Cat in the Hat, Mescalito South 5.6
Avg time to climb route: 2-3 hours
Approach time: 30 minutes
Descent time: 1.5 hours
Number of pitches: 5
Height of route: 500'
OverviewWhen it eventually comes into view, at first glance Cat in the Hat looks unimpressive. A nice first pitch crack leads to broken ledges, trees, and no obvious route. However, hidden above the trees are steep brown walls with awesome cracks, jugs, and a bit of slabby face. With great and consistent climbing, big belay ledges, and an easy rappel down the route, Cat in the Hat is the friendliest and most popular route of its grade in Red Rocks.
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HistoryFA: Bruce Eisner, Joanne Urioste, 4/76.
Historically, Cat in the Hat marked the conversion of George and Joanne Urioste into “Red Rocks climbers.” Even though they had arrived in Las Vegas a year and a half earlier, they had not done much local climbing. This was due to the unfavorable impressions of their first experiences. Thick, hostile flora, unsound rock, and oppressive heat combined to direct their climbing energies elsewhere.
In the spring of 1976 they started scouting the line that would shortly become Cat in the Hat. John Shirley, an airman stationed at nearby Nellis Air Force Base, accompanied them on the original reconnaissance. Miraculously, the climbing experience was the exact opposite of their previous misadventures. Brush was largely avoided. The rock was excellent. And the spring weather was perfect. To top it all off, the climbing was clean, aesthetic, and easier than expected.
They climbed the varnished headwall on the sixth pitch and set up a belay on a tiny stance. The crack above petered out on a white sandstone slab. George led up and drilled the protection bolt that certainly has to be a contender for the title of “most clipped Red Rocks trad bolt.” At the time, it was the only bolt on the route. Since it was getting late, and they were only halfway to the top, they retreated for the day. Ironically, schedule conflicts prevented George from participating on the summit ... [full history for SuperTopo members only!]
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