call it sunny and warm. It was neither. We were really slow going and actually spent most of the day on the route, and aside from it being a cold day, the sun teased us all day, generally leaving us to shiver in the shade as it moved up and down the route as it peeked out from behind Juniper Peak, always seeming to be just half a pitch above us. All told, we got about an hour and a half in the sun.

Benefit of climbing on a cold Christmas day? There were exactly two other people who climbed this route the day we were on it.

Despite the descriptions here of how easy this route it, if you are like me (less than a year total climbing experience, limited multi-pitch leading, just getting comfortable leading 5.7) you will find this climb varied, exciting, challenging, and a beautiful lead on fantastic rock with spectacular views. Hard to beat.

Note: the same features that make this climb go at 5.6 make conscientious rope management on rappel pretty important. Use a knot that's less likely to get stuck (we used a flat overhand (EDK) but there are other options) and pay attention to where the rope is routed on rappel. We had some trouble with the rope hanging up after tossing, but no trouble at all with it getting stuck when pulling.

We broke the climb up as described by Jerry Handren in his excellent guide book and found it to be a great way to break up the route. The only other party on the rock skipped the traverse to the base of the big crack that starts the final (for most climbers) pitch (pitch 5 in Handren, pitch 6 in the description here). I don't think I'd be comfortable with the runout, even at the grade. Also, the traverse was fun, and gave my second a chance to feel a little of the exposure that you feel on lead, without ever being in danger of taking a big swing (it's relatively easy to protect).

A memorable day on the rock, my first trip to Red Rock, definitely the first of many.

Some pictures and a little bit of a trip report here Dec 27, 2009
Las Vegas, NV
J W   Las Vegas, NV
One option in the late fall/early spring to maximize your time in the sun is to start this route via Cookie Monster (5.7)- it adds three pitches of 5.fun to the route on an east facing wall that gets morning sun (not in the deep winter, though- sun is too low), and meets up at the base of the 3rd pitch of Cat (a short, easy downclimb takes you to the belay ledge)- I personally think that this is the ONLY way to do Cat, as it eliminates the ledgy, so-so pitches and replaces them with outstanding ones.

Do this with a 70m line and you can rap Cat (do NOT rap Cookie) easily with one rope. A 60m also works, but is close on the 3rd pitch and requires about 5-10' of downclimbing on steep 4th class, easy 5th class. (Swing rappellers right to minimize this). Dec 27, 2009
Marley Hodgson
Marley Hodgson   CO
Definitely lives up to the hype. We really enjoyed this as our intro to Red Rocks. Feb. 23rd & 50 degrees with 5 parties on the route but it really wasn't too bad as most of the belays are spacious and nobody was climbing slowly. Would recommend combining 1&2 pitches, nice long 180ft pitch with abundant pro.

We mistakenly climbed a variation to pitch 4. This felt a couple # grades harder than 5.6! We went completely left of the roof. Climbed straight up to far left edge. Passing roof felt 5.7 but reasonably protected. Then the several moves above that on the face felt 5.8+/5.9- with progressively less pro to run out before the climbing relents. Climb 20 or so feet straight up past left edge of roof then take a steep rising rightward line up face. We felt this variation was the best pitch on the climb and definitely added to the spice! The party before us also went this way and felt the same about the difficulty. We only found out about the correct route by the party after us who had watched us and then taken the correct line.

Loved the last pitch has well. Doesn't get much better for 5.6! Steep exposed and fun. Run out on top definitely keeps your attention although really not too hard. Feb 25, 2010
Jay Holland
Marietta, GA
Jay Holland   Marietta, GA
Great route. We linked pitch 1 and 2. We also linked 5 and 6. did this on a Thursday and it was still a crowded day. Good Belay stations , but still lot's of waiting if crowded. We had a group of Four in front of us and from start to finish it took almost 6 hours on the rock. We leap frogged them on the rappels at the end by utilizing the bolts 110 feet from the ground. They were setting up on the second pitch beginning for the rap down, and with only two of us we moved ahead and got off the route quicker. Two 60m ropes will reach these bolts from the tree at top of third pitch if needed. Mar 26, 2010
smassey   CO
The upper section is worth doing for a complete ascent to the top of Mescalito. From the top of the 6th pitch, scramble/simul up some 4th class terrain, trending slightly right after about 3-400'. Follow a faint trail up to the col at the top, below the red chimney. Climb the chimney, 5.7 squeeze and either exit onto the left face or continue up the chimney. Pro is sporadic on the face, but the climbing is fun. There is a bolted anchor at the top of the face with slings and rings. From the top of that pitch, scramble more or less straight up to the summit (some cl4). Either walk off into the south fork, or reverse the route and rap(single 70 gets you down with no 5th class downclimbing). If walking off, the route left at the first notch goes, but has several sections of 5th class and a lot of exposed cl3-4. Much better to go further up the ridge to the next notch, and follow the cairned descent from there.
Rabbit's Arete (technical 10+) is a great romp if you're up for it. The face above it's anchors can be climbed at about 5.7R (1bolt, no gear) to the P6 anchors.
A note for climbing this on a crowded day: There are many options for gear anchors, especially at the tree ledge. Feel free to consider using them, so as to minimize the cluster at the rap stations. Also, consider having the second carry the extra rope (should you choose to use one) in a pack, thus minimizing tangles at the belays. Sep 8, 2010
Wasn't a fan of the anchor system at the top of the 4th pitch - replaced it with a more bomber anchor around the Huge rock instead of just the flake on the top of the rock. Oct 10, 2010
smassey   CO
Apparently someone decided to restore it to it's original state around the top of the block. It can be backed up with a red camalot, if you're worried. Since a leader fall on the traverse pitch would produce a downward pull, you're not going to lift off the slings. Also unlikely that a leader fall on Rabbit's Arete would jerk someone up enough to pull the slings off. The slings up higher serve as a much better belay station anyway. Since most folks prefer redundant anchors, with the slings as you set them, folks would've needed two of their own cordalettes to encircle the upper block. And if one was being used in the anchor below... Dec 2, 2010
NickinCO   colorado
In regards to the top of the block being slung at the top of p4. Up and left of the block is also a good crack to build a gear anchor with a couple finger sized cams and a stopper. Worked fine for us back in november. Feb 9, 2011
Ryan s Nelson
Salt Lake City, Ut
Ryan s Nelson   Salt Lake City, Ut
I have tried to make sure this wasn't already mentioned but couldn't see it anywhere... When rapping, DO NOT rap from the top of the 5.10 arete bolts down to the tree anchor (top of the 3rd pitch). This ate our rope in a finger crack that had to be cut out. Go to the anchors just below the arete, and then down to the tree rapel. Mar 10, 2011
Josh C
Somewhere out West
Josh C   Somewhere out West
I was a bit disappointed with this route. Despite what I've heard, it was good, but not great except for the last pitch. We did have fun on this climb, but it just seems overhyped. Perhaps it's because you can climb 5-6 pitches of 5.6 in a beautiful setting. Not many other places you can do that. Jul 4, 2011
Absolutely agree that Cookie Monster is the preferable alternate start to the normal first two pitches.

A great intro to red rocks, though one must arrive early. It will be crowded.

Also, take a single 70m. it will work by itself to rap but even more likely you'll be able to team up with someone else to share ropes and rap down faster anyway. Also, you can do Cookie Monster in two pitches this way, too. Nov 13, 2011
Ok since no one has posted clear info on the full ascent I figured I'd chime in.

Climbed the entire route today, as follows.
P1 fairly long, up to the big ledge
P2 belayed from that ledge anchor, didn't relo the belay. Went up to a nice spot 15 feet above the slung tree and belayed from gear anchor
P3 up the steep wall to the slung block anchor
P4 diagonal up and right, clipping first bolt of that 5.10 variation. There's plenty of gear and this alternate is not R rated. This takes you easily to the top of where most people climb in four pitches.

From here we unroped and scrambled obviously up. There's many choices but they probably go to similar spots. You may need to trace back if you go the wrong way, we did once. After a few hundred feet the climbing got steeper so we roped up again.

P5 we did a belay up some easy fifth class to a large tree of top of the ridge. From this belay point you can see the ominous looking red chimney pitch leading to the summit.

From here you have to scramble over to the base of the chimney and build an anchor. We chose to go to the right side , where nice 12 inch ledges walked across. The exposure is extreme though, there's about a thousand feet of air next to that little walkway, and you do need to make a few climbing moves. I think most parties will want to belay this pitch also

P6 the chimney pitch. Starts Up into the squeeze chimney (packs are absolutely no go here). After about 10 feet of chimney work you can stem out onto the face and start climbing up again. Do not stay in the chimney. The final bolted anchor is up at the top of the climbers left textures face.

The descent we used was the rap route down the steep gully. Cairns lead to it. There's some very large prominent cairns where it begins. Five total rappels. Jan 9, 2012
smassey   CO
And this provides more clear information than the previous descriptions how??? Glad you had a good time! Jan 10, 2012
Nelson Day
Joshua Tree, CA
Nelson Day   Joshua Tree, CA
Note: the anchor at end end of the pitch 5 5.3 traverse pitch is a gear anchor. Mar 5, 2012
Portland, OR
marmots   Portland, OR
We found a slung block at the end of the P5 traverse. It's about 10 ft right of the major crack you follow on P6. Mar 6, 2012
William Nelson
Cave Creek, AZ
William Nelson   Cave Creek, AZ
Unbelievably fun. Someone coming up Cookie Monster beat me to the crack on pitch 6. Everyone was friendly so no big deal, but was still frustrating because if I made the crack five minutes earlier, it would've cut off 1.5 hours of our climbing/rapping and we would've been in parking lot before dark. Just expect crowds because it is such an amazing climb. I thought smearing past bolt and gaining crack at top of last pitch was maybe 5.6 R, It's "heady" not hard. I was tired, I had rope drag from traverse, and it has 20+ foot potential fall/skid on smears and slopers after 600 feet of easily protected cracks and jugs. Awesome finish to an amazing climb. Apr 9, 2012
I was about one minutes worth of hiking from witnessing the incident, my partner and I were hiking back to our packs after descending from the summit when I heard a scream and a crash.
The victim was being lowered down pitch 1, slack accumulated in the rope somehow, and she fell to the ground. She was in bad shape initially, but during the time it took to get EMS and SAR to the scene she had recovered and was released from the hospital that night. Ended up being a very late night, and a pretty damn scary thing to witness.

A question about the LV fire department - their rescue equipment (litter) seemed a bit dated, and they cut up one of my ropes to tie the victim in. Do they not have funding for their own equipment? Apr 11, 2012
Reno, NV
BruceB   Reno, NV
Really fun climb. At this grade it's hard to imagine much better, so I think it's worth 4 stars. The last pitch is simply a blast.

We entered the park at 6am, got on the climb at 7:30 and had the climb to ourselves until we rapelled down to the top of pitch 1 at 1pm. Here we met four parties all trying to rush up. Crazy! May 2, 2012
Salt Lake City, Ut
rging   Salt Lake City, Ut
Even though I had beta in my pocket and read it a dozen times I accidentally ran the last two pitches together. I forgot to step down and traverse instead stepping up and traversing. That traverse is pretty thin and harder than 5.6 but the worst is the rope drage near the top when you least want it. I wouldn't recomend it unless you didn't get enough excitement to that point. May 9, 2012
Las Vegas, NV
J W   Las Vegas, NV
The trick to avoiding the drag if you link the pitches is more or less soloing up to near the top of the crack on the last pitch. Keeps the rope drag down. Most folks who are climbing Cat, though, aren't going to be up to this.

Double ropes are, of course, another good option. May 9, 2012
Tried to summit and got up the 5.7 chimney pitch but we felt like we didn't have enough time to do it so turned around. We found the scramble up to that point relatively easy. The first half of the scramble we climbed roped up and the last half feels like a very safe scramble. On the way down there are some slings set up to rappel half of the down climbing that we had roped up for. We down climbed the rest with no rope. Not terribly exposed but next time I think I'll rope up or find a way to set up a rap to get down to the rap anchors of cat in the hat.

While scrambling I pulled off a huge hand hold which looked and felt bomber. Gotta be careful up there. Nov 5, 2012
austin ely
Las Vegas, NV
austin ely   Las Vegas, NV
While rapping this route yesterday we snagged our rope twice and had to rely on a soloist who was behind us on rappel - thanks, dude! - so I'd recommend splitting the descent into as many raps as possible and downclimbing a bit on the huge terrace to gain the bolted anchor. Typical chickenhead & crack snag hazard on the bumpy sandstone.

Regardless, though, this climb was well worth the descent: amazing climbing in a beautiful setting on surprisingly solid rock.

And if you're the soloist who passed through our party on a munter yesterday, hit me up. I need to buy you a beer for the snag fixes. Mar 11, 2013
ben jammin
Moab, UT
ben jammin   Moab, UT
I would like to solo this thing this weekend and go all the way to the top. Do I need two ropes to get down? The description of the rappels are long. Can I do it with my 60 m tag line? Thanks in advance. Mar 11, 2013
Doug Hemken
Madison, WI
Doug Hemken   Madison, WI  
The walk-off is a gorgeous scramble/hike ... I've done it three times. See the main "Mescalito" page. Mar 11, 2013
smassey   CO
MIYG, no and yes. The rap from the top with a 60 will require a little downclimbing. Make sure to hit the rabbit's arete station. Otherwise, rap station to station. NBD. The rap off the pancake belay to the tree ledge will come up short - swing climber's right, then downclimb a not exposed 5.4ish move. As Doug says, the walk-off is pretty chill, but make sure you go far enough. The first notch with a cairn has some 5.4ish downclimbing. Mar 12, 2013
My wife and I climbed this route on 4/10/13 (a Wednesday). It had rained two days prior so we spent the day after the rain scouting out the approach. When we arrived for the scouting mission, there was a party racking up to climb. On the day of our climb, we were at the gate at 6am and made it to the parking lot with no other cars around. By the time we were rappelling from the top of pitch 6 there were a total of five parties on CITH.

Relavent info:

We linked pitches 1&2 (70m rope), but couldn't find the three anchor bolts; they are quite a bit to the climber's right once gaining the very large ledge. They are at eye level on a large flat faced boulder/feature. I kept climbing up the left side past the ledge and slung a boulder for an anchor once the rope drag got to be too bad.

I would skip the slung tree and set a gear anchor at the base of the crack that marks the first really exposed part of the climb (up the brown varnished face toward the slung boulder.) This 3rd pitch is a really fun and exposed. Pro is abundant and there always seems to be the hold you need.

Again, the move off the slung boulder is stepping down, not up.

The last pitch is the best of the route. Very exposed, great pro, and long without too much drag. You can't miss the bolt, and it comes just in time. The slab section was the scariest part of the whole day [but it usually is for trad climbers :) ] The top anchor is two bolts and a chain.

Apr 15, 2013
Wherever we park!
AOSR   Wherever we park!
If climbing this in December and you want sun I think you'd need to be climbing by 9a. The first long pitch and bit of the next will be shady regardless. Rapping with a single 70 was easy. Dec 13, 2013
Joe Baker
Phoenix, MD
Joe Baker   Phoenix, MD
Continued up past Cat in the Hat to the summit of Mescalito. The crux of the extension is a 5th class pitch. Work up the chimney, but stay towards the opening. After steaming up the constriction transition to climbing the south facing wall, right of the arête. The pitch travels up and left of the large roof. Only 4th class from the lead’s belay to the summit. The walk off will test route finding abilities and nerve as the trail is marginally marked with few cairns and the exposure is noticeable at times.
Apr 1, 2014
GenericEric   53913
It's a great climb that i would recommend. However, it is a bit crowed. We got to the park entrance at about 6:15am (they open at 6) and one other party was ahead of us for the climb by the time we parked and hiked in (little under an hour for the approach, would have been much faster if one of us knew exactly where we were going). The first two pitches (skipping the fist anchor) to a slung tree was fun, nothing too spectacular but a good climb none the less. The next pitch is a vertical face that is better protected that it looks. From the base of the pitch a lot of the obvious cracks seem to flare out too much for cam placements, but once you get there, you can usually squeeze a well placed smaller cam or nut in the back of the crack. The next traverse pitch was a little awkward because i wasn't entirely sure what i was aiming towards. Aim towards a big slab around the second corner and you'll be able to see a large slung chock that's comfortable to belay from.

As a side note, i didn't realize that a lot of climbers like to link up cookie monster to the last pitch of cat in the hat, so it's not unreasonable to share the belay and meet other parties there. We meet a very nice party there and had good a chat gearing up for the final pitch.

The final pitch is great. Just know that the anchor is a bit above the black varnished face which provides great protection while climbing the face. After the black varnished face, you climb about ten feet to a bolt. After this bolt however, your gonna have to run it out a good twenty five if not more feet to a crack above and to the right. This part was a bit sketchy, its pretty heady and not being a regular slab climber, it defiantly got my heart rate up.

We spoke with various other parties on the rap down, it seemed like it might be somewhat of a common practice to not do the last pitch because its a bit heady up there. Additionally, there was also a far amount of parties that were bailing as we rapped down. I think it's important to remember that this isn't a 5.6 in your gym, and your gonna have to run it out ten or fifteen feet here and there and be comfortable on lead. I wouldn't recommend the fourth and sixth pitch if you only have a few leads under your belt. Apr 7, 2014
Chris D
the couch
Chris D   the couch
Back to do this a second time this weekend and it was a great romp. Paying attention to the difficulty this time, I would say the traverse under the little white roof on the steep face of P4 is the crux, and every bit of 5.7.

As for skipping the "last" pitch, which is the brown patina face with the slabby sandstone with a bolt to "runout" to the anchors...go ahead, if you want to miss one of the better highlights of this climb. The slab is not hard, and by the time you're high above the bolt, you'll be walking it. Apr 28, 2014
Kevin Heckeler
Las Vegas, NV
Kevin Heckeler   Las Vegas, NV
The trick to many roofs, and this includes the small bulge on Birdland, is to traverse low. Not every feature on a wall needs to be attacked directly. The traverse on pitch 4 on this climb is barely 5th class if done low (properly).

This climb gets busy. You can start at 6AM on a weekday and will still see a long procession of climbers on your rap. It's worth the effort and annoyance if this is your climbing limit, otherwise I'll be doing other climbs and skipping CitH on future visits. In comparison, we saw 1/4 the number of climbers a couple weekdays later on Birdland (and fwiw, Birdland's a better climb). May 5, 2014
Las Vegas, Nevada
Likeasummerthursday   Las Vegas, Nevada
Simul-climbed this yesterday. Brought nuts and doubles from small to 3 plus a #4 so we could run it as long as possible. This route eats pro. Swapped leads once from base to base of chimney...or what we thought was the chimney. Started at 4:30, at the car at 8:45. We spent the most time down-climbing the stuff above pitch 6 after deciding we didn't really know where the route went after that and it getting later without a late-exit pass.

We brought a single 70m and had no problem rapping. The route screams rope-snagger. We were happy to not be pulling a knot I reckon. We rapped from the top of pitch 6 down to the pancake block thing with slings that is just left of the traverse. The ropes just barely reached with maybe a foot of careful down-climbing. Rapped again to the ledge below the wall that is just above the slung tree. Easy 30 feet of scramble/downclimb to the tree. Rapped down p2 and all the way down to the 3-bolt block. Rope just reached. Rapped to the intermediate belay that Handren says to skip on p1 and is climber's right of the route. Rapped to the ground. Bringing a single 70 was perfect.

We couldn't have asked for better temps, starting in the late afternoon. Sep 18, 2014
Damon Cianci  
On the last pitch, I went from the belay ledge straight up to the bolt, then traversed right to the crack system and was able to place gear on the traverse, but by the time I got to the top belay anchors, the rope drags was brutal...

Also, you can single rope length rappel with a 70 meter rope the first 3 rappels, the last rappel requires a double rope length.

We did the route on Dec 18, one other party ahead, another behind and we actually started on cookie monster and finished by meeting up with the last pitch of cat in the hat.... Dec 20, 2015
l rs
l rs  
Having led all 6 pitches, IMHO pitch 1 is by far the most interesting and was the crux for me personally. I have also led Cookie Monster and think that the first two pitches on Cat are way better than either pitch on Cookie. The move to and beyond the bolt on pitch 6 seemed easier than people had described. If you're solid on 5.8 slab it will be a breeze. Nice to see absolutely no other party during our ascent on this warm February day! Feb 6, 2016
Larry Shaw
Boulder, CO
Larry Shaw   Boulder, CO
Linked 1/2 and 5/6. I thought Pitches 1, 2, 4 and 6 were great and memorable, but the other two pitches detracted from the climb making it overall 3 stars. I'll head up Cookie Monster next month to link up at the top of 3 to compare, but I enjoyed P 1/2 of CiTH. Double ropes got stuck rapping top pitch while pulling EDK. Used a 3:1 ratchet which finally moved them. Feb 17, 2016
I thought I'd contribute some better approach directions. It's very, very easy; if you're getting lost, you're doing it wrong. This I know from experience!

-Park at Pine Creek Canyon parking lot
-Take the main trail
-Stay on the main trail
-Almost right at the base of mescalito, the trail splits. There is a big triangle laid out with rocks--you can't miss it. Take the left fork.
-Follow the most-traveled path. A few times it might get hard to follow, but look for rocks laid out pointing you in the right direction. People have done a really good job marking this trail.
-Some scrambling in the last few minutes, and you're there.

People have done a really good job marking this trail. It's the fastest approach and respectful of the preserve to boot, so there's no reason not to take it. Mar 25, 2016
Fort Collins, CO
Kurtz   Fort Collins, CO
I finally got around to climbing CitH. To make it interesting, we decided to top out on Mescalito and walk off. Here are some things you should consider if you want to do the same thing:

1. I was surprised at how much farther one must climb to reach the summit (about 8 additional pitches). We were the first party to summit after the big April rains and encountered tons of loose rock, debris and sand. The climbing above CitH is harder than the route itself. We stayed roped up until after the summit chimney pitch.

2. Routefinding to the summit was trickier than I expected. I think we were too far left at times.

3. The walk-off is well-cairned but you need to be alert to avoid missing some of the turns.

4. The walk-off is long, tiring and pretty darn sketchy in a few places. Several 5th class downclimbs on small holds with serious consequences for failure and no convenient way to set up a quick rap. Not for the faint of heart!

5. When the cairns appear to guide you into a deep chimney with a big chockstone, do not go there! Instead, continue down the sketchy slab skiers left of the chimney until you find the first rapp bolts at the very end. All the sketchy stuff is over after the two rapps. A single 60m rope works well.

6. We were very happy to reach Pine Creek. The water was running and it was gorgeous!

Our times:
40 mins hike in
CitH 2.5 hrs.
3 more hrs to reach the summit
2 hr 15 mins to walk-off to start of route
30 mins hike out
10 hrs total car-to-car Apr 25, 2016
I didn't think linking pitch 5 and 6 (ie not doing the 5.3 traverse, but taking the 5.6R variation) wasn't that bad. Pretty exposed, but big holds and great feet. If you're good with traverses at the Gunks, this was pretty chill.

I also clipped first bolt of the 5.10d with an extended draw and then maybe it was maybe 15 ft of traversing until I placed a red C3 in vertical pocket with another long sling. I think you could've picked different gear a few feet in either direction. I didn't place anything else until I got to the vertical crack for p6. I think I could've placed some more pieces before, but didn't feel the need. Didn't have much rope drag at the top doing it this way. I think maybe the toughest move in the traverse was a little after I placed the c3 as well. Dec 5, 2016
Brianna Chrisman
Brianna Chrisman   Stanford
There is one pitch where it is very run out (like 50 ft) without a #4 cam. The moves are very easy, mostly 5.3 with maybe one 5.5 move but it might be nice to have a #4 nonetheless.

Really nice route, and also really crowded. There were 3 parties on the tree belay station at one point.... May 17, 2017
Bryan Eyers
Rockville, MD
Bryan Eyers   Rockville, MD
Handler's numbering groups Pitch 1 and 2. For all rope lengths, during the rappel don't miss the Pitch 1 anchors described here on MP!

Rappel w/ 70 m rope notes:
  • From top of Pitch 4 (slings around rock) a 70 m rope will just barely touch the ground at the base of the Pitch 4 crack. There is perhaps 10 yards of unprotected scrambling to get down to the tree anchors from here, but it felt safe.
  • From Pitch 3, descend all the way to the Pitch 2 anchor terrace to avoid down climbing the weird boulder problem.
  • From Pitch 2 you MUST hit the anchors at Pitch 1 and to do so you need to come down from the East (climber's right), not the crack you climbed up to the terrace from.
  • From the Pitch 1 anchor described here on MP, one 70 m rope is sufficient.

Two 60 m rappel note:
  • You still need to stop at the top of Pitch 1 or you will be about 20 ft short!! We saw another party get stuck this way as we were going up. I believe they were confused by Handler's book, which lumps Pitch 1 and 2 together.

Conclusion: a single 70 m rope works fine for this route, but either way be sure not to skip Pitch 1 anchors on the descent. Jan 10, 2018
Sergey Shelukhin
Seattle, WA
Sergey Shelukhin   Seattle, WA
As of last week the "slung boulder" anchor before the traverse section is very sketchy, I could pull it off the boulder with a good yank and I'd never take a normal lead fall on it (I wanted to do Rabbit Arete, but opted for the traverse so I only pull on it in downward direction). When my partner had to jug to a stuck rope on a rap off it, another guy that was climbing up actually unclipped himself from it judging that to be safer than staying attached :)

The end of the traverse has a much nicer slung boulder, and with many more options for gear in a secure spot so I think it's the best option to go there instead of climbing up anywhere off that sling.

Even though I don't expect I'd climb this route again for a long time if ever, I'd pay for bolts and beer if someone wants to put a bolt anchor there :) Apr 15, 2018
Awesome route, great fun. Shout out and thanks to the NOLS Instructor that freed our tag-lined rope from the last pitch bolts Fri Oct 19th after our rappell, thank you! Nov 4, 2018
Reno, NV
Ancent   Reno, NV
To reiterate, rapping with a single 60 m is doable and easy. Leave the second rope at home; the short rappels were perfect for making sure we had no stuck-rope issues. From the summit, rap toward the slung block, using the intermediate two-bolt rap anchor to get you to the slung block in two rappels. From the slung block, rap climber's right of the 3rd/4th pitch to an intermediate slung block on a semi-ledge. You're aiming for the drainage on the climber's right. From here, it is an easy rap to the tree ledge, and then three straight forward raps to the ground.

We had the climb to ourselves this weekend. Rare. Great route. Dec 17, 2018
Johnny Daines
Ogden, UT
Johnny Daines   Ogden, UT
I lost a number 6 DMM Dragon cam at the top of pitch 4 on 03/24/2019, (BD #4). It’s seen a lot of great summits, including: Wind Rivers, Tetons, and Devil’s Tower, and I’d love to have him back. It’s hilariously overcammed just shy of the anchors. Anyone that’s able to retrieve it, I’ll pay handsomely. NV locals, like Chaz, that are around, with a hammer, see what you can do, then hit me up for a reward. Thanks! Mar 25, 2019