Forum Index > Trip Reports > Red Rocks (NV) rock climbing, Dec 23-31, 2017
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radka
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radka
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PostSun Jan 07, 2018 11:45 pm 
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Red Rocks, December 23-31

Our initial plan for this trip was to spend half the trip in Red Rocks then head over to Zion and Bryce. We ended up spending the entire trip in Red Rocks because the weather was incredible sunny and high 60s every single day. All the locals said it was unusually warm and some cited a weather record of 100+ days without precipitation. Additionally, once we started climbing on the sandstone, it was too mind-blowing to stop. Prior to this trip, I finally abandoned my Windows Phone for an iPhone, and the Mountain Project app ended up being a great addition to finding all the routes and getting beta on them.

Saturday, December 23 Calico Hills; Viagra Tower: Winger (5.6) and Woofer (5.8)

After a day and half of driving, we finally arrived in the late afternoon. The Red Rocks Scenic Drive Road (13 miles, one-way road) closes at 5pm every day, so we only had a small amount of time to start getting acquainted. We stopped at the "First Pullout" and walked about 5-10 minutes to the closest crag, Viagra Tower, for a nice quickie. We set up a top rope that worked for both routes and starting getting aroused. Then we headed out of the park to grab a campsite at Red Rocks Campground, which were going fast. From here, civilization is only 5 minutes away.

Winger and Woofer routes
Winger and Woofer routes

Sunday, December 24
Tuna and Chips Wall: Calico Hills; Chips and Salsa (5.3) and The Minnow (5.8)

We went back to First Pullout for some more climbing. Chips and Salsa is a suggested first Red Rocks trad climb, 2 pitches. Radka led the first pitch and I the second. There isn't much to the second pitch and I was a little confused about where to climb. It ends up being 1 class 5 move and class 4 slabs. Then a walk-off back the base. Most people climb the first pitch and rappel from chains. Then we climbed The Minnow which we top roped. It's a nice a route and allows for many variations. We had the fortune of climbing next to a guide and he told us about the geology of the rock. All the black varnish is "Mother Nature's spray paint" and the rock is harder than the surrounding sandstone. As such, it erodes slower. It's weird trusting the spray paint rock at first, but soon we realized this is where all the good hand and foot-holds are often found.

The First Pullout
The First Pullout
Chips and salsa, p1
Chips and salsa, p1
Walk-off
Walk-off
The Minnow (5.8, TR)
The Minnow (5.8, TR)

Calico Hills; Panty Wall: Silk Panties (5.7), The Last Panty (5.7), and Panty Prow (5.6)

Then we took a little 20-minute walk over to Panty Wall. Here we climbed a number of moderate sport routes, getting used to leading on the rock at a higher grade. The wall is pretty popular and west facing. Panty Prow is a very cool route that follows an arete. I belayed Radka up, then we both rappelled off.

walking towards Panty Wall
walking towards Panty Wall
Panty Wall in action
Panty Wall in action
Chris on the Last Panty
Chris on the Last Panty
climber on a route next to us
climber on a route next to us
Panty Prow (5.6)
Panty Prow (5.6)
Panty Prow
Panty Prow

Monday (Christmas Day)

Calico Hills; Moderate Mecca: Penny Lane (5.3) and Abbey Road (5.4)

Since the Scenic Drive wouldn't open until noon on Christmas Day, we went over to south and east side of Calico Hills, which is accessed from a private road. We were attracted to Penny Lane because it was a moderate trad climb and described as chossy. Sure, it was chossy, but whoever wrote that, doesn't really know what choss is. The route is a full rope length, so we chose to walk-off. Right next to it is Abbey Road, another easy trad climb, that very closely resembles the first pitch on the South Face of Ingalls. This one ended at chains and we rappelled back down.

Merry Christmas in the trunk of a car!
Merry Christmas in the trunk of a car!
rest stop views
rest stop views
Moderate Mecca ledge
Moderate Mecca ledge
Penny Lane (5.3)
Penny Lane (5.3)
top of Penny Lane
top of Penny Lane
Calico Basin
Calico Basin
Abbey Road (5.4)
Abbey Road (5.4)

Calico Hills; Cannibal Crag: Cannibal Crack (5.4)

It took about a half hour to walk over to Cannibal Crag from Moderate Mecca. A nice single pitch trad climb is here surrounded by difficult sport routes. No one was on the trad route. The route ended up being a bit stiffer than 5.4, mostly at the start. It ends at chains and we rappelled.

Cannibal Crack (5.4)
Cannibal Crack (5.4)
climber next to us
climber next to us
rappelling Canibal Crag
rappelling Canibal Crag

Calico Hills; Jabba the Hut Rock: Hans Soloing (5.4)

The Star Wars fan in us wouldn't let us pass up a climb on this rock. The route ended up being more like 5.0 and very easy. We walked off.

Hans Soloing
Hans Soloing

Calico Hills; Red Springs Rock: Badger's Buttress (5.6)

This single pitch route was mixed, some trad and a few bolts where protection was not existent. Radka led up. I noted the route next to it had a #1 BD Camelot left behind. Radka lowered me back down but I couldn't work it loose, though I think I got pretty close. After chatting with a friend and seeing a video on getting out stuck cams, I think I could next time. We walked off and spent another 20 minutes getting back to the car by moonlight.

Badger's Buttress
Badger's Buttress
it's run out!
it's run out!
:D
biggrin.gif
boardwalk below
boardwalk below

Tuesday Cat in the Hat (5.6)

Pine Creek; Cat in the Hat is one of the classics. As such it is quite popular. It's a 4 or 6-pitch climb, depending on how you break it up. When we arrived, 3 parties were ahead of us. As we started the route, 2 more came in behind. We ended up climbing the route in 4 pitches, linking pitches 1-2 and 5-6. The route is a pretty sustained 5.6. It is probably the best route I have ever climbed. There is lots of discussion about how to descend the route 60m ropes, 70m ropes, double rope rappels, walk-off. None of the discussion says team up with another group for double rope rappels. That is what we ended up doing. We were able to get back to the cars under moonlight again by 5:30. Fortunately, none of us had a ticket on our cars for late-exit. It is possible to call the Ranger Station and get a late-exit (2 hours after the road closes) or overnight permit for certain routes.

view of pitch one
view of pitch one
pitch 3
pitch 3
Pine Creek Canyon
Pine Creek Canyon
Chris is having a good day  ::)
Chris is having a good day  smile.gif
new friends rappelling the route
new friends rappelling the route
our new friends at the second rappel
our new friends at the second rappel
Chris rapping from the top
Chris rapping from the top
view of pitch 3 (steep!)
view of pitch 3 (steep!)
rappelling pitch one
rappelling pitch one

Wednesday
Stone Quarry; Parking Lot Area: Fender Bender (5.6)

Fender Bender is a nice single pitch trad route. The approach is a little ridiculous though 1 minute from the car. The crux about halfway up, getting out of the crack and on to the face. Rappel from the top off chains.

Fender Bender
Fender Bender
all of the approach in this photo  :lol:
all of the approach in this photo  lol.gif

Willow Springs; Ragged Edges Area: Crooked Crack (5.6), Diplomatic Immunity (5.5), Revoked (5.5), Tonto (5.6), Go Ahead, OK? (5.5)

We spent the rest of the day climbing here and in the shade. There are lots of moderate trad routes to be had here. The rappel from the top of Tonto can be done with a 60m rope and it just barely reaches. A party rappelled Crooked Crack before us, off a 70m rope, but it got stuck when they pulled it, so we freed it for them when we climbed the route.

top of Crooked Crack
top of Crooked Crack
starting Revoked
starting Revoked
Tonto
Tonto
Tonto
Tonto

Thursday Oak Creek; Solar Slab (5.6) via Solar Slab Gully (5.3)

Solar Slab is another multi-pitch classic. It's somewhere between 9-13 pitches depending what you climb to get to the route, how you link the pitches on the route, and how you want to descend. Given the short days, we started a little after 6am. Luckily, we had the route to ourselves the entire day. We ended up simul-climbing Solar Slab gully (3-4 pitches) in a little under an hour and a half. There were other parties climbing Johnny Vegas (5.7) to the base of Solar Slab but we arrived there a good 2 hours or so ahead of them. Then we climbed Solar Slab in 8 pitches to the top, since we decided we would do the "walk-off", which still consists of 2-3 rappels. As luck would have it, another party topped out on a different route as we were scrambling over to the walk-off. Once again, we joined ropes, and were able to do 2 double rope rappels, before walking the entire rest of the way back. The Oak Creek drainage is cumbersome boulder hopping experience though, so the hike out wasn't exactly a straight shot.

Oak Creek at sunrise
Oak Creek at sunrise
first light
first light
our route on the left side
our route on the left side
Solar Slab
Solar Slab
Solar Slab Gully
Solar Slab Gully
Solar Slab, pitch one (5.6)
Solar Slab, pitch one (5.6)
pitch one
pitch one
Chris squeezed to the top of pitch 2, success!
Chris squeezed to the top of pitch 2, success!
looking up pitch 5
looking up pitch 5
ready to lead pitches 5 and 6
ready to lead pitches 5 and 6
walk to the last pitch
walk to the last pitch
top of route selfie
top of route selfie
walk-off
walk-off
at the first rappel
at the first rappel
walking to the creek
walking to the creek
Oak Creek Canyon
Oak Creek Canyon
Oak Creek drainage (no water)
Oak Creek drainage (no water)
sunset
sunset
our route
our route

Friday
First Creek; Romper Room Area: Guise and Gals (5.4) and Girls and Buoys (5.5)

wild burros
wild burros
cuties
cuties

We started a little later this day since the day before was pretty big. All the climbing was on north facing walls in the shade. Both the 5.4 and 5.5 were pretty stiff for their grade, mostly because the sandstone here is very polished.

Guise and Gals (5.4)
Guise and Gals (5.4)

First Creek; First Creek Slabs: Rising Moons (5.5)
This climb was a very enjoyable 3 pitch climb with 2 rappels before a short scramble back to our packs. We again hiked under moonlight. It also shares a descent of the next day's objective, so we wanted to familiarize ourselves with the area.

monitor the growing beard
monitor the growing beard
pitch 3 of Rising Moons
pitch 3 of Rising Moons

Saturday First Creek; First Creek Slabs, Romanian Rib, (5.5)

This little gem sees very little traffic and as such there isn't a ton of information on it since it's not necessary. It is 8 pitches of choose your own adventure and at a very easy grade. It's mostly 5.0 and class 4, with a single move of 5.5 (through "The Wave"). We basically scrambled up easy slabs "class 5 hiking" for pitches 5, 6, and 8. Finding the standard First Creek Slabs descent wasn't too bad and involved 5 rappels back to the 2 from the previous day.

pitch 1
pitch 1
knobby!
knobby!
beautiful and fun!
beautiful and fun!
pitch 2
pitch 2
pitch 3
pitch 3
looking down pitch 3
looking down pitch 3
pitch 4 start
pitch 4 start
"anchor"
"anchor"
pitch 5
pitch 5
pitch 6
pitch 6
lichen sampler
lichen sampler
on rappel
on rappel
rappel off one NUT!
rappel off one NUT!

Sunday Calico Hills; Riding Hood Wall, Physical Graffiti (5.6)

With back to work approaching, we had time for 1 final climb before starting the 18-hour drive home. This one is another classic Red Rock trad climb. There were 2 parties ahead of us. Next to it is a 5.9 classic sport route called Big Bad Wolf that is even more popular. The guide we talked to on day 2 actually put that route up. Graffiti is a 2-pitch climb, the second pitch following a crack with lots of nice jams. As the guide said, if you brought 100 pieces of gear, you could place all 100 on this pitch.

pitch one, zipped it up!
pitch one, zipped it up!
top of route
top of route
Calico Basin
Calico Basin
top of Calico Hills
top of Calico Hills
the First Pullout is below
the First Pullout is below
bouldering problem
bouldering problem
somebody free-soloing pitch one, getting stuck
somebody free-soloing pitch one, getting stuck
routes at Riding Hood Wall
routes at Riding Hood Wall
Bye, Red Rocks!
Bye, Red Rocks!

From the top of the route, we scrambled to the top of Calico Hills for 1 final view of Red Rocks. It was hard to say good-bye to the sun and sandstone. This whole area is like 10 Smith Rocks and if you lived in Vegas you could spend your entire life climbing here, a new route every day. I think for hiking, you could easily spend 2-3 days walking the main trails. After that, several more days depending on how many of the canyons you wanted to explore and boulder hop.

TR: Chris
Photos: Radka & Chris (too busy climbing or belaying for photos on this trip)

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The future is yard birds
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Roly Poly
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Joined: 02 Jan 2013
Posts: 425 | TRs

Roly Poly
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PostMon Jan 08, 2018 8:10 am 
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Gorgeous colors!  Thanks for sharing.  Had no idea there was such interesting terrain around Las Vegas.  Love the Xmas day in the car photo.  I'm sure you would not have it any other way. smile.gif
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Gimpilator
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Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 1236 | TRs
Location: Edmonds, WA
Gimpilator
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PostMon Jan 08, 2018 9:35 pm 
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That's a lot of climbing!  Thanks for all the photos and beta.  Panty Prow was my first ever sandstone route.   smile.gif

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Keep climbing mountains and don't slip!
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Jim Dockery
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Joined: 12 Sep 2007
Posts: 3114 | TRs
Location: Lake Stevens
Jim Dockery
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PostTue Jan 09, 2018 11:17 am 
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Most excellent up.gif  up.gif  I love Red Rocks and need to get back down there with a rope-gun partner.

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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Red Rocks (NV) rock climbing, Dec 23-31, 2017
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