Type: Trad, 400 ft, 3 pitches
FA: Joe Herbst, Mark Moore, Nov 1975
Page Views: 5,953 total · 35/month
Shared By: Larry DeAngelo on Dec 31, 2004
Admins: Larry DeAngelo, Justin Johnsen

You & This Route

62 Opinions

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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 is the large dihedral on the left side of the EAst Face of Mescalito. It is to the left of Cookie Monster.

pitch 1: go up an easy chimney and belay at a small tree on the right side.

pitch 2: continue up the crack. Sustained climbing up squeeze chimneys and cracks goes past several cruxes. Ultimately a smooth chimney leads to a huge ledge on the crest of the ridge.

pitch 3: Turn right and climb a pleasant (and comparatively relaxed) crack on the crest of the ridge. From the large belay ledge at its top, scramble down and west (class 3) to rappel anchors on Cat in the Hat.


Surprisingly, not much need for big gear; in fact most big gear will not be big enough. Fortunately there are options for a variety of gear from small to hand or fist size. Bring a bunch of this stuff.
Aaron S
Aaron S  
A very fun route. The second pitch is sustained and suprisingly varied for a squeeze chimney. Bring a decent selection of small gear. Dec 10, 2006
Jason C.
Las Vegas
Jason C.   Las Vegas
we did this route this weekend, have to disagree with what was said about not needing any large gear!! we had a No. 5 & 6 cam as well as a green and yellow big bro... placed all of these pieces on the second (crux) pitch... was glad that we had them with us too!!!

I though it was a great route, exciting... a bit scary & highly phsyical! all in all... it's why you climb! Mar 26, 2007
Las Vegas, NV
  5.9+ PG13
J W   Las Vegas, NV
  5.9+ PG13
we had a single rack to 4", and it was well protected- leave the monster gear on the deck.

Also- p2 as described is more like 215' or 220'- definitely bring a 70m or break p2 into 2.

I'd agree with 5.9 on this- joe herbst 5.9, that is! Nov 10, 2008
Andrew Carson
Wilson, WY
Andrew Carson   Wilson, WY
We belayed on a nice but smallish ledge at about 140' on the second pitch. You'd never reach the huge ledge on the crest anyway, even with a 70 m rope, (I think), and the rope drag would take alot of the fun out of it. We liked our standard rack to a #4, and had added stoppers at the suggestion Handren's guide. Maybe a few extra medium and large, not a whole additional set.
Don't forget your kneepads. Mar 4, 2009
Las Vegas, NV
  5.9+ PG13
J W   Las Vegas, NV
  5.9+ PG13
i reached the ledge with a 70m and about 6' to spare- probably the longest pitch i've led! i had practically no drag (although the weight of the rope was noticeable)- but then, i didnt think the pitch was that well protected, i think i ended up using all but two or three stoppers and a couple of cams out of a single rack to 4" and a set and a half of stoppers, which isnt that much considering the length of the pitch.

a great route, though- i'd highly recommend it regardless of how you break it up! Mar 5, 2009
J. Thompson
denver, co
J. Thompson   denver, co
Handren comments in his exellent guidebook book that the second pitch would make a great warm up for Epinephrine....I agree.

Also A standard rack to a #4 works great.

josh Mar 11, 2009
Andrew Carson
Wilson, WY
Andrew Carson   Wilson, WY
Clearly, I stand corrected on that ' 70 m rope' comment. Go for it, I guess. For whatever it's worth, I reached my belay on the second pitch with the #4 cam still on the rack. Saving it for the hard part, perhaps. Mar 13, 2009
Steve Blevins
Central Coast, CA
Steve Blevins   Central Coast, CA
As stated, highly physical. I enjoyed immensely but would not do it again. Leading 2nd pitch, quality of many of the holds at critical points suspect. I found myself trying to distribute my pull between holds to lower chance of disaster. The crux chimney really suckers you off course. Harder and less protected than E. Steve Apr 4, 2009
Pete Bresciani
Pete Bresciani  
Michelle and I did this route today. I should have read the description here instead of just the Handren guide. All I saw was "5.9" and "great warm up for Epinephrine". Epinephrine is the perfect size for tall climbers. Easy and secure. Somehow I didn't see the name "Joe Herbst" and "harder than Epinephrine!". Still a great day but for the tall person, these are VERY narrow squeeze chimneys! I think a better description would be "a good warm up for Unfinished Symphony". :-)

We also used the 70m and had no trouble making the big ledge on the ridge. The rock deteriorates a little on the last pitch (pro is still good) but you're so happy to be out of the chimneys you don't care. Cool moves and some cool hand jams on the last pitch almost made me forget about the squeeze chimneys. Very interesting route that has your attention the whole way.

Keywords: Squeeze Chimneys! Oct 13, 2010
This route is hard. True in the grade at 5.9. The squeeze chimney is narrow enough that my helmet would get stuck if turned my head the wrong way. On the first half of the chimney pitches, there's a sling around a nasty looking chockstone. There's a few committing moves after that, but if you stay calm you'll be fine. The second half of the chimney pitches did not seem to be as hard. May 7, 2011
Climbed this last Spring and it was rad! Definately not for the faint of heart! Physically demanding, no bolted anchors (rarity at RR), and is great to climb on a windy day. 30-40+ mph and we didn't feel a thing.

A herbst 5.9 indeed. Oct 25, 2011
harihari   VANCOUVER
Super, esp P2. Rack-- singles of .3 to #4 camalot and long slings. The chimneys are hard 5.9 Nov 13, 2011
Portland, OR
rpc   Portland, OR
after burlesque the day prior, there were no real squeeze chimney portions here IMHO (correction - Burlesque attempt as my petite 6'6" frame would not fit thru. the narrowest part of that chimney). great route this one! Jan 30, 2012
leeds, ut
fossana   leeds, ut
Used red and yellow ball nuts several times. We broke up P2 into 2 pitches, belaying at a sloping ledge just before the lieback and above the main chimney section (better photo ops and rope management IMO). Nov 25, 2012
Nate Farr
Flagstaff, AZ
Nate Farr   Flagstaff, AZ
Climbed it today and thought it pretty honest for 5.9. I never had to climb it like a bombay, as every time it tightened down you could climb face holds on the outside. We broke the second pitch into two pitches (I recommend this) and took a single rack to #3. If you're comfortable in chimneys at 5.9 you likely won't need anything bigger then #2. If chimneys are foreign you might want bigger gear. Apr 10, 2013
Scottsdale, az
Sayfe   Scottsdale, az
Second pitch is a classic. We broke it into two pitches- first part of pitch II is a classic chimney, sustained, but everything is there. Take big cams,

The second part of pitch II has an excellent combo of chimney, overhang, mantle, some face,... Excellent route.

With catherine conner

Nov 3, 2013
Climbing was great and the chimney was really tight squeeze and very physical, but I think the mantle moves and sometimes thin arete/face climbing coming out of the chimney were harder. Rock quality is not very good, handholds or footholds can break or crumble into sand sometimes. Too many loose rock and sand that you can dislodge if you are not super careful. Watch out for rodents if you have food in your pack at the base, my food bag was chewed through but luckily not my backpack. Sep 12, 2014
Las Vegas, Nevada
Likeasummerthursday   Las Vegas, Nevada
The 5.7 p1 feels like a chill scramble looking back.

Pitch 2 is hard, physically strenuous and mentally taxing. I hear John above writing how long this pitch is. It's long and feels longer. I thought the mental crux was moving out of the chimney where it gets too narrow to squeeze at about 130' feet. The move is onto a four-inch ledge with a green alien at your feet and then back in.

A single set to #4 with two full sets of wires seemed right. I'd probably leave the #4 next time. Another vote for leave the big gear at home. It won't be big enough. Extra shoulder-length slings as plenty of the good gear is in the back of the chimney and the rope will be heavy enough as it is when you're swearing if you make it out you'll never climb a Joe Herbst 5.9 chimney again.

P3 is pretty. It's not over till you're at the top. Scramble (downclimb) down and west, about 30 feet down and 40 feet west, til you see a tree with a bunch of slings. This is the tree at the top of pitch 2 of Cat in the Hat.

I didn't think the rock, overall, was too bad. There is certainly some hollow and/or loose rock, but nothing particularly noteworthy.

Great route. Not to be missed. Sep 28, 2014
Jeremy Bauman
Lakewood, CO
Jeremy Bauman   Lakewood, CO
Left a #3 after the slung chalkstone with a DMM biner on it. If you get up there, I'd appreciate it if you send me the cam! Keep the finer and I'll pay shipping. Mar 26, 2015
Derek Field
Derek Field   California
P1: Lots of options for getting up to the tree, all around the 5.7 grade.

P2: I found the crux pitch more demanding than all four of Epinephrine's chimney pitches put together. The main difficulty is getting over the slung chockstone, but be aware that there are 4 or 5 cruxes above that too. It never ends! The process for negotiating the upper half is as follows: squeeze up the chimney until forced to tiptoe out onto the exposed face on thin polished ledges, boulder up to the next ledge, and slip back into the safety of the chimney. Making it the entire 220 feet is totally reasonable for those solid at the grade (ie. don't plug too much gear, and extend everything as much as you dare). Rope drag will make the final roof feel significantly harder than it is.

P3: This pitch is a classic RR cruiser!! Steep face littered with trophy jugs and splitter cracks. I'd give it a 5.8 grade. Nov 14, 2016