so yeah, i got ditched by two indian creek crews, dirty bastards, so instead of sitting on my ass, i went to vegas!
the idaho alpine club, based in idaho falls, takes a yearly trip to red rocks, a huge complex of crags near las vegas, nevada. the routes here range from 30 to 2000 feet long. almost seemed to me like a combo of joshua tree and indian creek in a way. lot's of sketchy trad routes, aka my favorite kind of climbing. plus, there was no snow! kinda nice after digging my car out of 2 feet of snow and ice up in montana. plus, with trad climbs, you have to take every route on it's own terms, as 5.8 can be the scariest thing you've ever done, and even though you may cruise 5.10 on a regular basis, you may run into sketchy pro on bad rock and have to bail. the most common accidents tend to be strong 5.12/13 gym climbers fucking up on easy terrain.
(photos courtesy of julie g.)
check out my rad shades! i found these on a rock after crawling through some bushes to the base of the willow springs wall. i kinda got lost... oh, and that's bruce, staring off into the magic that is rock climbing.
there were a pair of sketch fest 5.8 routes here that were really fun. or at least, i thought they were fun. the better of the two is a dead vertical route, with no cracks for the first 30 feet or so. all you get is some big huecos and pods to pull on. i hear you can find a shitty cam placement in these pockets... but the most solid piece i found pulled right away when i tested it... so after thirty feet i found a stopper placement that was pretty bomber, not going anywhere. from here i found 3 more iffy to decent placements to protect the last twenty feet. although the climbing was easy, it was a total mind game dealing with the serious consequences of this route, a game made harder when climbing with a large group watching you. definitely not everyone's cup of tea, but i really enjoy it.
tami-loves belaying at the black corridor. a pretty kick ass little crag in a 8 foot wide corrdor. lots of good easy routes.
julie g. steppin it up and placin' pro! leading a 5.4 at the moderate mecca crag. I hear this route was pretty sketch.
the route directly left was one of the scariest slabs ever, with horrid mank being passed off as bolts (as in a steel bar that had been bent into a hook and riveted to the rock, and there was maybe 3 pieces of protection in 80 feet), loose flakes for footholds, and required creative use of stoppers to add some sense of safety.
dunno what route this is, but the climber is one matt L. who is a total bad ass.
later in the trip, matt and i climbed a route at willow springs called "ragged edges", which is superb. no photos as we were the only two there. i took an alternate start on the first pitch that upped the grade from 5.7 to 5.9+, and it was brilliant, best climbing of the whole extended weekend. anyways, at the top of this pitch, after the finger sized crack died out, is a ridiculously smooth ramp that slants down to the right to join the main crack and the second pitch. not gonna lie, it was pretty tough. matt's limit is somewhere around 5.9 or 5.10, and i was belaying him, standing above on the good holds he was gunning for. he totally pulled it! then he went on to lead the offwidth second pitch, which was really just run out face climbing with a few huge cams plugged in the crack.
jesus, hardest thing ever! i have no idea what this route is called or rated (5.10?), but it was hard. it's an off-hands roof crack, that is, it's too big for solid hand jams, and too small for fist jams, requiring some awkward finagling to find something to pull on. at the lip, you throw a heel over, find a left arm bar, and try to mantle up over until you hit a good hold. pretty burly. the last 70 feet or so is super easy, and due to rope drag created by climbing a roof into a slab, i pretty much soloed the rest of the climb.
but yeah, i also saw the strip for the first time. so outrageous. i've been all over to big cities(mostly in europe), and even with all the pomp and circumstance of those places, nothing is like the strip. crazy taxi drivers that can't do math, huge water cannons in front of the belagio, a courtyard inside the venetian that looks like it's outside... so ridiculous. plus i got to see cirque du soleil preform "LOVE" which is all about the beatles. it was pretty rad, but i think if you were to spend that much on beatles' music from itunes you'd get more enjoyment. still though, it was bad ass. tami-loves even beat vegas on the slots at our hotel, 'the orleans'. she totally won two dollars! WOOT!