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pelliott


Mar 8, 2003, 9:05 PM
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Registered: Mar 9, 2002
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Red Rocks Trip Report
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We had a great time, and it was a really good learning experience. We mainly learned that route finding isn't easy, and it can make things take way too long.

We camped at thirteen mile campground just outside of Las Vegas on highway 159 which runs into Charleston Blvd. It was a very nice campground with big tent pits and concrete slabs under big picnic tables. I would recommend it to anyone going there. I have heard from others that this campground is the pits, but they obviously have improved it. Everything there was comfortable and clean. The price is good too at just $10 per night. Everything you will need for supplies can be found around the corner of Charleston and Rainbow. There is an Albertson's grocery store, and the Country Inn just south of Charleston has the best multigrain pancakes I have ever eaten. :D

Sunday, March 2nd
The first day we did a climb called Valentine's Day on Calico Hills. We started at the wrong turnoff and the approach took too long. We came down the gully from the first turnoff on the loop road when we were supposed to take a separate turnoff just for Calico Hills that would have gotten us right to the climb. This was a 5.8+ climb which was more like a solid 5.9. I bailed half way up and Kurt finished it. I couldn't decide whether to lie back that corner crack in the dihedral or jam it with a stem at the crux. Thinking back, I think that a jamming stem was the way to go. I do remember being rather nervous when I bailed and had to hang off the cam in the crack. It was making a nasty grinding noise, so I backed it up and it was better after that. :shock: At the top of the climb, a cam walked in and we couldn't get it out. While I was digging for it, I took of one of my jammies and ended up leaving it there too. Not good to leave booty. :( The part that made this one interesting was the native drums that accompanied our climbing the whole time. A group of artists get together there every Sunday to pound their drums. They came over and talked to us a few times and it was a nice touch. Climbing to drums... We also saw some wild burros on the walk back to the car.

Monday, March 3rd
The hike in to Solar Slab took about an hour, and we took about an hour trying to find the start of the climb. The guide book had funky lines in it that didn't even come close to the actual climb. We kept traversing across the gully only to find that we just needed to keep going up the obvious way. We would have been more successful if we just left the guide book in our packs for the gully. It was easy climbing with good pro. On many of the pitches we only put in one or two pieces. The runouts were mainly because the climbing was just easy. On the last pitch of the gully, there is a waterfall in a deep gully that you have to stem up. I hear that most of the time it is dry, but it was very wet this time. Kurt stepped in a pool there on rappel and he was motivated to get down fast with ice cold toes. We started at 9:00 AM and didn't finish the five pitches to the top of the gully which is the start of Solar Slab until 3:00 pm. We decided correctly against starting Solar Slab since we would not have time. We rappeled down with successful prayers for the rope to stay out of the many cracks. While we were getting our stuff together after the climb, a strange animal showed up that looked like a cross between a raccoon and a weasel. It had a striped tail. We stopped at the visitor center later and discovered that they call this animal a ringtail. I think he smelled my Luna Bars that were in my pack and hoped that I might drop one, because he followed us part of the way back. I think that Kurt got a really good picture of the ringtail as he ran across a ledge. We hiked out in the dark and got back to the car with twenty minutes to spare for the 7pm lockout.

Tuesday, March 4th
On the third day, we got a late start, packed up our stuff, and headed for Ragged Edges. It was a bad day for me, and I didn't like the hanging belay after the first pitch. I am kicking myself now because that second pitch and the whole climb in general was a sweet one. On a better day, I would like to go back and finish that climb. It takes all big pro in a really nice hand/fist crack. The crux on the first pitch is about ten feet below the belay where the jugs run out and you have to either diverge away from the crack for about four feet or jam straight up to the belay. Kurt chose the former of these two options while I chose the latter. The second pitch (which we didn't do) starts out in a lie back that goes to a perfect rest point before a hand jam around a roof (That is as far as I could see). This climb has nice jugs around a great hand crack. The sandstone on this one was nice and hard too. We top roped it thanks to some kind climbers before us, but I could tell the cams would hold well in that crack which was almost perfectly straight in spots.

The sandstone was nice and hard, but you do have to be careful and watch your placements. That rock is not the same as granite, and you have to wait after rain at least 24 hours for the rock to dry out. I would definitely like to go back to Red Rocks again.

We also had an interesting side adventure after climbing on Tuesday. We kept going on the Willow Springs turnout after climbing Ragged Edges and ended up on a nasty dirt road that at times was not a dirt road at all, but just a dry creek bed. We had no idea where we were, and we ended up on the other side of the mountain. My GPS said that the highest point of this drive was 6500 feet which was 300 feet lower than the top of Rainbow Mountain where Solar Slab is. That was almost more scary than the climbing considering we only had a quarter of a tank of gas left in our rental SUV and we could have bottomed out or gotten stuck anywhere along the way. (I am glad we got that SUV rental car) When we got to the other side and were finally back on pavement, we made a wrong turn to a dead end. There had been an obvious forest fire there that burned a very big area. At the dead end there was a mansion with "Torino" over the gate. I did some research later and found out that Brett Torino is a big land developer in Las Vegas, and he runs a charity ranch there at Lovell Canyon. We almost ended up in his back yard which probably would have been bad for us. We then had to backtrack and drive around the south end of the mountains on Highway 160 back to Las Vegas.

Next we stopped in at Powerhouse Gym on Charleston where we each purchased a four dollar shower to clean up for the trip home. While Kurt was showering, I checked out the Desert Rock Sports store next door and found an awesome Mountain Hardware jacket for 50% off. I was also able to purchase a cam to replace the one that we lost on Valentine's Day. That is a really nice store with just about all the gear you will ever need. They even had the Urioste guide book for Red Rocks which I couldn't find online. You can also get a lot of good information by talking to the people working there. We asked them where the best buffet is in town and got the inside scoop that of course the Bellagio has the best buffet. I concur with that because I have never been so full in my entire life as after that buffet. I was in pain! It was really good food. The food was so good that it put us in a stuporous time warp and we had to scramble back to the airport in time to catch our flight. We had gear falling out everywhere as we stuffed everything into our bags and bolted for the shuttle to the ticket counter. I was nervous that the rental car attendant might say something about all the mud in the wheel wells, but my concerns were unfounded.

We slept for most of the flight back to this cold Minnesota weather. We couldn't help but notice whle we waited to board that most of the people on the plane weren't very happy. One couple looked especially depressed. The man was staring off into space with a sad look on his face, and the woman wouldn't even look at him. I wonder why. :? Evidently the people on the plane weren't climbers. :wink:


ikefromla


Mar 8, 2003, 11:08 PM
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Registered: Oct 22, 2002
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aww you're making me homesick. :cry: but i'll be back in vegas for a week in april and all of summer (climbing at charleston, not red rock!) red rock is god.


duskerhu


Mar 9, 2003, 12:27 AM
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Hey Patrick, sounds like you guys had a good time! What's up with only doing 3 routes while you were out there? Must have been some really long stuff eh?

Anyway, you guys opted on the camping instead of the cheap hotel I tak it. Well, at least you got a good meal at the Bellagio. Can't wait to hear the real stories... I assume you'll be at VE Wednesday?

See ya then...

duskerhu


turtlewomyn


Mar 11, 2003, 8:15 AM
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Registered: May 19, 2002
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Hey Pat,
It's your little sister. I read about your trip. You know, I hadn't really heard about ringtails and thought you were talking about a Coatimundi, another raccoon relative from central and South America that is expanding it's range into the SW US (and being introduced in other areas, like down here in Florida). I looked up the Ringtail and read that it is very efficient at climbing cliffs, they will actually ascend narrow cracks by stemming, and will richochet back and forth in larger cracks to ascend cliffs. I thought that was amusing, on your climbing trip you met a non-human climber! :D
Take care,
Kristen


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