Devo's Climbs

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Red Rocks: Days 1 & 2


Sunday Apr 18:

Got up early to do some cragging at Calico Hills. Started at Panty Wall at 8am in the shade and led:

  • Silk Panties, 5.7
  • The Last Panty, 5.7
  • Sacred Undergarment Squeeze Job, 5.8
  • Brief Encounter, 5.8

(Click on photos to enlarge)

FIRST TIME AT RED ROCKS - LETS GO!




CALICO HILLS


COOL ROCKS


BIG WALLS IN THE DISTANCE


ROSANN CLIMBING SILK PANTIES (5.7)


LEADING THE LAST PANTY (5.7)


We had the entire wall to ourselves until 10am, but eventually it got crowded and around noon we moved over to Magic Bus where I led:

  • Neon Sunset, 5.8
  • Electric Koolaid, 5.9+
  • Blond Dwarf, 5.9

Rosann shot some video of me on Neon Sunset:


Empty when we arrived, it wasn't long before the wall was crawling with climbers.

THE BUS IS FULL


It was also very hot - mid 80's - and shortly after 1pm we called it a day.


Monday Apr 19:

The plan was to hike into Pine Creek Canyon and climb the first four pitches of Dark Shadows (5.8), a classic route on the Mescalito. It's a beautiful approach, following a lush drainage with stunning views of Bridge Mountain, Mescalito, Juniper Peak, Rainbow Mountain and Rainbow Wall.

We left the trailhead at 8am, 45 minutes later we were at the base of the climb.

VIEW FROM PINE CREEK TRAILHEAD


RAINBOW MOUNTAIN, MAGIC MOUNTAIN, JUNIPER PEAK


DESERT FLORA


MESCALITO


DARK SHADOWS


We were the first party on the route - nice!



The solitude didn't last long though - two parties arrived as I belayed Rosann and Kurt up pitch one, an easy 5.5 slab.

LEADING PITCH ONE


ROSANN FOLLOWS


Pitch two was a fun yet interesting 5.6 corner crack: the left side was splitter while the right was all small huecos and pockets. Made for some interesting gear placements. Sandstone is strange stuff.

ROSANN TRAVERSING TO THE ANCHOR, PITCH TWO


Pitch three (5.8) was the money pitch. Crux came right off - a wide, bulging crack with slick black sandstone veneer for feet. I grunted several times trying to place a #2 Camalot to protect it.

WORKING THE CRUX, PITCH THREE


After that it was easier, but the climbing was wild and slightly intimidating - a combination of finger jams and face climbing, at one point on huge jugs carved out of the gleaming black sandstone veneer. Protection was mostly bomber nuts with a few cams where the rare parallel-sided crack was encountered. It was a long pitch too - 120 feet or more. Classic!

LOOKING BACK DOWN AT PITCH THREE


ROSANN & KURT SIMUL-CLIMBING PITCH THREE


The fourth and final pitch (5.8) was much shorter and fairly straight forward - a bit of wide crack with face holds into a short lieback standing up to jugs. The protection was tricky though - the wavy wide crack made it difficult. Before committing to the crux moves, I blindly place a nut into what seemed to be a constriction only to see as I climbed above it that it was actually in a worthless flair. I ended up climbing another 10-12 feet before placing a better but still questionable yellow C3. Then I was on the jugs - game over. Whew!

GETTIN' 'ER DONE, PITCH FOUR


KURT PUTTING THE FINISHING TOUCHES ON DARK SHADOWS


By this time the wall was in full siege - three parties were following us and several others were climbing routes on either side. Craziness! We double rope rappelled to the anchors on pitch two in one shot, then to the ground in one more, though the ropes fell in the creek and got wet. No way to help it though it seems.

CHAOS ON DARK SHADOWS - WHO CALLED IN THE SWAT TEAM?


Another leisurely stroll down Pine Creek Canyon made for a fine end to a fine day. Good times.

WE DUBBED THESE FUNNY LOOKING ROCKS "CHICKEN POX ROCKS"


PRETTY DESERT FLOWERS


More photos: Red Rocks 2010 photo collection on Flickr

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