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Deep Space 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 8 pitches, 800', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Joe Herbst and Larry Hamilton, May 1975
Page Views: 4,338
Submitted By: L. Hamilton on Mar 4, 2004

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (9)
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Joe Herbst starts the wide stemming section on Pit...

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


Air temperatures rose well past 100 degrees on the day of the first ascent, but the chimney stayed cool -- hence the route's name. Offbeat and varied, moderate climbing. See Urioste guide for a photo showing the approximate location.

Begin in a deep chimney on the NE side of Mescalito. After two pitches of easy climbing, the chimney widens.Pitch 3 -- Stem the wide chimney to reach a jam crack on the right wall, pass a small roof and belay (5.9).Pitch 4 -- Face climbing leads up and left to a shelf. Belay below an offwidth crack (5.9). An old piton, predating the first ascent, used to exist on this pitch.Pitch 5 -- The offwidth crack.Easier climbing continues for hundreds of feet, eventually moving left into a long hand-sized crack. One final pitch achieves the summit of Mescalito.


No fixed anchors. The FA party took one set each of hexes and stoppers.

Photos of Deep Space Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: In the famous chimney. Photo by Kyle Willis
In the famous chimney. Photo by Kyle Willis
Rock Climbing Photo: Larry Hamilton on the first ascent of Deep Space. ...
Larry Hamilton on the first ascent of Deep Space. ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Routes on east face of Mescalito.
BETA PHOTO: Routes on east face of Mescalito.
Rock Climbing Photo: The upper jam crack on Deep Space
The upper jam crack on Deep Space
Rock Climbing Photo: Approaching the upper jam crack
Approaching the upper jam crack
Rock Climbing Photo: Nondescript terrain in the middle part of the rout...
Nondescript terrain in the middle part of the rout...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 5 is more of a squeeze chimney than an offwi...
Pitch 5 is more of a squeeze chimney than an offwi...
Rock Climbing Photo: Thin face moves on pitch 4
Thin face moves on pitch 4
Rock Climbing Photo: Above the small roof on pitch 3
Above the small roof on pitch 3
Rock Climbing Photo: The old piton
The old piton
Rock Climbing Photo: Don't slip. Deep Space March 2014.   Photo: Kyle W...
Don't slip. Deep Space March 2014. Photo: Kyle W...

Comments on Deep Space Add Comment
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By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Dec 7, 2004
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

This is a really great route. Larry D'Angelo and I did this route a month or so ago and I have to hand it to Joe and Larry H. for the first ascent. This route is 'bold' in a great way. The piton is still there, looking rather mangy, but luckily, there's a nice cam placement next to it. Again, great route!
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Mar 6, 2005
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

This is a neat and challenging route for those looking for a more challenging way to the summit of Mescalito. The 5.9 stemming chimney is very serious and the runout is a long one.

Bring gear to a #4 camalot, as I recall, and a couple of small to medium tricams for the odd pocket.
By Tricamus
From: Culver City, CA
Apr 24, 2012

We did the chimney pitch differently. Deeper in the chimney there is a great (although sandy and somewhat brittle) hand crack in the back left. Jamming and stemming will take you to the roof where you can transfer sides to work your way out of the long horizontal roof. Pro is pretty good, so it skips the "R" rating of the conventional route but adds technical difficulty (5.10+). However, a heady PG13 traverse out of the chimney is dependent on small gear and added rope drag.

Overall, really fun pitch for the chimney lovers out there. Sorry, no photos to add. I was too busy catching my breath.
By Josh Janes
General Admin
Apr 19, 2015

"An old piton, predating the first ascent, used to exist on this pitch."

An old piton, predating the first complete ascent?
An old piton, predating the first free ascent?
Was there other evidence of passage or of a bail anchor? If not, would it be safe to assume the first ascent had already happened (certainly the first four pitches had already been done)?
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Apr 20, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Regarding the old piton-as memory serves, there are actually several fixed pins on the route- the one in question is above the crux chimney, but below more hard climbing (also 5.9), and it's certainly likely that if whomever placed it got that far, they could have quite possibly summited as the spooky climbing is behind you at that point, although the real route finding begins not far above that piton.

Below the piton there are, if i recall correctly, enough drilled angles to get down from the base of the crux chimney to the top of that hill with a single 60m line- can't remember if it's 2 or 3 anchors worth. This could mean a path of retreat for the party that first explored it- the pitons location is such that its also likely the party could have lowered off that pin back to the base of the chimney, then drilled enough angles to get back down safely. Or those angles could have been placed later after Larry and Joe's completed ascent.

It's a good question as to whether Deep Space had been done in its entirety before Larry and Joe got to it. Honestly, after having done the route, I'd be curious if any one of the very few parties to have repeated it followed the exact line that they did- perhaps there are more pins above, just placed left or right far enough that they haven't been spotted?
By L. Hamilton
Apr 25, 2015

The old piton on pitch 4 marked the high point of a previous foray by Joe Herbst, as I recall. There may have been other left gear that we cleaned when we completed the route on our hammerless FA.

On many of the longer routes I did with Joe, he had made earlier attempts with other partners that fell short for one reason or another. That includes attempts on Triassic Sands, Frigid Air Buttress, the first pitch of Rainbow Wall, and -- I think -- the chimneys on Velvet Wall (which nowadays form the crux of Epinephrine).

One notable exception was the FA of Aeolian Wall, which nobody had ever seen up close.
By L. Hamilton
May 1, 2015

Sensing a mystery, Larry DeAngelo started an email exchange with Joe and me about that "old piton" on P4 of Deep Space that I mentioned. Joe's recollection agrees with mine except much more detailed. In his words:

"yes, i do remember placing the piton prior to our first ascent. i believe that i had been up there with jim rosser at least a year before returning with larry. i recall rappelling or lowering off of the thing and leaving a sling and carabiner. a z shaped peg carried a lot of value to me at the time and they seemed to be a particularly good piton for our softer rock or at least so we reckoned. not much of a story but the piton was definitely mine."

As for drilled angles or other ironmongery, those must have been later additions. As the description notes, we left no fixed anchors.
By Larry DeAngelo
From: Las Vegas, NV
May 1, 2015

I've added a photo of the historical piton. I imagine that rappelling off that even when new involved some degree of apprehensiveness. Let us hope this piton remains as an artifact from a bygone era. It is already within a few years of being formally archeological.
By Royal
From: Santa Rosa, CA
Jun 18, 2015

Maybe I'm crazy but the chimney pitch seemed like no big deal to me. It was fun, but required little chimney technique or skill IMHO. HOWEVER, after the chimney and jam crack there's probably 80 feet of hard face climbing right off the small ledge that felt real stiff to me. I'd call it every bit of puzzling 5.10 or so and the first 20 feet is unprotectable. That's the crux. Be warned. YUR GONNA DIE!
By Flavaflav
From: Las Vegas, NV
Jun 21, 2015

Soloed to left side again to a loose steep section, pitched it up and right to a tree. That face climbing section is unlike anything else on the route. Thought the #5 was unneccary after the second time around, and even really small cams seemed overkill which we forgot to bring. Extras in the .3-#1 range was helpful on many long pitches. Take the off width pitch up nearly to the base of the L facing chocolate corner, then the next pitch halfway up the hand crack 200+ ft, then up to the top, 230 ft. there is some loose scrambling for 15 ft above this depending on which way you go after that, seemed reasonable. Done in 6 roped pitches.

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