TR - The Cat in the Hat (5.6+), The Mescalito, Red Rocks, NV

TR - The Cat in the Hat (5.6+), The Mescalito, Red Rocks, NV

Post by Softma » Wed, 19 Jan 2000 04:00:00

My first TR! - for my latest adventure.

Date: Sunday, January 17, 2000
Location: The Mescalito, Pine Creek Canyon, Red Rocks, NV
Route: The Cat in the Hat, 5 pitches, 5.6+

Ken and I arrived in Vegas Saturday morning, gathered some essentials in
town and headed west down Charleston Blvd to Red Rocks for some
climbing.  The afternoon yielded only some hiking, a quick 2 pitch trad
route and a sport route before it was time to set up camp.

The next morning came after the usual camping rituals, including putting
the rainfly on the tent at 3:30am in the middle of a blustery storm and
enjoying the always entertaining antics of the flaming MSR stove.
Climbing out of the tent revealed the menacing dark clouds churning
behind the ridgelines and the already strong winds.  Perfect day for
climbing!  Our objective was The Cat in the Hat, a 5 pitch 5.6+ trad
route up the Mescalito, the impressive pyramid shaped mound of rock the
splits Pine Creek Canyon.  We figured worst case scenerio - we would
bail if it started raining.

For once, the approach time in the Swain guide proved pretty accurate
and in about 40 minutes or so, after following the creek up the south
branch of the canyon and bushwhacking up the steep talus slope, we found
ourselves at the base of the climb.  A short while later, Ken was racked
up and leading the first pitch - 150 feet of nice 5.5 left leaning crack
to a large terrace.  Shortly after Ken took off, another pair of
climbers showed up and would provide some company for the rest of the

Quick enough, we were at the top of the first pitch, or so we
thought...  After a quick belay from Ken and then a quick hip belay
(never done one of those before) by me, we were on top of the correct
terrace and at the base of the second pitch, 60 feet of nice 5.5 crack
climbing to a ledge with a tree full of rappel slings.  This was my lead
and proved quite fun, including the variation (I think) I unknowingly
pulled for the last 25 feet to the ledge, following a thinner, less
protectable crack than the big one that I realized was just 10 feet to
the left of me once I reached the belay.  None the less, great climbing.

I took the lead again on the third pitch, a 110 foot, 5.6 lead up a
steep fantastic crack.  This pitch includes a series of great, exposed
face moves about half way up when the crack ends at a roof and you have
to move left to gain another crack that takes you to the belay.  On this
pitch, the views opened up and the Vegas strip was just visible over the
low hills across the valley.  The belay was on top of a great, exposed
block, with fantastic views all around.  The only downfall was the
hurricane winds someone had forgotten there at the belay - bastards!

Wanting to leave the last pitch for Ken, I took pitch four, a short 60
foot, 5.3 traverse to the bottom of the final pitch and crack and set up
the belay.  Ken quickly followed, leaving the leader of the other party
pulling into the belay on the top of the third pitch as he pulled into
the belay on the top of the fourth pitch.

The fifth and last pitch is a beautiful 5.6+ crack that splits a steep
black face and ends in white rock, about 20 feet of unprotected climbing
away from the top anchors.  Ken made a great lead and I followed, with
the Mountain Smith hugging my back.  Soon enough we were both sitting on
top of the route, five pitches up, with the peak of the Mescalito rising
another 100 feet or so behind us.  The views were fantastic and hundreds
of feet below us we could see tiny people looking up at us sitting on
top of the windswept rock.

During my second of the last pitch, the party below us started rapping
off, but that wouldn't be the last we'd hear of them.  We started
rapping from the top of the fifth pitch and were right on their heels
the whole way down, even helping them free their stuck ropes in a few
spots.  Hopefully if I ever get in that predicament, there will be a
party above - much easier than getting them unstuck yourself!  Four
rappels later, we were on the ground, quickly stuffing our gear in the
packs and trying to make it out before it got dark and the loop road
closed.  Nothing like running with a 35 lbs pack on your back, in the
dark, after a full day out, but it sped things up a bit and we got back
to the car at 5:45pm, not too bad considering our late start and the
rappeling situation.

Overall, it was a fantastic day, on a great route and the weather even
cooperated for the most part.  I'd recommend The Cat in the Hat - nice
approach, good solid protectable climbing and nice views of the valley
and Vegas.  It was a good introduction to true Red Rocks multipitch

Micah Lauer


TR - The Cat in the Hat (5.6+), The Mescalito, Red Rocks, NV

Post by DevinGrac » Sun, 30 Jan 2000 04:00:00

Why the hell would you carry a 35 lb pack on cat in the hat????????????  What
are you....a gym climber


TR - The Cat in the Hat (5.6+), The Mescalito, Red Rocks, NV

Post by MJLa.. » Wed, 02 Feb 2000 04:00:00


> Why the hell would you carry a 35 lb pack on cat in the hat????????????  What
> are you....a gym climber

Didn't carry 35 lbs up the ***ing route - just to the base.  You'd have to be a
jackass to carry 35 lbs up that route.  By the time you throw in water, lunch &
snacks, a rope, full rack, slings, climbing shoes, helmet, camera, shell jacket,
down jacket, hat, etc... you've got 35 lbs on your back.

Happy Climbing!
Micah Lauer