The stark contrast of this beautiful landscape; Vegas in the distance from Red Rocks.
A few week’s ago Brian Liu, Tyler Kirkland and Yours Truly headed south in search of some warm rock and met fellow ACC members Susan Twitchell and Luc Fortin down in Red Rocks, Nevada.
Logistically speaking it was quite the adventure as we all arrived and left on different dates but we made it work. Brian, who now lives in Squamish ended up flying in from the US and left me questioning his chances of making it in one piece when he posted travel updates on Facebook regarding the poor safety record of the budget airline he used. I drove down lonesome after spending the weekend drinking beer at the Banff film festival and Tyler drove down lonesome a few days later after starting (or finishing?) a car trailer/camper project. Hint; one of the above two activities is more commendable and productive than the other… I leave that for the readers to decide. Susan and Luc were already in Red Rocks and a deserve a big THANKS because they were able to get us all a camping spot before I arrived.
We all had a great time climbing. We went sport cragging, ticked off some the classic Red Rock multi pitch climbs and bouldered. Aside from climbing we drank beer, learned about the environment and history of Red Rocks during evening camp fire talks from the park rangers (who said climbing trips can’t also be educational!!) and also witnessed Luc’s impressive feat of agility as he rescued Tyler’s tent which began to blow away during the start of a desert windstorm.
This was my first time down to Red Rocks and I realised pretty fast there is so much to do! A return in early spring is definitely happening :).
As with all climbing trips and adventures, I always like to reflect on how things went and what I can learn from. There was a lot but a few of the most important are below –
- I may have found something I love more than climbing; tacos. I love tacos and I would travel a ridiculous amount of distance for the perfect taco. I probably should have married a Mexican man but never mind now. The reason it took me an extra day to get the driving done on my return to Calgary may or may not have been related to the fact I made lots of effort to stop off at taquerias on my drive home. I won’t soon forget the sadness I felt having crossed into Idaho realising that epic tacos were now a thing of the past and all I would now get is epic potatoes.
2. Getting off route on one climb taught me a few things for future –
a) Advise your belayer beforehand when it is late in the day and you intend to try and explore new routes during the final pitch of a climb which should be around 35m but ended up being a full 70m pitch.
b) Related to the above when a pitch starts to feel like 5.9/10 R and shouldn’t, you are enjoying the climbing but suddenly find yourself between 10-15m above your last piece, one of your ropes is stuck on something annnnd it’s no longer fun – CONGRATULATIONS unlucky climber you are most likely off route and should have down climbed much earlier. Idiot.
c) If a & b don’t help then c is your only wise option; breathe, laugh, think about the beer after and get your s*** together and figure it out. In my case that involved a lot of laughter and finding some inner psyche to prepare for a scary traverse around a bulge of zero gear to remedy the situation and moving so fast up a steep slabby section of also zero gear as if I had a rocket up my behind. I won’t forget the feeling of relief when I topped out and found a crack for some gear. I may have personally thanked and hugged that rock…we definitely shared a moment.
3) Our ACC Calgary section is fantastic and full of awesome friends. It’s always great to be able to spend time outside and climb with good people!!!
Here are a few pictures from our trip –