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Cookie Monster 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 360', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: Joe and Betsy Herbst
Page Views: 16,176
Submitted By: Francis Baker (fran) on Dec 12, 2004

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (161)
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Sometimes you have to wait in line to get on this ...

RAIN AND WET ROCK The sandstone in Red Rocks is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. MORE INFO >>>


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 of Cookie Monster Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Routes on east face of Mescalito.
BETA PHOTO: Routes on east face of Mescalito.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down Cookie Monster from a belay position ...
Looking down Cookie Monster from a belay position ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down the first pitch
Looking down the first pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: sloping ledge belay spot,
BETA PHOTO: sloping ledge belay spot,
Rock Climbing Photo: At the lunch ledge. Two options from here:  Contin...
At the lunch ledge. Two options from here: Contin...
Rock Climbing Photo: Gwen approaching the first belay.
Gwen approaching the first belay.
Rock Climbing Photo: Route looking up from the big ledge base.
BETA PHOTO: Route looking up from the big ledge base.
Rock Climbing Photo: Mescalito, SE face
BETA PHOTO: Mescalito, SE face
Rock Climbing Photo: The second (or third) pitch of Cookie Monster depe...
The second (or third) pitch of Cookie Monster depe...

Comments on Cookie Monster Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Dec 11, 2016
By Brian
From: North Kingstown, RI
Mar 25, 2006

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. ??
By John Hegyes
From: Las Vegas, NV
Oct 31, 2007

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.
By Doug Hemken
From: Madison, WI
Jan 18, 2008
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13

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.
By scott isaacman
From: Silver Bay, MN
Apr 26, 2008
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

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.
By Debbie Vischer
From: Loveland
Feb 16, 2010

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.
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Feb 17, 2010
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

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.
By Ron Graham
Apr 11, 2010
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

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.
By OKClimber
From: Folsom
Apr 12, 2010

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)
By Peter Blank
From: Grand Junction, Colorado
Mar 20, 2011

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.
By Steve Gade
Apr 9, 2012
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

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.
By Jay Holland
From: Heath , Texas
Apr 22, 2012

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!
By Hendo Henderson
From: Denver, CO
Mar 19, 2013

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.
By Justin.Trayford
Dec 17, 2013

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.
By Thomas Laursen
From: Huntington Beach, CA
Mar 25, 2014

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.
By Alex S
From: Ridgecrest CA
Nov 12, 2014

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.
By Catherine Conner
From: Phoenix, AZ
Mar 1, 2015

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.
By TactiCool
From: Republic Of Korea
Nov 9, 2015

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!
By Nicholas Gillman
From: Las Vegas
May 23, 2016

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. :(
By LeoSpaceman
Dec 11, 2016
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

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.

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