Devo's Climbs

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Red Rocks: Days 3 & 6

Tuesday Apr 20:
With 30 mph winds forecasted, Kurt and I eschewed the big walls and spent the day cragging in The Black Corridor - a popular slot canyon packed with moderate sport climbs. Rosann took the day off and went horseback riding. We climbed:

  • The CEL, 5.9
  • Bonaire, 5.9
  • Bon EZ, 5.9+
  • Thermal Breakdown, 5.9+
  • Dancin' with a God, 5.10a
  • Lewd, Crewd and Misconstrued, 5.9+

KURT TOPS OUT WHILE CLIMBING IN THE BLACK CORRIDOR


I led them all and did an additional lap on TR on The CEL and Dancin' with a God. I particularly enjoyed Bonaire, Bon EZ and Dancin'. Kurt led 757 4x4, a 5.7 farther up the corridor. I felt strong on all the climbs except Lewd, Crewd and Misconstrued, the crux of which was a deceivingly insecure stem-to-face transition in a highly polished corner just above the first bolt - much more difficult than the 10a I'd just onsighted. I hang-dogged the first clip for some time while trying to find the 5.9 sequence, eventually swinging on the draw to gain some holds to the right. After the second bolt the climbing eased significantly, finishing via a fun arete. While Kurt prepared to TR the route, I wasn't paying attention and pulled the rope too far and ended up leading it again - doh! It wasn't any easier the second go around and I hung on the first draw like before. Kind of a bummer end to a decent day. While we packed to go, we watched another guy try to lead it. He fiddled around at the crux just like me, eventually attempting a strenuous lieback move to the second clip, but ended up taking a hard fall onto the first bolt. He didn't ground out, but hit a ledge and collided with his belayer. He tried again, but eventually unclipped his first draw and gave up. He also felt it was trickier than the given grade, which made me feel a bit better for all my flailing. Before we left we enjoyed some Fat Tire Amber Ale (in a can!). Good times. :-)

CRAGGING HEAVEN: THE BLACK CORRIDOR


Friday Apr 23:
Wednesday and Thursday the weather was winter-like: temps in the mid-40's, windy and showers in the Canyon, so Friday was our next and final climbing day. In the morning Kurt and I climbed Cat in the Hat on the SW face of Mescalito. This is the most popular easy multipitch in Red Rocks and we got an early start. We left Pine Creek trailhead at 7am and began climbing just after 8am.

BURROS AT THE TRAILHEAD


FLAKING THE ROPE


I led pitch one, a nice long pitch (5.6) up a leftward leaning crack to a huge ledge with a bolted belay. Kurt led the next, a short, blocky 5.3 pitch up to a tree with slings.

PITCH TWO


Pitch three (5.6) was my favorite: a fun crack to a traverse under a small roof to another thin crack on a face with huge jugs, bomber pro and wonderful exposure. Next was a short 5.3 traverse to the base of a beautiful headwall of polished chocolate sandstone veneer.

THE HEADWALL ON PITCH FIVE


The final pitch went straight up the center of the headwall, following a large crack to a short slabby crux (5.6) past a bolt to a bolted anchor. Superb climbing in a stupendous position.



KURT HIGH ALOFT ON PITCH FIVE


FOLLOWING PITCH FIVE




KURT ON TOP


We topped out at noon - a fun route and we had it all to ourselves! We made four rappels to the base, passing four parties along the way. Good thing we started early! Rosann met us at the trailhead at 3pm and we headed over to the Calico Hills to do some cragging.

We hiked up to Ultraman Wall and climbed Scent of an Ultraman (5.7) and Ultraman (5.8+): both long, sparsely bolted slab climbs. I wouldn't classify them as sport climbs - they were originally put up in the 70's and climbed like they were bolted on lead, with the spicy moves mostly unprotected and the clips made from comfortable stances. Felt a lot like the granite slab routes I was used to in Darrington. Fun! Ultraman was particularly memorable - felt more like a 5.9 (guess that's what the '+' was for back in the day) with several delicate friction moves through the first several bolts, a delightful traverse through an undercling flake up high, and a long "leap-of-faith" runout to the final anchor (hidden from view) with a final trust-your-feet-all-friction move to gain the finish ledge. A classic climb to end an enjoyable trip.

THE START OF ULTRAMAN


RUNNING IT OUT ON ULTRAMAN


THE SUN SETS ON ULTRAMAN WALL


More photos: view all 146 photos from our Red Rocks/Las Vegas climbing vacation on Flickr

Also: my previous trip report from Red Rocks: Days 1 & 2

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