TITLE Climbing in Red Rock Canyon - Day 1 ARROW prevarrow.jpg nextarrow.jpg 26 22 IMAGEDIR images PAGE-HOME /~tad/ PAGE-INDEX ../ 027_25a.jpg 640 429 TEXT-LEFT
Danielle: Here's our first glimpse of Red Rocks in Vegas! We actually woke up real early in the morning (6:00am) to get a good start on the day. We stayed with Carlette, my old roomie from college, her husband Jeff, and brother Frank.
The park was about an hour drive from their house. I was blown away at how the rock formations stretched on and on in the distance. This picture doesn't do it justice. Unfortunately, when the negatives were scanned they came out terrible. I did the best I could to touch them up. TEXT-BOTTOM
Tad: I would consider this to be the first time that I have been in an actual desert. Sure, I've been to Arizona and driven through the desert there, but had I ever set foot in it before this trip? Nope. The first thing I noticed is that the desert is far from being an empty, dead, place. It is full of life. Plants and animals abound.
This shot was taken alongside the road between Las Vegas and Red Rocks Canyon. You can see the stratified color in the rocks that the park is named for. 026_24a.jpg 640 432 TEXT-LEFT
Danielle: This picture came out much better. A different angle from where we are standing. I love the assortment of color on the sandstone! TEXT-BOTTOM
Tad: As Danielle mentioned, this is a much better picture of the rock. Straight ahead, The peak -- half in shadow -- visible above the vanishing point of the road is called Rainbow Wall. Check out a better picture of Rainbow Wall here, in the section entitled On to Vegas and Red Rocks. It has many great, long (around 1300 feet), multi pitch trad routes. One day when my outdoor climbing experience level is much higher, I'll come back do some climbs there. It is a very beautiful peak to look at.
For clarification on the climbing terms, check out one of these climbing glossaries at GORP or MountainZone.com. 025_23a.jpg 420 600 TEXT-LEFT
Danielle: This a shot looking down the Black Corridor. It's an absolutely spectacular spot for sport climbers. The routes are well bolted, plus there is a wide variety of different level climbs.
From reading trip stories on the web, the common theme was getting lost finding the climbing spots. The guidebook stated it would take 15 minutes from where we parked to hike to the corridor. It actually took us a good HOUR! We went way far right and ended up having to back track and ask the hikers we passed where to go. How many people do you think we stopped Tad???
It is well into the day now when Tad took this shot. We climbed mostly up above where the shot is taken from. There were three 5.9+ climbs side by side that we had fun climbing. Tad led all the routes and I seconded. TEXT-BOTTOM
Tad: We must have asked about three groups of climbers where the Black Corridor was before we finally found it. "Black Corridor" is an appropriate name. The area, as you can see from the picture, is a slot canyon which at the widest is about 15 feet from wall to wall. The term black applies because the red desert sandstone is varnished by a smooth black substance. The rocks must have been covered like this for a very long time, because we saw some pictographs at The Valley of Fire State Park which were carved out of the black top layer into the red sandstone beneath.
We climbed two climbs on the left wall (on the right in the picture) of the lower corridor. The climbs were named Bonaire and Bon Ez. Both were rated 5.9+.
In the picture, notice the climber near the top of the right wall. That's where we were. Later in the slideshow you'll see a picture looking back down to the bottom from where that climber is hanging.
Here is a link to some more pictures of the Black Corridor which I found on the web. 024_22a.jpg 420 600 TEXT-LEFT
Danielle: This shot is taken looking the opposite way through the corridor. We climbed mostly off to the left, which you can't see. It's a clear shot of the climber straight ahead hanging from the bolt, who had just taken a *very* nasty fall. TEXT-BOTTOM
Tad: As Danielle said, this shot is looking up the corridor in the opposite direction from where the last picture was taken. You can see someone climbing Rebel without a Pause, one of the classic climbs in the corridor. It is rated 5.11a. Actually, while we were there, the climber you see on this climb fell a few feet to the bolt you see him hanging from, and banged his knee against the rock, possibly dislocating it. I can climb that hard in the gym, and I might be able to toprope it (with a few falls) outside, but my lead climbing ability tops out around 5.10a, a whole grade easier.
Notice all of the white marks on the rock. It is from climbers chalking up their hands to keep the sweat at bay. From the amount of chalk here, you can see that it is a very popular place to climb.
Danielle and I did three routes on the left hand wall (which is really the same wall as the right hand wall in the previous picture). The routes were named Thermal Breakdown, Crude Street Blues, and Crude Behavior. These three climbs were also rated 5.9+, and were great fun. These were our first three routes at Red Rocks, and were a good starting choice. For me, Bonaire and Bon Ez were harder to lead. 022_20a.jpg 640 358 TEXT-LEFT
Danielle: Thank you very much Tad!!! This is what everyone wanted to see, a butt shot. This isn't quite what I had in mind when I asked you to take my picture. I'm about 25 feet straight up, and the top of the climb is another 20 feet or so from here. TEXT-BOTTOM
Tad: I'm at the bottom end of the blue rope, out of frame. Danielle is about halfway up this climb. She is on top-rope, which simply means that someone (in this case, me) climbed up on lead, then built an anchor at the top, ran the rope through it, and rappelled back down. Climbing on top-rope is much safer, because the belayer can take in all of the slack. On a top-rope, when the climber slips, the rope takes their weight before they fall much at all. On lead however, it is a different story. 021_19a.jpg 427 580 TEXT-LEFT
Danielle: This came out really nice. You can see all the chalk marks on the routes. It looks later in the day than it actually is. I wished I had packed a hat and gloves. My hands and body were so cold that Morning I was having much difficulty holding on to the rock. The sun is only really bright where we were around noon then disappears. TEXT-BOTTOM
Tad: As Danielle said, the corridor only got direct sunlight for a few hours in the middle of the day. Let me tell you, our hands were COLD in the morning. For a desert, I couldn't believe how chilly it was. However, I would rather have it too chilly than too hot, so I can't complain too much. We're going back for another climbing trip in May. Hopefully it won't be too hot. You can see the Rebel without a Pause route which two slides back had a climber on it. Also, this shot shows the black varnish on the corridor walls quite well. 020_18a.jpg 640 427 TEXT-LEFT
Danielle: I love how this gives you much more perspective of how vertical and high we were climbing. That's me on the ledge, chalking up and planning my strategy for my next move. TEXT-BOTTOM
Tad: Danielle is the climber on the left. I took this picture one handed, pointing the camera almost straight up while keeping Danielle safely locked-off with my other hand.
You can just make out a bolt on the edge of the ledge below the ledge Danielle is standing on. This climb had about 6 bolts, which I clipped into when leading it. If I had fallen at the furthest distance from the previous bolt (which would be right before I clipped into the next bolt), I would have fallen about 10 feet or so. 019_17a.jpg 640 426 TEXT-LEFT
Danielle: I believe this was taken outside the Black Corridor. There was a great spot for taking in the view while eating lunch or resting. I can't get over the richness of color in the rock. TEXT-BOTTOM
Tad: Actually, this picture was taken from the top of one of the climbs in the lower portion of the corridor. You can see that it widens out a bit at the top. This is looking in one direction from the top of the climb. 018_16a.jpg 426 640 TEXT-LEFT
Danielle: This is rather blurry. However it gives you a feel of how difficult it was to navigate around to our climbing spots. The rock was in many sections that we had to traverse. TEXT-BOTTOM
Tad: This view is looking out in the other direction from the top of one of the climbs. It is a bit blurry because I was clipped into the anchors, and twisted around to take in the view. 017_15a.jpg 640 477 TEXT-LEFT
Danielle: Great shot TAD! We climbed all day Thursday in the Black Corridor. We're still up in the lower section and Tad is obviously at the top of the climb. The climbs are on both sides of the corridor. I told you it was narrow, but way cool!!! TEXT-BOTTOM
Tad: This shot is a continuation of the previous series, looking down from the Crude Behavior anchors into the corridor. You can see from the shadow on the far wall that it doesn't get much direct sunlight. 016_14a.jpg 640 427 TEXT-LEFT
Danielle: That's me below. I'm not sure what I'm doing, but I was having a ton of fun. You can see the rope next to us. Most of the people that day were in large groups and were climbing in the lower section. We're lucky that it didn't get crowded near us. TEXT-BOTTOM
Tad: The continuation of the "view from the top" series. This is a shot looking down from the anchors at the top of Crude Street Blues. That figure with the white helmet on at the bottom of the climb is Danielle. I'm getting ready to rappel, which is why she is not belaying me. The anchors on the left are for the Crude Behavior route described in the previous slide. 015_13a.jpg 640 427 TEXT-LEFT
Tad: Later in the day we were standing on this bolder pile, packing up when this animal, a Ringtail came out from under the rocks, scavenging for scraps of food that people dropped. 014_12a.jpg 640 427 TEXT-LEFT
Danielle: Tad you exaggerate! I was belaying for Tad and out of the corner of my eyes I could see this creature creep down the rocks and then disappear. Before I know it, it's like 5 feet from me. I admit it freaked me out, but only because I had Tad on belay, and I couldn't get a good look and it was closing the distance between us fast. TEXT-BOTTOM
Tad: Here's another shot of the Ringtail. Danielle was belaying me on a climb when it first came out. She was afraid that it was going to attack her. After she realized it wasn't a violent creature, she followed it around (After I was off belay!) on the bolder pile to take pictures. 013_11a.jpg 640 427 TEXT-LEFT
Tad: This is a good shot of the Ringtail's body. The tail is as long as the rest of the body. It has short stubby legs, and big dark eyes. 012_10a.jpg 640 427 TEXT-LEFT
Tad: A final shot of the ringtail. You can really see the big eyes, short snout, and long tail. An animal book I looked the creature up in to identify it said that they are also known as miners cats, because long ago miners would tame them and keep them as pets. They are mostly nocturnal, and love bolder piles and the crevices in rocks. 011_9a.jpg 427 640 TEXT-LEFT
Danielle: We're getting to leave for the day. The park tickets your car if you are not out by 5:00. Tad is so tiny in the distance, but it gives you an idea how huge the rocks were. TEXT-BOTTOM
Tad: Leaving the black corridor, which is on the other side of the wall to the right. The geology is just amazing. 010_8a.jpg 640 503 TEXT-LEFT
Danielle: Another shot of Tad. TEXT-BOTTOM
Tad: You can see that even though we're in the desert, I'm wearing a sweater and long pants. It was cold in the shade, and not hot in the sun. 009_7.jpg 531 640 TEXT-LEFT
Danielle: This shot is awesome!!! This was taken on our trek back to the parking lot. We really had to down climb sections of rock to get back to our car. It's not like there is a trail to follow. You are hiking in and around deep holes and pools of water. In some places we had to take our pack off and lower ourselves down (Tad told me to jump, but I preferred lowering myself as far as possible and then jumping to the ground). TEXT-BOTTOM
Tad: I think this shot came out good as well. The sky, rock, and shadow really bring out the contrast of colors where we were. There were really only one or two places that had some involved scrambling. Most of the rest was just walking over rock. 008_6a.jpg 640 427 TEXT-LEFT
Tad: This is a small cave which goes back about two or three feet into the sandstone. The way the sandstone erodes is very interesting. When it rains, the water hits the rock, and is absorbed. As it is absorbed, it reacts with the chemicals in the rock to make an acid. The acid eats at the rock from the inside out, so you often have these amazing formations inside the caves where the rock was eroded. 007_5a.jpg 640 427 TEXT-LEFT
Tad: Here is another shot of the same cave. The erosion reminds me of one of the outdoor village sets from Star Wars. 006_4a.jpg 637 427 TEXT-LEFT
Danielle: This is looking back the way we came. What an amazing climbing day! TEXT-BOTTOM
Tad: A final view before we got back to the car. This is looking back up the route we scrambled to get to the Black Corridor. The path we followed is basically at the bottom of the "V", up to the edge of the shadow, then left up over the outcropping which has the bush behind it. 005_3a.jpg 640 427 TEXT-LEFT
Danielle: To exit the park, it's about a nine mile car drive that loops around. We pulled over in a particularly popular vista point and Tad took different shots looking below TEXT-BOTTOM
Tad: Las Vegas is not quite visible through the gap in the hills, but it is in that general direction. The red formation in the center of the picture is where we were climbing. 004_2a.jpg 640 427 TEXT-LEFT
Tad: Looking to the right of the last picture, here is the view of the desert valley, surrounded on all sides by beautiful rock formations. Also, as you can see, the desert is full of life. It looks a bit brown in this picture, but I've been told that during some parts of the year it really flourishes. 003_1a.jpg 640 427 TEXT-LEFT
Danielle: I love this one!!! I turned it into a black and white photo, beacause the color was so distorted. TEXT-BOTTOM
Tad: A great shot of the sunset behind one of the peaks. I love the way the clouds, shadow, and light blend. 002_0a.jpg 640 384 TEXT-LEFT
Danielle: I was freezing!!! All I could think was, hurry up and take the picture so I can jump back into the car. TEXT-BOTTOM
Tad: This is the view from the top of the valley at a turnout along the road. The red rocks in the left side is where we were climbing, and Las Vegas is in the distance behind it. This is pretty much the same view as the picture three slides back, but the light and color is much different. 001_00a.jpg TEXT-LEFT
Danielle: Tad doesn't look so warm either :) TEXT-BOTTOM
Tad: The last shot of the day. I'm freezing my ass off in the chilly wind. As the sun set, it really did get cold quickly. What a day!