Blog » Climbing at Red Rocks

21 Nov 2005

Climbing at Red Rocks

Filed under: Personal — paulcook @ 1:27 am

It’s been ages since I’ve posted, but that’s not for lack of things to post about. To start righting this situation, here are some photos of my rock climbing trip to Red Rocks, near Las Vegas, over Halloween weekend.


redrocks05_sunday/Attentive_belayingI went with Michelle, a grad student at Harvard, and Lukasz, a grad student at Stanford. We did a fair amount of climbing in Boulder, Colorado, during TASI (a string theory summer programme) in June, and wanted more: and Red Rocks it was to be.

Red Rocks is a conservation area immediately bordering Las Vegas. It has lots of excellent sandstone climbing. It is also absolutely stunning, with some of the most interesting rock colourings I’ve seen outside of Death Valley. There’s enough climbing for a lifetime, and we were only able to work through some of the routes on five of the walls at only the first two “pullouts” (parking areas). redrocks05_saturday/PA300115Unfortunately, though there are a number of multi-pitch routes, they all seemed to need traditional climbing gear (ie. did not have bolts in the rock all the way up), so we stuck to single-pitch climbs.

We spent four days climbing. This, along with how close we were to Las Vegas, convinced us that a hotel was the way to go. So each day consisted of Holiday Inn Express’s breakfast (including their rather mediocre “world famous” cinnamon rolls), then climbing for as long as daylight lasted. From there it was back to the jacuzzi at the hotel, then the Strip for dinner and for laughing at the casinos and their inhabitants.

As you can see from Michelle’s blog, she has been climbing fairly frequently. Lukasz also gets quite a lot of practice, so I definitely the junior member of the trio. But my gym efforts seem to have paid off, as I got up some (for me) quite tricky routes. I also did some good 5.9 leads.redrocks05_saturday/Descending_from_heaven A lot of the climbs we did were sustained and crimpy, on vertical or slightly slabby walls. This suits me well, as I like being able to think and feel around on the rock without getting overly tired just holding position.

Now, being Halloween weekend, we couldn’t leave the occasion uncelebrated. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to get into any of the Halloween parties on the Strip (partially due to being, well, really tired) — and we forgot the camera, so have no proof of our claims of seeing Elvis everywhere.

redrocks05_monday/68880022_GBut Monday was our own Halloween event — climbing in costume. redrocks05_monday/68880018_GMichelle found a huge moose antler headthing; Lukasz had a long flowing black dress and hair, all of which made climbing equipment interesting; and I was Zorro. On a rock face. With sword. It was awesome.

All told, it was a fantastic trip, and a good release of stress I didn’t even know I was holding. Once my fingers recovered, my climbing has also been better — I managed to lead a 5.10b at the gym last week, which is the hardest grade I’ve ever climbed. I’m looking forward to the next trip!

See all the pictures here!

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  1. Was that sandstone crumbly? I remember reading about how people have slid down Ayers Rock in Australia – obviously clawing all the way, because when their bodies are recovered the fingers are worne down! Loved the Hallowean effects.

    Comment by Sally — 21 Nov 2005 @ 3:23 am

  2. Wow, mom, that’s a great thought. Makes me feel wonderful about carrying on climbing. And no, the sandstone wasn’t crumbly, at least not on the sections that we were climbing. It is still sore on the finger tips though!

    Comment by paulcook — 21 Nov 2005 @ 11:35 am

  3. Hey Paul!

    Good to see you guys out on the rock! I hear from Alexy Mints that you were heading out to Red Rock and it looks awesome!!! Speaking of sandstone; we’re heading back to SA in December which is the height of climbing season and I can’t wait.


    Comment by Jeff — 24 Nov 2005 @ 6:55 am

  4. Hey Jeff, thanks for stopping by! Yes, it was a fantastic trip. But I’m very jealous of your trip in December — I imagine it’ll be great. Send my greetings to everyone I know there!

    Comment by paulcook — 26 Nov 2005 @ 12:07 pm

  5. […] erson should ever have to. Really an excellent trip and hopefully not the last of its kind! More at http://langabi.name/blog/2005/11/21/climbing-at-red-rocks I spent August in Southern Africa. My family and I visited the Victoria Falls (and white-wa […]

    Pingback by Langabi.name Blog » Christmas letter 2005 — 16 Jan 2006 @ 11:45 pm

  6. We’re open to all discussions. But any meeting will have to be on the basis of withdrawing the First Job Contract. There have been five one-day public sector strikes in which millions of workers and students took part. An employers group has warned the protests are starting to hurt the economy. No Pasaran!

    Comment by Linsday Fox — 5 Apr 2006 @ 7:10 am

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