Peak Climbed: Mexican Hat Rock

Peak Height: 4,521'

Route: Bandito Route

Difficulty: C0

Location: Mexican Hat, Utah

Trailhead: unnamed dirt road

Mileage & Gain: 1 mi & 300 ft RT

Date Climbed: October 23, 2018

Mexican Hat Rock is a classic southern Utah desert landmark. The odd, sombrero-shaped spectacle stands above the San Juan River along US 163 about two miles north of the town of Mexican Hat. The surrounding red landscape is part of the Halgaito Formation, while the hat itself is a more robust caprock of Cedar Mesa Sandstone. Both are part of the Cutler Group.

Because of its location next to a major highway, Mexican Hat practically begs to be climbed. The first recorded ascent was in 1962 by Royal Robbins and Jack Turner, although a pole on top indicated that locals had somehow attained the summit previously. Robbins aided through the caprock via an A4 crack.

In 1981 Stan Mish and Dan Langmade, members of the renegade Bandito climbing group, established an easy aid route to the top by placing five bolts and a fixed piton to surmount the roof. The Bandito Route has become quite a popular climb.

I'd jugged up the Hat before, but had been hoping to go back and lead it myself one day. Opportunity struck in the form of a damp weather forecast. Not wanting to commit ourselves to a multipitch adventure in Valley of the Gods, Mexican Hat was the logical target. Patrik and I took turns leading and following the short pitch. It was Patrik's first aid lead.

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