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Cookie Monster

5.7, Trad, 360 ft, 3 pitches, Grade II,  Avg: 2.9 from 229 votes
FA: Joe and Betsy Herbst
Nevada > Southern Nevada > Red Rock > 10-Pine Creek C… > Mescalito > E Face
Access Issue: Red Rock RAIN AND WET ROCK: The sandstone is fragile and is very easily damaged when wet. Details


On the east face of Mescalito in Pine Creek Canyon there are two large left-facing corners on the south end. This route climbs the second (north) corner. Follow the trail into the canyon. Approach as if going to Cat in the Hat. Head up just before entering the south fork. There are a few thin climber's trails up to the east face of Mescalito. The climb starts atop a small ledge system. We started below this band on its south end and climbed up a short easy chimney to the base of the route. The line is up the corner for two or three pitches (depends on where you build anchors). When the corner ends you can continue up Cat in the Hat or rappel it (CitH) with two ropes. I thought this made an excellent direct way to the good upper pitches of Cat. A good option if Cat is crowded, although it is an all gear route a # grade harder.


A standard rack. If you bring big stuff you can use it.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Sometimes you have to wait in line to get on this route.
[Hide Photo] Sometimes you have to wait in line to get on this route.
Lunch ledge to CitH rappel. Don't climb like guy in photo, walk around photographer and under the tree.
[Hide Photo] Lunch ledge to CitH rappel. Don't climb like guy in photo, walk around photographer and under the tree.
Climbing up start of pitch 1
[Hide Photo] Climbing up start of pitch 1
Beautiful view up-canyon from lunch ledge
[Hide Photo] Beautiful view up-canyon from lunch ledge
Routes on east face of Mescalito.
[Hide Photo] Routes on east face of Mescalito.
The second (or third) pitch of Cookie Monster depending on if you combine the pitches.<br>
(Taken 10/31/07)
[Hide Photo] The second (or third) pitch of Cookie Monster depending on if you combine the pitches. (Taken 10/31/07)
At the lunch ledge. Two options from here:<br>
* Continue up to pitch 5 of <em>[[105732419]]</em> (back through the opening below and to the right of the rope, then up the face).<br>
* Fifteen feet of easy downclimbing to the left takes you to the large ledge at the top of <em>Cat in the Hat's</em> 3rd pitch. From there it's two double-rope raps to the bottom.<br>
[Hide Photo] At the lunch ledge. Two options from here: Continue up to pitch 5 of Cat in the Hat (back through the opening below and to the right of the rope, then up the face). Fifteen feet of easy downclimb…
Looking down <em>Cookie Monster</em> from a belay position at approximately 180 feet.
[Hide Photo] Looking down Cookie Monster from a belay position at approximately 180 feet.
Cookie Monster is the crack in the center of the photo.  Starts on the ledge (scramble up and to the right and then around left at the top).  Pitch 2/3 ends at the small tree at the top on the "lunch ledge". Drop packs around
[Hide Photo] Cookie Monster is the crack in the center of the photo. Starts on the ledge (scramble up and to the right and then around left at the top). Pitch 2/3 ends at the small tree at the top on the "lun…
Valerie above the small roof on pitch 2.
[Hide Photo] Valerie above the small roof on pitch 2.
Route looking up from the big ledge base.
[Hide Photo] Route looking up from the big ledge base.
Belay at top of Cookie Monster from the tree / lunch ledge (end of pitch 2 or 3 depending on how you climb it)
[Hide Photo] Belay at top of Cookie Monster from the tree / lunch ledge (end of pitch 2 or 3 depending on how you climb it)

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

North Kingstown, RI
[Hide Comment] I've done Cat-In-The-Hat a few times and except for the last pitch I don't get the five star rating. Cookie Monster, on the other hand, is, I believe, a nicer line straight up to the last pitch of Cat, it has bomber pro, and it avoids the cluster fugs of people. Maybe Cookie is not so popular because it is not in Swain's book and you have to build anchors. ?? Mar 25, 2006
John Hegyes
Las Vegas, NV
[Hide Comment] In two pitches we were able to climb Cookie Monster all the way to the base of the final pitch of Cat in the Hat.

We scrambled up from the base of Cookie Monster to a nice belay ledge and we had to stretch our 60 m rope both pitches. On the second pitch we passed the usual end of Cookie Monster (big ledge, tree) and followed a nice connector crack up to Cat. Oct 31, 2007
Doug Hemken
Madison, WI
  5.7 PG13
[Hide Comment] Fun route. We encountered about a dozen young big horn on the ledge where you start (I could smell them before I could see them)! In winter the first pitch stays in the shade, but beyond that the leader can catch some sun.

We also did it in two pitches and then continued straight up to and through the last pitch of "Cat in the Hat" (so 3 pitches, total). We then continued on to the top of Mescalito and did the gorgeous walk-off (see the beta on the main Mescalito page), which adds a star to the quality of any route up this side. Jan 18, 2008
scott isaacman
Silver Bay, MN
[Hide Comment] Did this with MG and had a blast. We were the only two on the route: Cat was filled, had a waiting line, and traffic jam with rapping. Apr 26, 2008
Debbie Vischer
[Hide Comment] We also did this in 2 pitches (200 ft for the first from the big ledge) and ~100 ft for the second. The rock was VERY unstable. I had 2 handholds break, unfortunately one was on lead. Took a nice 20' fall onto a nut. Placing pro can be a bit tricky on this route as the rock is very sandy/soft. I think a cam would have blown. Feb 16, 2010
Las Vegas, NV
[Hide Comment] thats odd, as i found the rock on this route to be among the strongest in the park. just right of the route, though- it gets a little soft. also, if you took the left exit up top instead of the right hand exit, you'd have run into the soft stuff.

overall, though- the route is quite solid. i suspect, though, that the last month worth of rain we got coupled with not that much sun probably left this route somewhat damp for quite a while- i noticed the rock was still pretty soft over the weekend- probably wont firm up totally for a few more days. Feb 17, 2010
Ron Graham
[Hide Comment] Debbie might have been off-route. Some friends and I did this in two rope teams of two and found the rock to be excellent. Like some others, we also did this in two pitches. There's one section in the second pitch just below a small roof where the protection gets a little thin, but a thin dyneema sling can be threaded around a sturdy chicken head there. Other than that section, this route is like a ladder with plenty of great holds and pro all the way. My friends and I thought both pitches of it were easier than the last pitch of Cat in the Hat. In any case, we absolutely loved this route, and can't understand why it isn't far more popular than the lower pitches of Cat in the Hat.

For those thinking of going all the way to the top of Mescalito, be forwarned: unless we were missing something, the last pitch is almost totally unprotectable 5.7 with HUGE exposure. Someone might be able to protect that squeeze chimney pitch with Big Bros, but we didn't have any. Apr 11, 2010
[Hide Comment] I climbed this route with Ron and have to agree. Great route, solid rock and, in my opinion, the two pitches here are better quality than the first two of Cat.

We did a single 160+/- pitch to a large sloping ledge on the right wall. Another 170+/- foot pitch led to a belay at a tree at the behind a pillar. I thought this was one of the best pitches for the grade I have done at Red Rock!

From here, we scrambled down and did the third pitch of Cat, but it looked possible to continue up this line and connect with Cat below the large crack on the last pitch of Cat. It appears this may be a more direct and natural line.

Definitly will do this variation again, and will skip the beginning of Cat in the future :o) Apr 12, 2010
Peter Blank
Grand Junction, Colorado
[Hide Comment] Super fun. There is a fairly new BDC4 sized .4 fixed somewhere on the first pitch that my partner couldn't get out. Maybe you can. Good booty. Good luck. Mar 20, 2011
Steve Gade
[Hide Comment] Awesome! 2-3 pitches of steep jugs with pro anywhere and everywhere. Relax and belay in the "sun room" before the dihedral/layback that leads to the final and best pitch of CitH. Apr 9, 2012
Jay Holland
Marietta, GA
[Hide Comment] We did this as well in two pitches. 1st to the big sloping ledge on the right , and then to the top. Easily done with a 70m. I would suggest leaving your gear just above the main trail so you don't have to hike back up to the base of cookie monster after coming down CITH and hiking around. Great Route! Apr 22, 2012
Ryan Henderson
Denver, CO
[Hide Comment] Looks intimidating from every belay you make. But, there is always a good jug right when you need it. I thoroughly enjoyed this route, although we were in the cold shade the whole day (mid February). The last pitch (Cat-in-the-Hat) pitch was intense! Mentally challenging for sure, but totally worth it. Mar 19, 2013
[Hide Comment] Did this gem recently and it is a great climb. I found no bad or questionable rock. Gear was on demand and the climbing was on bomber jugs. You can bring as much gear as you want, it will eat them up especially nuts. I don’t believe you need anything larger than a BD #4. I personally recommend a single set to #4 and 10 slings.
When you get up to the tree you can either, scramble down about 15 feet to an another tree (top of the 3rd pitch on Cat in the Hat) and 3 single rope raps will get you to the base of CitH, OR you can climb up the 4th pitch and on of CitH. I think you need two ropes if you do that though. Dec 17, 2013
Thomas Laursen
Huntington Beach, CA
[Hide Comment] Did this route last weekend in 2 pitches with a 70M. The alcove 10 feet to the right at the top of the first pitch provide's nice shade for a belay. The second pitch is exciting and also ends in the shade atop a ledge and below a small tree. From there, we went up and right on 5.6 terrain, ending at the top of the pedestal where CitH's P5 ends (bolts and LOTS of sun). If you make it that far, you must finish on CitH's P6!

The rap down CitH with a single 70 was easy, but long. 6 raps gets you down...KNOT YOUR ROPES! Be sure to establish the second rap at the bolts you pass on the arete. The second rap gets you to the well-slung pancake. The third rap gets you to the ledge near the top of Cookie Monster. You need to downclimb 15 feet of easy class 4 to reach the 4th rap station. The 5th station is waayyyy to the rappeller's left, and at the end of your ropes. The 6th rappell station is waayyyy to the rappeller's right, at a tree.

The rap with a 70 almost sucks as much as climbing with two ropes, which probably cuts the rappel time in half. Mar 25, 2014
Alex S
Ridgecrest CA
[Hide Comment] I climbed this route on a warm vetrans day, and I have to agree with many other's comments that this is a much better way to reach the best pitches of CitH.

A note on the belay locations:
With a 70m rope we made it to the rap anchors on the top of CitH in 3 pitches, by ending pitch 2 of Cookie Monster up and climber's right of the tree at the "end" of Cookie Monster on a medium sized ledge just under a small roof. Following the weakness and easy(5.5~6) cracks to the right from the tree will put you directly below the crack on pitch 6 of CitH.

Also, don't cheat yourself out of a great adventure, I highly recommend going to the summit of Mescalito via the Big Red Chimney . I found Doug's beta on the descent from the summit posted in the comments on the main Mescalito page to be spot on. Nov 12, 2014
Catherine Conner
Phoenix, AZ
[Hide Comment] This is my favorite moderate yet - works well for a shorter day (you get to sleep in) with the best 5.6 1st pitch ever!!!!! LOVE IT, do it if you're looking for happy fun. Mar 1, 2015
Arin Earl
Las Vegas, NV 89085
[Hide Comment] I did the entire route in two pitches with a 60m. End your first pitch at nice ledge/alcove to the climbers right. Take the next pitch all the way to the top and belay at the small but bomber tree. Fun route and like everyone else has stated... much better start to cat in the hat! Nov 9, 2015
Nicholas Gillman
Las Vegas
[Hide Comment] The advice for a #4 is well warranted there were certainly more than a few instances where I wished I had one haha

Also someone has added a 2 bolt anchor to the first major belay ledge at that approximate 150ish +/- mark. It was fresh out of the box new the rock was still completely covered in drill dust. :( May 23, 2016
[Hide Comment] Great climb for the grade and very secure for a new leader. So fun.

Some advice if you're unfamiliar with it:
- Do it in just 2 pitches. There are bolted anchors at the top of P1 at ~190 feet. At the top of P2 set a gear anchor at the tree.
- Starting the descent from the lunch ledge is tricky but shouldn't discourage you. You need to go left (facing the wall) down the low angle crack to the second set of trees. No chains at the top We rapped down this using a huge horn on the top of the route and got the rope stuck trying to pull it. My suggestion is to carefully down climb (5.5ish) or if you like safety, set up a belay at the lunch ledge and down climb on belay, placing gear to protect a second.
- For the rap, use the image from Handren's book for CitH. It's 3 more rappels to the end of a 70 m rope, and you'll have to traverse a little to find chains.
- I used mostly cams. 2 sets of cams up to #2, single #3 and #4 and one set of nuts. Way more than I needed for nearly 200 ft pitches but this rack felt safe.

Had to do this one in a morning to catch a flight, and it was excellent even without the CitH link up. Go have fun on it. Dec 11, 2016
[Hide Comment] Hello, we did CM on 10-16-17 and I over cam-ed a green link cam. Your welcome to it, just wanted to let you know if was fine when I placed it. If you did recover it, was it a bear to get out?

Take care!! Oct 23, 2017
Tim Sloane
North Las Vegas, NV
[Hide Comment] Did the climb in two pitches (60m rope). The 1st pitch ends at the sloping ledge with two bolts. The second pitch ends at the lunch ledge. We found the "bush" at the top of P2 with a sling and biner attached to it. IMO, don't rap CM. There are just too many places for a rope to get snagged. Go to CitH for the descent. As for the climb itself, it was a blast! I used everything from TCUs to Tri-Cams. If you have somebody that is learning to lead trad, this is a good one to take them on. Dec 21, 2017
Sam Sala
[Hide Comment] Climbed this on Christmas day, 2017...Type 1 fun for sure. Went in 2 pitches easily with a 60m. The slung tree at top of P2 is small but seemed bomber with ample gear for backup. Topped out on Cat in the Hat in another 2 pitches from the tree (straight up vs down scrambling to CitH proper). We rapped CM as there was another party rapping CitH and had minimal issues with rope toss or pulls. Four raps (all were done as double 60m using our rope and a 7mm tag).
-R1: (3) bolt anchor at top of CitH to a slung boulder below and JUST climber's left of anchors (I threw way too far climber's left and ended up on a giant ledge below the boulder - had to unstick ropes a bit then scramble up to it on some 4th class/easy 5th). Basically, I'd say throw over the "arete" from the anchor rather than down the face climber's left.
-R2: short rap from boulder to P2 slung tree (this would definitely go with a single rope, but we already have them tied together, so double it was).
-R3: slung tree to P1 anchor bolts (I slung the upper portion of the tree to make the pull easier - doing it again, I'd probably back this up and have lighter person rap 2nd as if a V-thread). Again, the tree is good but small. Throw climber's right and tie an auto-block. I spent a minute or two freeing rope from chicken heads, but not too bad.
-R4: P1 chains to the ledge with about 10' to spare. Throw straight down from the chains rather than down the corner. A bit of brush to deal with but again, not too bad. Jan 2, 2018
Walter Galli
Las vegas
[Hide Comment] Nice line.. just did it, good surprise at the end of the route 3rd pitch... Apr 5, 2018
[Hide Comment] Did this 4/13/2018 with a threesome as our first trad multi-pitch climb. Have to say it was a blast! Great climbing on solid rock and easy protection the whole way (I climbed the ~190ft first pitch so may not remember the second pitch gear as well).

Pitch 1 ends at a nice ledge with two bolts. ~190ft.

Pitch 2 ends on a ledge with a tree. ~170ft.

Since this was our first multi-pitch, we overloaded with gear. 3x #.4 - #2, 2x #3, 1 #4. 2x nuts. We could’ve placed a lot more pro than we did but we were limited by our 15 draws. Can’t remember exactly, but it was something like 10-12 placements each pitch.

Since we got a late start, we rapped down CitH after finishing pitch 2. Two raps with 2x 70m ropes to the bottom, though first only needs a single rope.

Note, you can walk down from the lunch ledge (top of pitch 2) to the trees slung for CitH rappel top of pitch 3. You just have to walk out towards the edge of the ledge, cut back as it slopes down and hug the wall, crouching a bit under the tree in the ledge. You should be able to continue walking down to the sling tree down and to the left. I felt totally safe and didn’t have to climb anything this way.

Only downside we found was massive rope drag the second half of each pitch. We were hauling two ropes as a threesome which made it that much worse.

All in all, amazing climb and I highly recommend it! I didn’t climb CitH but saw the first three pitches on rappel and Cookie Monster definitely looked a lot more fun, albeit a grade higher. Apr 15, 2018
[Hide Comment] My first Trad lead! Only one party ahead of us on a busy Saturday in April. Did in two pitches with 70m ropes. First was to bolted anchors, second was to the ending tree anchor which I backed up with gear. On final pitch where crack splits into two, take the right crack. From lunch ledge you can walk out and down to a slung tree that is top of pitch three for Cat in the Hat. We rapped down from there. Apr 17, 2018
[Hide Comment] Approached the ledge system using the chimney at the base of Black Widow Hollow because we lacked beta on the scramble approach. While the chimney approach was fun, it was time consuming, so of anyone has beta on the scramble approach being faster, please post.

First pitch felt a bit awkward with big committing moves and odd pro, and took longer than expected. The second pitch was amazing with great pro, big holds and some fun roof moves. Linked up with the last pitch of Cat no problem, but ultimately rappelled in the dark because of the amount of rappel traffic on Cat. Dec 13, 2018
[Hide Comment] Please remove and destroy the orange Sterling sling around the small tree on the 3rd pitch. We rappelled off of it instead of the tree because we were afraid our rope would get jammed between the tree and the rock. Then we pulled a 70 meter rope through the sling so it's definitely wrecked. I just don't want someone rappelling off of it after us. Thanks! Apr 22, 2019