Type: Trad, 1300 ft, 12 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Scott Woodruff, Joe Herbst, Larry Hamilton, 1977
Page Views: 1,413 total · 8/month
Shared By: George Bell on Mar 4, 2004
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


This route was recommended in the old Urioste guide--in 1987 for this reason we elected to climb it instead of Crimson Chrysalis. The problem is that the rock is poor on the crux pitch, making for a freaky pitch. After that the climb is easier, but much bushwhacking and crumbly rock will be found. There are no fixed anchors on this route.

From the parking lot a prominent white tower can be seen on the right side of Mescalito (called Perception Tower). This tower appears in the photo below, it's top is white and in the sun. The route follows cracks that form the left side of this tower. The crux (3rd?) pitch involves white rock, an old bolt, flexy flakes and questionable pro. About 6-8 pitches to the top of Perception Tower. From here find a way through the bushes and ledges to the top of Mescalito (3-4 more pitches). Scramble NW (with a few rappels) back down into Pine Creek (1-2 hours).


Standard rack to #3 Camalot


L. Hamilton
L. Hamilton  
Now this is interesting...I wondered why the route got such a bad rap in Swain's guide. When Scott and I topped out in 1976, we thought we had done some cool climbing. Perhaps the route George did is not quite the same? Has anyone else tried to repeat Centerfold? Key marker: two 1/4" bolts, one of them broken, on the small belay stance just before the crux leftwards traverse. Mar 21, 2004
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
It's quite possible we did a different route, my memory of this is pretty hazy.I forget if we took a camera along or not, I will check to see if I have any slides. I probably shouldn't have given it the bomb rating, it wasn't like the climb goes up a rotten chimney filled with loose blocks or anything. It's cool going all the way to the top of Mescalito and we certainly didn't feel this route was a waste of time. Mar 22, 2004
L. Hamilton
L. Hamilton  
Below is my original route description, written just after the first ascent. As far as I know this has never been published, which might explain later difficulties in finding the route. In my previous note (above), I misremembered the original rating (5.9+) and FA year (1977).

Mescalito, Centerfold, III 5.9+

First ascent April 1977, Scott Woodruff, Larry Hamilton and Joe Herbst The Centerfold is the long crack system a hundred feet right of Deep Space. The route starts and finishes in this long crack system, after venturing out on the varnished wall to its right. Approach up third class chimneys as for Deep Space.Pitch 1 -- Face climbing leads up a short ways to an obvious ledge at the base of the crack system proper (5.8).Ptich 2 -- Climb the right-most of two chimney-cracks above to an overhang. Traverse down and left, around a corner. Difficult climbing up a thin crack leads to another good belay (5.9).Ptich 3 -- Follow the vertical gully above, moving right at its top to a comfortable ledge with a bush (5.8).Pitch 4 -- Climb up a few feet and make an obvious, long traverse to a narrow ledge on the face to the right (5.7).Pitch 5 -- Go up through the varnished section above, then angle up left to a narrow, exposed ledge with a bolt anchor (5.8).Pitch 6 -- Climb down from the left side of the belay until it is possible to traverse a few moves and regain the main crack system. Follow this over a difficult bulge and belay (5.9+).Pitch 7 -- An easy, obvious ropelength to a dirty belay.Pitch 8 -- A strenuous, though moderate, chimney and crack pitch (5.7).Pitch 9 -- Take the smooth, left-hand chimney, simple but not protected. This takes one to ledges marking the end of the Centerfold crack. A disconnected _direct_ finish up the bushy walls above appears feasible, but the FA party chose the less energetic option of hiking and scrambling west on ledges until it was possible to walk to the summit. The climbing on the first six leads is consistently interesting and dramatic. Although the route eases considerably towards the top, the line is maintained. If the bolt anchor on pitch 5 has not been replaced yet, it should be. Mar 22, 2004
manuel rangel
manuel rangel   Arizona
My partner and I did centerfold, or what we thought was it, in early 90s and we were told to look for a white rope hung up on flakes. I remember climbing through a slightly overhung face with lotta flakes and gear left behind. We perservered and ended up doing a scary last pitch on a grainy groove/chimney that I stemmed with hardly any pro, none good. After that, we ended up with a cold bivy. It seems like the same line LH outlines but my memory is fuzzy. The last hard pitch seemed like unprotected 9, coulda used nice big bolts, IMHO. Feb 1, 2007
I did the route in the 90's as well, and was amazed that this was a recommended route. The first few pitches were good but once at the crux it turned lame.

I remember the crux as coming up to a small roof, then going straight up over this into the white, chossy, poorly protected (poor rock quality) 5.10 section. After that the climb continued up uninteresting rock, many bushes, and more low quality rock. We made the direct finish which was simliar to many of the Mescalito's finishes (Heart of Darkness, etc...) up short corners and blocks to the summit.

This ranks up there with the most highly overated routes in Red Rocks such as Community Pillar, Magic Triangle and Geronimo. Not so good, no stars. May 11, 2007
L. Hamilton
L. Hamilton  
I recently re-scanned my old slides and took a close look to figure out where our route went. The topo photo for this entry is wrong, but so was an alternative photo I posted myself, and more recently removed.

Jeremy Handren's guidebook, however, contains a detailed topo photo that matches well with my slides from the route itself -- Jerry must have studied this wall with the original route description in hand, to get it right. The one correction I'd add to Jerry's guidebook topo is that we belayed after the rightwards traverse on P4. The guidebook shows this traverse but does not mark a belay there, so the photo does not match the pitch count of the written description.

That said, the climbing described by George, Manuel and Pete on this MountainProject.com page doesn't seem to fit well with my photos or recollection of the FA, nor with the line Jerry shows. It sounds as if there are several variations on this theme, some of them no fun. Jan 2, 2009
Red Rock, NV
  5.10a R
Tricamus   Red Rock, NV
  5.10a R
Well done to the anyone that's done this route as it's a scary one! The 1st 3 pitches have a much different flavor than the upper pitches. Tons of sections of the super-sandy & brittle white sandstone that keeps you on (or off?) your toes. It's always cool to top out on Mescalito, but I think I prefer Dark Shadows or Deep Space. This is a great route for solid leaders seeking an crowd-free, obscure adventure. I linked P5/6 as the "ancient bolt anchor" is not worth stopping for. Upper squeeze is short but fun! Feb 29, 2016