Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dark Shadows

A hot day in Red Rocks makes for a great day to climb a route in the shade.  Nothing sweeter than a climb that starts right out of pools of water and climbs into deep dark corners on the north face of Mescalito - the classic line called Dark Shadows. We climbed the first four pitches, which is the the common way to do it as I understand (topping out is a longer affair). And it is 4 stellar pitches of climbing!  The first pitch is an easy romp up some slabby rock with huecos making for good hands and feet.  The 2nd pitch has you liebacking a steep right facing corner and traverses left to a large ledge. The 3rd pitch is the money pitch in my opinion, climbing 120 feet of a fantastic steep corner polished with black varnish on the right face - stemming heaven! The final pitch is considered the crux at 5.8, although I found it easier than pitches 2 and 3.  Keeping your rope dry on the final rappel rope pull is impossible as far as I can figure. But this route is one of the most memorable climbs I have ever done.
Heading up the steep corner of pitch 2
Looking back down the route to the sweet pools of water below (your rope WILL get wet). Yes, this is the desert!

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