When: Sat November 16th thru Tues November 19th, 2013
Where: Red Rocks Park just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada staying mainly at the Red Rocks Campground
What: A long weekend exploring and climbing in one incredible desert
Day #1: The Kraft Boulders:
An early Saturday morning arrival to Las Vegas had us out to the Kraft Boulders before mid-day and right as everyone else decided to show. Pulling into the parking lot we knew that it was going to be a busy day at the boulders which is understandable considering it’s proximity to the city, convenience of parking, and an simple access trail to the huge boulder field surrounding the base of the mountain. After checking out a few key boulders on our hike in we settled in at a isolated boulder in the Gateway Canyon section where we spent several hours exploring the area’s problems.
As the day quickly progress the shade quickly engulfed our location. We moved back around the bend to the main cluster and played around on many more boulders, met lots of people who were visiting like we were, and had Sasquatch occasionally bark at the roaming packs of pad-people. Additionally we encountered an large amount of an unique flower bush that I was lucky enough to document the many different species observed (link to picture).
Being in the desert this time of the year is a sensory overload. Direct sun with no breeze and it was 100 degrees, 10 mins later as the sun dips behind the peak you have to put on pants and a heavy jacket.
Day #2: Windy Peak Boulders:
Bumping down a dirt road for 20 mins is apparently all we needed to separate ourselves from the hustle and bustle of the previous day. After being around 50-70 climbers the day prior it was a relief to be the lone car parked at the trailhead for the Windy Peak boulders. A simple hike through amazing terrain found us at the Fish Head boulder. This 30 min hike was only slowed-down by the youngest dog in the group, Zion, as not having any idea what was causing all of that prickly pain.
Only a dog with the name of Beans would still be smiling during the process of ripping cactus thorns from his pads:
The Fish Head boulder is one of the most beautiful massive chunks of rock I have seen. Perched high on the hillside, it is easy to see from the parking lot and features a corridor of perfect climbs, perfect landings, and a great spot to hang-out in the sun.
Step inside the Fish Head boulder and one begins to see the true beauty. The climbing is a long wall of progressively taller problems ranging in the moderate grade. Overhanging these climbs is the upper mouth of the Fish head making for an impressive backdrop like none I have ever seen before.
The Starting Hold of Bait and Tackle, a perfect V1 with an incredible backdrop:
Chris sending Mas Mu (v6), a striking problem right in the middle of the corridor:
The winter days are short and we climbed as long and as late as our hunger allowed attempting to spend every possible minute absorbing this boulder-strewn valley.
Moving our way back to the car we stopped at the Sting boulder, moving again as the sun began to fade. We scoped the Le Cheval area for future missions and finished out the session in the moonless dark on the Warm-up boulder.
Hiking out the moon rose and lit the path through the thick and wild lands of the desert:
Day #3: Rest Day + Evening Session at Kraft + the Strip:
Monday morning we woke up pretty sore from the previous 2 full days of climbing, packed-up camp, and headed to a local Disc Golf course for some fun. Great little course that was perfect for stretching the muscles but not overly exerting yourself.
Just as the evening began to come upon us we headed back to the Kraft boulders, passing the crowds as they departed. A brief sunset singled as the last climbers left the area and we began our session. We climbed for 3 hours past sunset in solitude spending time on the Potato Chips boulder, the Warm-up Boulders, and the Barndoor boulder.
The Glow of Las Vegas as Chris sends the dynamic Dusty Coffee (v4) on the Barndoor boulder:
High-Fiving an awesome trip:
Three day’s climbing in the Red Rocks desert has really inspired me to make sure I come back and continue to explore.