Apr 8, 2010

Rock Climbing at Red Rock

Cristin and I just returned from an action-packed rock climbing trip/tweetup at Red Rock outside Las Vegas.  We spent 2 days climbing rocks, leaving our hotel around 8am and heading back around 5pm each day.  The original plan was to climb for 4 days, but after day 2 we were a bit worn out and took a day off, and on day 4, rain clouds rolled in at about the same time we did so we had to bail and take advantage of the local indoor climbing gym instead where we found several other disappointed red rock climbers-to-be.

There were about a dozen total climbers in our crew, I met about half of them for the first time on the trip. Hello to @eleddy, @sudarkoff, @adrienneknits, @rockgrrl, @voden, @katiebeth, @tiffanymroyal, @joshuamontague, @chadcat, @JeremyShapiro, and @pwcarey, who took the above photo of me above on the 2nd day.

The trip was fantastic.  I'd driven through red rock once before, but this was a different way to experience the park.  There were unmarked trails in guidebooks which once followed led to hidden cracks chock full of other climbers, it felt like "the secret world" of Red Rock.  This was only our third trip climbing outside of the gym, so it was even more of an experience for us.

On Day 1, we started out the morning climbing several routes at the Magic Bus area, which is actually one of the less red of the red rocks.  A pretty vertical flat face, a great way to warm up.  We heard some thunder in the distance, ate some lunch and as the area started to get crowded we headed on to Black Corridor for the afternoon.  Black Corridor is a area with two vertical walls facing each other, like if you cut a loaf of bread in half and pulled the halves apart just a little bit.  There were a ton of people already here, but there were also a ton of different routes available.  It was a perfect afternoon spot as the two walls gave you plenty of shade when you weren't on the rock.  I tried a fun route that was giving everyone trouble, a 5.10 (in theory) with a specific move about halfway up that none of us could get past.  It required pulling up on a ledge not deep enough to get a whole finger joint onto.

On Day 2, we hit up Panty Wall in the morning whose base was a wide flat ledge above another vertical cliff, so it was a bit nerve wracking for several of us, myself included, when looking down at the drop below.  But the view of the canyon was georgeous and the routes on the wall were lots of fun.  For the afternoon, the group decided to head over to Calico Basin, on the flip side of Red Rock's best formation, but technically outside the park.  We climbed around on Cannibal Crag, a massive boulder with routes on both sides.  Jeremy showed me how to do a pitched route (although only 1 pitch) as well as how to lead belay, as we climbed the route "you are what you eat" with the big crack you can see in the picture to the left.

There were a few people with camera's going all the time, namely Cristin and Peter.  Lots of photos available for anyone interested.  I'm the guy usually in the blue jacket and orange helmet.

After we departed Red Rock, Cristin and I took a side trip to Death Valley for 2 nights.  We did a couple fun hikes, including one through a canyon with extremely smooth marbled walls that get cut by waterfalls in the rainy months, making for some fun little rock slides.  Another hike took us to the base of a small ice melt waterfall at a higher elevation, something I never expected to find in Death Valley.  It was literally a desert oasis.  Wherever the water flowed there was tons of life, but only a few feet away it was dry desert terrain.  There are more photos of death valley here: http://picasaweb.google.com/jennifer.mccain/DeathValleyApril2010


Grace said...

sounds incredible! Thanks for sharing your experiences via blog - I really enjoyed the read

Mark said...

Hats of to Greg, again for having some more photos on the site which reflect some wonderful past memories. I can recall the first time I went on a trip with my geography class, our objective was to look for fossils. It was a hot summers day sticky black tarmac and there were loads of big flying ants all over the UK, We all had to catch the coach from outside my school Claremont High. I can recall admiring some beautiful English countryside on our journey to were the fossils were plentiful:) I cant remember the name of the place were we went but just recall it was something different from the normal life in London. These photos take me back to that time. Its a memory which no money can buy and its like a dream mixed with nostalgia but its a dream I'll always hang onto and always want too.

The second emotion which these photos reflect is my time served in the army. I was in the Royal Green Jackets but then later transferred to the Parachute Regiment, during my time spent there, we were training to be experts jumping out of Aeroplanes and much of the areas we did our building up for that training was in areas like the ones displayed here on this page. I love the one were Greg is just reaching the top of the rock, as I can recall being in that position on many occasions, the ones in the middle of the mountain remind me of positions I have been in with other army colleagues at the time. The final photo at the bottom of the page takes me to now in 2010 as makes me think of my loved one Anna and our 3 month old daughter Maryisa.

Life can move in all directions despite being born in London I spend most of my time in Warsaw in Poland, as I am a programmer much of my work is carried out on the web so living here does not effect my work. Had you asked me would I ever consider living in Poland 10 years ago I would say not a chance in hell. After meeting a lady in London who comes from Poland I am here with her.

Photos cant speak to us directly but they can make us feel emotional and these photos reflect happiness as I can go back in time and remember some good things. They also reflect a little sadness as I wish I could go back in time and change a few things. Thank you Greg, for capturing photos which reflect love light and peace. Mark McGlashan