Meet the climbers😊
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! 😊
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 😼), 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 😲. 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 excited🤩
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.
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….😳 gulp! Ryan asked me to film his attempt.
The hike into Gateway Canyon was quite pretty.
And Dennis found a great spot to watch Ryan climb
As the light was fading, it was time for his best shot 🤞
Here are a few shots of him sending this!
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.
Pretty cool, huh?! This will never be me 😂 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 😊
I set the rope for Dennis so he could top rope it.
Elle took a turn on one of the nearby 5.11 routes
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.😬
These routes on this side were harder, so Ryan and Elle had projects to work on.
This was also Elle’s last day 😔 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 experience😄
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!
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.
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.
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 day😔.
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 🤞). 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!
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, but still. A fall here would have been a decent drop, and a fair pendulum swing 😲, but I sent it.
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!
Ryan did not get this one. And, we were running out of daylight!
We hiked out with head lamps and crashed early that night.😂
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.
This ended up being another hike, but with full gear😬
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 it😂
Then Ryan dove in!
As did Andy!
I was just a cold belay bitch at this point!!😂😂😂
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.
While the guys lead, I bouldered and traversed. Another good training session for me😊
Even though it rained, we did get a special treat! Alex Honnold and Brad Gobright were both there, training!!! 🤩 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 me💕
Our last official order of business, before driving away, was to have lunch at one of Andy’s favorite restaurants.
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 😋
We all ordered the same dish! I really liked it, and would definitely go again😄
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 all❤️