Saturday, April 7, 2007

Red Rock Rendezvous

Over the last weekend in March, my friends James, Caitlin, Ashlee and I went to the Red Rock Rendezvous in Las Vegas, Nevada for the first part of our spring break. It was a very fun trip, filled with fun and adventure. The best part of the trip was that it went from bad, to worse, to amazing in a really short amount of time.

We left Boulder on March 23rd at 10:30 am. The inital part of the drive went pretty quickly, stopping for gas in Glenwood Springs, and again somewhere in southern Utah. I drove for most of the way out there, except for about an hour where James decided to drive. But he got a little carsick, and I took over. The weird thing about Vegas is that it has this aura about it that lets you know when you are getting close. You could see the light pollution of Vegas, and you could see it from about 130 miles out. It was kind of amazing that there is that much electricity in such a small place, but I guess Hoover dam it pretty dam big. We got to Vegas at about 9:45pm or so, and got to Spring Mountain Ranch at about 10:30 (20 miles west of Vegas on Charleston Blv.), and set up camp and hit the hay.

I got up at 7:00 the next morning to an awesome sight. The sun was just rising up over the bluffs to the east, and huge cliffs were looming over us to the west. Although it was only March, it was sure to be a beautiful weekend. We had some breakfast, and did a little slacklining, and then all piled into the truck to head out to the sport climbing area. I was the only one who had ever done any lead climbing before, and I was the driver, and I was the planner for the trip in general, so it really was a stressful time overall with all that feeling of responsibility, but I managed.

There are three main sport climbing areas in Red Rock Canyon, and the other numerous areas are all mostly either bouldering or multipitch trad bigwalls. (Class III-V all day routes). We mostly climbed at the second pullout in the scenic loop, and did a bunch of easier 5.8-5.10c routes. These were at the "Magic Bus" wall. It was really cool getting to this area because the entrance was in this shaded slot canyon full of really interesting geological features and technical obstacles. The wall itself was really exposed. It was a giant boulder about 70 feet tall and 150 feet wide that was just sitting on this 15 degree slope of rock, which eventually dropped another 200 feet to the canyon floor. This added a really neat aspect to the climbing as the fear factor while leading was essentially doubled due to the overall height of the rock.

We climbed a few routes the first day, and then came back to camp for dinner. While at dinner, there was a dyno comp happening at the portable wall that mountaingear brought, and I got to meet big climbers such as Lisa Rands, Chris Linder, Tommy Caldwell, Beth Rodden, and Chris Sharma. It was cool to be able to hang out with these bigshots. There also was a really cool bluegrass band or rather "newgrass" band, as grandma calls them. We went to bed rather early as we wanted to climb a lot the next day.

The second day we got to the second pullout again, and went to "the gallery" climbing area, and hung out a little while waiting for a turn, but there were way too many people there, so we went back to the "magic bus" area for the rest of the day. We climbed the other routes we didn't have time to climb the previous day, hung out a little bit, and then headed back when we got tired. It was a pretty fun day. After a quick nap at camp, we decided to go to the Vegas Strip to walk around and take in the sights. It was pretty fun, and we went to "Ceasar's Palace" and the "Bellagio" as well as the Coke superstore and "Fatburger". After a few hours of walking around though, we decided to head back. On the way back to the car there was a really neat fountain/water/light show at the lake in front of the "Bellagio" that we watched for a little while.

(The above picture is me slacklining with some pro athlete and the owner of Asana)

The next day we drove back to Colorado after a fun but short trip. We were thinking about going out to Disney Land, but decided against it as we were all plain tuckered out. On the drive back we stopped in Fruita, CO for some gas and James pulled a fast one on me and locked the keys in the car while I was getting some food. I freaked out for a few minutes but it turned out that he actually had the real key in his pocket so we were all good.

It was good to get back and sleep. Overall though it was a really exceptional trip, and I will definitely go back, but hopefully next time I'll be able to stay longer.

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