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.
I 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). Unfortunately, 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. 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.
But Monday was our own Halloween event — climbing in costume. Michelle 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!
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