Climbing and Hiking in Red Rock Canyon, Vegas Baby! ๐Ÿง—โ€โ™€๏ธโค๏ธ

Meet the climbers๐Ÿ˜Š

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Climbing trips are a fluid affair. So many factors have to come together to make these happen. Weather changes, people pop in and out, skin rips and muscle aches can get in the way…. You get the idea.

I tried to remember all this, and temper my excitement for this adventure. But how can you not get excited? Look at the beauty of this place! ๐Ÿ˜Š

The genesis for this trip began months earlier, when our son, Ryan, told us he would be joining us in Tucson for the winter months. Of course, we would be climbing in Arizona, but what else could we do? Ryan had the answer to that! Red Rock Canyon is only a six-hour drive away, and just outside of Las Vegas, so plenty of campsites, hotels and restaurants in the nearby area. So, the planning began…..

 

While Dennis and I drove from Redmond, WA to the Rose bowl in Pasadena, Ryan and his buddy, Elle, would head directly to Arizona (with our cat in their car ๐Ÿ˜ผ), and we would all meet up at our house, in Tucson.

Ryan and Elle spent a couple of days at our house, recuperating from the 22+ hour, marathon drive, with Monti. By the way, the cat did great in the car ๐Ÿ˜ฒ. We were all shocked by that! Which gave the three of us an opportunity to do a little climbing at MT Lemmon.

The following day, Ryan and Elle set out for Red Rocks. Dennis and I would not leave for another couple of days, this gave Ryan and Elle an opportunity to climb without us slowing them down! They are both very strong, and fast climbers!

Finally, we packed our car and set out, I was getting very excited๐Ÿคฉ

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We arrived later in the day, as the sun was beginning to lower. Ryan wanted to send his project, a route called “Yin and Yang“, which turned out to be a 5.11a trad, crack climb found in Gateway Canyon.

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Look at this monster!

The hike to get there was rather steep, but Dennis and I welcomed the chance to move around, after the 6 hour drive. But, when we saw this….๐Ÿ˜ณย gulp!ย ย Ryan asked me to film his attempt.

The hike into Gateway Canyon was quite pretty.

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And Dennis found a great spot to watch Ryan climb

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As the light was fading, it was time for his best shotย ๐Ÿคž

 

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Ryan preparing to climb

Here are a few shots of him sending this!

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And the full video, which is 4 minutes long

The rest of us hiked to the top to check out the anchor Ryan had to build.

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That’s my foot at the top, looking back down to the start of the climb

Pretty cool, huh?! This will never be me ๐Ÿ˜‚ย We all hiked out and had a good dinner!

The next day, it was our turn to lay hands on the sandstone, for the first time! We went to Cannibal Crag in the Calico Basin area. The route I am on is “A Man in Every Pot”. It is only a 5.8, but my first lead on this rock. I would eventually repeat this climb again on the last day of the trip, and was much more efficient on it ๐Ÿ˜Š

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I set the rope for Dennis so he could top rope it.

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Elle took a turn on one of the nearby 5.11 routes

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Dennis and I climbed another of the lower rated routes

Then we went around the corner, to the sunny side of the rock-it was a cool day with plenty of wind.๐Ÿ˜ฌ

These routes on this side were harder, so Ryan and Elle had projects to work on.

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This was also Elle’s last day ๐Ÿ˜”ย Ryan took her to the airport while Dennis and I played around on Caustic, a 5.11b route that we could top rope. We gave it a couple tries but did not send it. Next time!!

Since Dennis and I were on our own for the afternoon, we went back for lunch and then decided some hiking would be in order.

You do not have to be into climbing to enjoy this park. There are tons of hikes, from very easy to quite difficult, to give you an amazing experience๐Ÿ˜„

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As you can see by the clouds building up behind us, weather in the Las Vegas area was preparing to change. We would stay dry through this hike, but forecasters were calling for rain, pretty much any day now.

We made our way to the visitor center, which was basically empty at this time of week and day. We did get our first wild burro sighting!

We toured around the visitor center, but got bored, fast!

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We needed to get out and hike!

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panoramic shot from the visitor’s center

We chose, what we would later come to understand, as the least attractive hike from the visior center. Still, not too shabby!

The next day was “arrival day”, Andy Nelson would be joining us in the afternoon. Since we needed to pick him up from the airport, and the threat of rain was in the air, we opted for another hike, which is faster than a day of climbing. We did a few miles in Pine Creek Canyon.

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We split up here. Ryan and Andy went out to climb for the second half of the day, Dennis and I decided to give them some space. We did want to climb however, so we went to a nearby, indoor gym.

Red Rocks Climbing Center

This is an old school gym, taped routes, but lots of them! We concentrated on bouldering and treated it as a training day. We met up with Andy and Ryan for dinner and said good-bye to Dennis, as he was driving home, to Tucson, early the next day๐Ÿ˜”.

The following morning, I was on my own. Andy and Ryan were off to do a long, multi pitch route, and I would meet them later in the afternoon to climb (if the weather held out ๐Ÿคž). I went for a run, which turned out to be a good cross training moment!

After a late lunch, the three of us returned to Cannibal Crag for some sport climbing.

I really only had time for one lead climb, but I was happy to get out there!

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I was surprised by this run out at the top! The route, “Caliban”, had three bolts and then quite a bit of unprotected climbing to the anchor. It was only a 5.8, ย but still. A fall here would have been a decent drop, and a fair pendulum swing ๐Ÿ˜ฒ, but I sent it.

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Ryan pretty much took the rest of the daylight working on his project, “Fear This Sport”, a 5.12b/c climb. Andy was there for him!

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Ryan did not get this one. And, we were running out of daylight!

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It was actually quite dark, and cold at this point

We hiked out with head lamps and crashed early that night.๐Ÿ˜‚

The following, and last full day, was difficult as the weather was really unpredictable and we were all feeling a little sore from all the activity of the last few days. We started out with a multi pitch in mind, but then aborted when we saw the massive drainage ditches that would control any flash flooding that may occur.

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Andy checking out our options!

This ended up being another hike, but with full gear๐Ÿ˜ฌ

Off to another, safer area, at least from a weather perspective! Dog Wall had several, not simple routes. Andy started off looking for something easy, but we never found it๐Ÿ˜‚

Then Ryan dove in!

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As did Andy!

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I was just a cold belay bitch at this point!!๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

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And photographer,

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This is nearby, Circus Wall. I would like to come back to this one!

We ate lunch and went back to Cannibal Crag for a few last pitches, just as the rain drops began falling.

That’s when the rain hit, hard! Ryan and I decided to end our trip early because sandstone requires a full 24 hours to dry out before you can resume climbing. And, the forecast was for several days of rain.

We had one last half day, so Andy, Ryan and I went back to Red Rocks Climbing Center for the rainy morning.

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While the guys lead, I bouldered and traversed. Another good training session for me๐Ÿ˜Š

Even though it rained, we did get a special treat! Alex Honnold and Brad Gobright were both there, training!!! ๐Ÿคฉย So cool to see climbing celebrities. And, no I did not get pictures of them, I would never bother them that way. I guess you will just have to believe me๐Ÿ’•

Our last official order of business, before driving away, was to have lunch at one of Andy’s favorite restaurants.

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Momofuku is a Japanese restaurant in The Cosmopolitan Casino, located on the strip. It was my first time eating authentic ramen. Wow, pretty good stuff ๐Ÿ˜‹

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We all ordered the same dish! I really liked it, and would definitely go again๐Ÿ˜„

Same with Red Rocks! There are so many climbs, and so little time! Thank you Ryan, Dennis, Elle and Andy, for sharing this adventure with me! Love you allโค๏ธ

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Sallyโ€™s Baking Addiction: December, 2018 Challenge: Gingerbread House๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…๐Ÿผ๐ŸŒŸ

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So, once again, I am getting this post in just under the deadline ๐Ÿ˜‚. Honestly, I should be packing for our trip south, but I really want to keep my Sally streak alive! This past month has been very busy with holiday merriment, visiting with people I won’t see for several months and climbing with the kids. All great stuff, but I need to get back to blogging now๐Ÿ’•

 

This month’s Challenge was to make a gingerbread house from scratch. Sally provided a wonderful video and great recipes for the gingerbread, frosting and royal icing.ย 

My daughter and I have been making gingerbread houses for years. My son was there too, eating all the candy and pointing out all our flaws๐Ÿ˜‰. So this time around, I really wanted to challenge myself to construct something that truly reflected our family. So, what could be better than an outdoor climbing gym at the North Pole ๐ŸŒŸ

My daughter and I headed off to the Candy and Cake store with a rough plan. We knew this would take several days and that we would most likely have to try somethings that would not end up working, but that was ok. We purchased gum paste, fondant, templates, molds and edible paints, we set to work on the figures first.ย 

my daughter made the top row, I made the Santa and last elf.ย 

I love these penguins, but flippers do not make for good climbers๐Ÿ˜‚ We decided that they would be working the front desk!

That was pretty much the first day! We stopped here to allow the gum paste creatures a chance to dry out.

The next day my daughter was called into work, and I was on my own. I began painting these little guys.ย 

I added some elf ears and harness, safety first!
Two of the elves are on top rope and needed harness, while the middle one is bouldering, so he didn’t need one๐Ÿ˜Š
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I also starting baking the gingerbread. I made one batch of Sally’s recipe and got lucky! I was able to get all the pieces I wanted, with a little leftover for some tree shapes.

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The ginger bread is delicious! The little extra trees and bears were quite tasty! The walls need to be transformed into climbing structures. This is where the fondant came into plays. I dyed some white fondant and made marbled colors and one dark “wall”. The fondant was rolled thin and “glued” to the gingerbread with the buttercream recipe.

 

You can see the structured wall on the right, (below) the fondant was pressed onto a brick template. The wall on the left is using the marbling effect only.

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The wall on the right (below) has the marveling effect and pressed with the template. Since this is the bouldering wall, we also wanted to make extra features which was done using Rice Krispies!ย 

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Once the fondant had time to dry, it was time to affix the elves. They also needed ropes and holds wich we made from gum paste and fondant, and painted.

Then I had to turn my attention to the front of the gym! We needed a desk, a sign and the penguin workers!ย 

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I struggled, so hard with the penguin eyes!!! Oh my God! I tried paint, made them out of fondant, nothing looked even half way decent! I ended up buying sugar eyes, and they look stoned๐Ÿ˜ณย 

I do like the name of the gym, “Slay It”, get it?? Sleigh=slay=crush it! I am so clever๐Ÿ˜‰

The desk is made out of Rice Krispies too and covered with pink fondant that was pressed onto a brick template sheet. The smaller trees have frosting decorations and the larger trees….

IMG_9758These are made from melted white chocolate wafers.ย 

So, after 5 days, a ton of trial and error, and the messiest kitchen you could imagine..

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I had to take a panoramic shot to fit it all in one frame! It is more of a diorama than a house, but I am pretty happy with it ๐Ÿ˜…

 

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I had to add some mats, safety first!!

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It is outdoors, so need some snowโ„๏ธ

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Another awesome Sally Challenge in the books! I think I will just do the normal challenge next month!! No extra work for me๐Ÿ˜„ย 

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday ๐ŸŒŸ