<-- Map of summer 2015
     climbing roadtrip 
     (click to enlarge)
AUG 30 -
SEPT 10 
2015

Category: Nevada
Trip Report #: 207
Partners: Kenny Rathcke (Climb 1) / Sarah Inwood (Climbs 2, 4, 11) / 
Nathan Petrosian (Climb 3) / Joanne Urioste (Climbs 5, 6, 7) / 
Danny Urioste (Climbs 7, 8, 9) / Rico Tan (Climb 10)
Rock Type: Aztec Sandstone
Elev: 4,000-6,000 ft

RED ROCKS Sept 2015
Climb 1: Adventure Punks (5.10d, 5p, 550')
Climb 2: Crimson Chrysalis (5.8+, 6-9p, 960')
Climb 3: Sour Mash (5.10a, 4-7p, 695')
Climb 4: La Cierta Edad (5.10c, 5p, 560')
Climb 5: Dark Shadows Pitches 1-4 (5.8, 4p, 350')
Climbs 6-7: Exploring new rock...
Climb(s) 8: Black Track (5.9, 100') & Left Out (5.10d, 90') & Big Foot (5.10a, 60')
Climb 9: The Fox (5.10d, 140')
Climb 10: The Nightcrawler (5.10c, 4-5p, 440-520')
Climb(s) 11: Couldn't be Schmooter (5.9, 60') & Winter Heat (5.11b, 80') & High Class Hoe (5.10a, 90') & Atman (5.10a, 30')
11 climbs in 11 days - what a way to cap off the summer of climbing!
INTRO

Red Rocks is a giant and gorgeous sandstone playground. I absolutely love Red Rocks. But as a teacher, I have my summers off and work pretty much 24/7 the rest of the year, so it's difficult to visit Red Rocks when the temperatures are favorable for climbing. However, I have discovered that early September is actually a great time to climb in Red Rocks—the temperatures are quite pleasant in the shade, the canyons are unusually peaceful in the lull between summer tourist traffic and fall climbing activity, and there are no line-ups on any routes. The primary disadvantages are hot approaches and being limited to climbs with shady aspects.

So to cap off my Summer 2015 Climbing Roadtrip before heading back to Washington for the start of the school year, I swung by Red Rocks. I spent 11 days in the area, stringing together an excellent line-up of climbs with a number of existing and newfound friends from the Los Vegas area. It was a blast.

Routes I climbed:
Climb 1: AUG 30: Adventure Punks (5.10d, 5 pitches, 550') (Adventure Punks/Challenger Wall, Pine Creek Canyon) w/ KENNY RATHCKE
Climb 1: AUG 31: Checking out the Vegas Strip 
Climb 2 SEPT 1: Crimson Chrysalis (5.8+, 6-9 pitches, 960') (Cloud Tower, Juniper Canyon) w/ SARAH INWOOD
Climb 3SEPT 2: Sour Mash (5.10a, 4-7 pitches, 695') (Black Velvet Wall, Black Velvet Canyon) w/ NATHAN PETROSIAN
Climb 4SEPT 3: La Cierta Edad (5.10c, 5 pitches, 560') (Refrigerator Wall, Icebox Canyon) w/ SARAH INWOOD
Climb 5SEPT 4: Dark Shadows Pitches 1-4 (5.8, 4 pitches, 350') (Mescalito, Pine Creek Canyon) w/ JOANNE URIOSTE
Climb 6SEPT 5: Exploring some new rock w/ JOANNE URIOSTE & KEVIN CAMPBELL
Climb 7SEPT 6: Exploring some new rock w/ JOANNE URIOSTE & DANNY URIOSTE
Climb(s) 8SEPT 7: Black Track (5.9, 100') & Left Out (5.10d, 90', TR) & Big Foot (5.10a, 60', TR) (Hidden Falls Area, Willow Springs) w/ JORGE, JOANNE, & DANNY URIOSTE & MILI HORTIZUELA
Climb 9SEPT 8: The Fox (5.10d, 1 pitch, 140', TR) (The Fox Area, Calico Basin-Red Springs) w/ DANNY URIOSTE
Climb 10SEPT 9: The Nightcrawler (5.10c, 4-5 pitches, 440-520') (Brownstone Wall, Juniper Canyon) w/ RICO TAN
Climb(s) 11SEPT 10: Couldn't be Schmooter (5.9, 80') Winter Heat (5.11b, 80', TR) High Class Hoe (5.10a, 90', TR) & Atman (5.10a, 30', TR)  (Winter Heat Wall & Yin and Yang Cliff, Calico Basin-Kraft Mtn) w/ SARAH INWOOD & KYLE WILLIS

PHOTOS

CLIMB 1 - AUG 30 - w/ KENNY RATHCKE
Adventure Punks (5.10d, 5 pitches, 550')
on Adventure Punks/Challenger Wall in Pine Creek Canyon  
Adventure Punks follows a massive and obvious left curving arch/corner and ends before the pinnacle of the arch itself.
FA: Richard Harrison, Sal Mamusia, Paul Van Betten, 1983.
Notes:
  • Origin of route name: The first ascentionists Richard Harrison, Sal Mamusia, and Paul Van Betten were the self-proclaimed "Adventure Punks," a title reflecting their philosophical bent towards the alpine-inspired concept of bold, ground-up lines with few bolts. (The other philosophical bent was epitomized by the Uriostes, who decided to create routes for safety, enjoyment, and ease of future climbers, adding bolts on unprotectable sections of climbs.) In this route bearing the group's unofficial moniker, each of the five long pitches is 5.10, and the only protection bolts on the entire line were placed later—against the wishes of the first ascent team—on the final offwidth pitch, which was climbed onsight by Richard Harrison with nothing but a single old Forged Friend for “wide crack” protection.
  • I thought this was an awesome climb. Kenny is an awesome parter. We had an awesome day.
  • Kenny led Pitches 1 and 5 while I led Pitches 2, 3, and 4.
  • Pitch 3 was my favorite pitch on the route.
  • I found both Pitches 4 and 5 to be the technical cruxes of the route, both seemed equally difficult to me (Pitch 4 was more of a mental crux, Pitch 5 more physical).
  • For big gear, we had two #4's and one #6. We never used both #4s on any pitch, and the two bolts on Pitch 5 allowed Kenny to backclean so that he was comfortable with only one #6. Perhaps a #5 would have been useful, but we did without that.
  • The descent entails four double-rope rappels using the bolted belay stations on the route. You definitely need two ropes to rap the route. The four double-rope rappels are as follows: 1. Top of Pitch 5; 2. Top of Pitch 4; 3. Top of Pitch 2; 4. Top of Pitch 1. The ONLY two pitches you can combine with a rappel are Pitches 3&4; we tried to rap all the way to the top of Pitch 5 to the top of Pitch 3 and came up short.
  • This was the first route I've ever climbed in Pine Creek Canyon. I found this canyon to be very pleasant and peaceful.
Route overlays:
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1. Pine Creek Canyon in the morning sun, from the beginning of the approach. It took us about 1 hour to get to the base of the route.
2. Honeycombed wall in the wash near the base of the climb. Go right around this wall.
3. People have placed stones in the honeycombs.
4. Find the stone I placed....
5. Kenny leading off Pitch 1. For many, the mental crux of the route is the start of the climb, which begins with a runnout face with an unprotected 5.9 move into the flake about 30 feet up. In this photo Kenny has just calmly made the move into the flake and is setting his first piece.
6. Fun climbing up a flake system on Pitch 1. The crux is a 10b layback on a flake near the end of the pitch. The crux seems more mental than technical. Again, no problem for Kenny!
7. Pitch 2 starts off by traversing left into the main corner system and then ascends the corner for about 100 feet. The pitch is rated 10b but Kenny and I felt it is probably the most mellow pitch on the route. The 10b crux move is probably entering the corner.
8. An old bolt starting off the left traverse on Pitch 2.
9. Kenny climbing up Pitch 2. 
10. Looking up Pitch 3. This sustained 100-ft 10a corner was my favorite pitch on the route. Thanks Kenny for letting me lead it!
11. Kenny following the 10a corner of Pitch 3.
12. Looking up Pitch 4. I had so much fun leading Pitches 2 and 3 that I asked to lead this pitch as well. Although this pitch is rated 10b like the first two pitches, I found it to be a step up in difficulty from any of the preceding pitches, mainly because the protection was a bit tricky and thin. 
13. Kenny following the 10b finger crack on Pitch 4 (Pitch 4 offers the option of going left into a 10b finger crack on staying in the corner which is apparently 5.9. The fingercrack looked pretty stellar so that's the way I went. It was stellar. The technical crux (for me) was an awkward move getting into the fingercrack.
14. Kenny nearing the top of Pitch 4. On lead, I hemmed and hawed a bit on the final face moves to the anchor, since my last decent piece of protection was at the top of the fingercrack, which seemed a bit far away....
15. Bolted anchor at the top of Pitch 4, along with old hammered pitons. All of the belay stations on this route have nice bolts.
16. Kenny leading off Pitch 5. This pitch contains a 10d offwidth, the technical crux of the route. Kenny forged upward with little apparent difficulty. Both he and I avoided most offwidth moves by making delicate laybacks, half-chimney, and face moves. 
17. Looking up Pitch 5. The #6 came in handy.
18. There are two bolts on Pitch 5. These bolts protect the sections that are wider than #6, and allow you a bit more security to backclean big cams. Your choice on whether or not to use them.


AUG 31
Checking out the Strip.
Notes:
  • I hadn't been able to find anyone to climb with for the day, so it was my opportunity to check out the Strip for a few hours.
  • I devoted $20 to the slot machines. I figured I'd loose it all, but that it would be worth the entertainment. I left with $115.
  • What fascinates me most about Los Vegas is the juxtaposition between the glitzy sleepless circus of the Vegas strip and the wild peaceful canyons of Red Rocks, just mere miles apart. 
Photos Photo descriptions
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1. About to go play $20 of slots at the Bellagio...
2. You win some.
3. And you lose some. 


CLIMB 2 - SEPT 1 - w/ SARAH INWOOD
Crimson Chrysalis (5.8+, 6-9 pitches, 960')
on Cloud Tower in Juniper Canyon  
Known as the "best 5.8 in Red Rocks", this north-facing classic ascends crack and bolted face to the top of a 1000-foot slender pillar.
FA: Jorge & Joanne Urioste, 1979.
Notes:
  • Origin of route nameThe route is named for the red coloration of the rock and the tower's resemblance to a giant butterfly cocoon.
  • I thought this climb had an excellent position and delightful exposure with a moderate grade. However, the climbing was a bit repetitive (first half is in a continuous wide crack system, second half is on a juggy face). I think it is the moderate grade which makes this route so popular—although it is indeed a great line, Sarah and I did not feel like this route is significantly better than other climbs we'd done in Red Rocks. Even so, we had a fun day. Any day climbing with Sarah is a fun day.
  • The climbing on this route is fairly sustained at the 5.8 level. 
  • There are a fair number of bolts on this route to protect face sections or sections with tricky or consistently large placements. We were happy with a single rack from green alien to BD#3, plus an extra #0.75 and #1 for when we linked pitches. And lots of slings.
  • In the spring and fall, this route is a conga line. But since we climbed the route in late summer, we had the route to ourselves. I wouldn't want to climb this route when many other parties were on it, as the belays are mostly hanging and the rap route is directly down the route. 
  • The climb is shaded so the temperatures were actually quite pleasant for climbing, despite the fact we climbed it in the late summer.
  • We linked Pitches 2&3, 5&6, and 8&9 to climb the route in a total of 6 pitches.
  • The original 1979 finish of this route on Pitch 9 goes up and right. This finish was the norm until the last couple of years (as of 2015), when bolts were added to a direct finish going straight up steep chocolate rock to the top. It's steep, but featured enough that it maintains the 5.8+ rating of the route. We did the direct finish. 
  • To descend, rappel the route using the bolted belay stations. You need two ropes to rappel from the top of Pitch 7 (it's about 38m) and from the top of Pitch 1 (it's about 37m, you can downclimb the last bit though). All other rappels can be done with a single 70m rope (not sure about a 60m).  
Route overlay:
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1. Crimson Chrysalis is on Cloud Tower, just left of center in the photo on the north side of the East Peak of Rainbow Mountain. Juniper Peak is on the right.
2. Looking up the route from the base. Basically follow the crack system up the center of the tower. This crack eventually ends in face but the route still just goes up the middle of the tower.
3. Sarah leading Pitch 1. The standard route climbs a bolted face to the right of the crack.
4. There are lots of bolts on this route.
5. Looking up Pitch 2, which we linked with Pitch 3 for a long 200+ foot pitch.
6. Sarah nearing the top of Pitch 3. This is fun 5.8 climbing.
7. Sarah leading up Pitch 4. This pitch was about 120 feet, shorter than was noted in the topo.
8. Looking up Pitch 5, which starts with a fun hand to finger crack. We linked this with Pitch 6 for a long 200+ foot pitch. This was probably my favorite section of the route.
9. Sarah nearing the top of Pitch 6. 
Steep face climbing on juggy holds with great exposure.
10. Sarah leading off Pitch 7.
11. Sarah leading off Pitch 8, which we linked with Pitch 9. More steep face climbing on juggy holds with great exposure.
12. Looking up Pitch 9. In the photo Sarah is waving from the top of the tower. We did the direct finish, which goes directly up the steep chocolate rock to the top. There are enough features that it maintains the 5.8+ rating of the route.
13. Steph nearing the top of Pitch 9.
 Photo by Sarah Inwood.
14. View from the top of Cloud Tower.
15. Sarah on top of Cloud Tower. This is the best belay spot on the route.
16. Steph on top of Cloud Tower. Photo by Sarah Inwood.
17. Rainbow Wall to the west. This wall is the location of most of the big wall routes in Red Rocks.
18. The Nightcrawler goes up the right side of this pillar on Brownstone Wall. About a week later I climbed this awesome route!
19. Watch out for the cacti on the trail!


CLIMB 3 - SEPT 2 - w/ NATHAN PETROSIAN
Sour Mash (5.10a, 4-7 pitches, 695')
on Black Velvet Wall in Black Velvet Canyon  
Sour Mash follows a long crack system on the right side of the wall, offering varied climbing, lots of thin cracks, tightly bolted face climbing cruxes, and an intriguing traversing roof to crack.
FA: Jorge & Joanne Urioste, 1980.
Notes:
  • Origin of route nameThe name of the route hangs on the end of a long chain of routes with whiskey themes (like Dream of Wild Turkeys and Early Times). They all relate to "Black Velvet" which is the name of a particular brand of whiskey.
  • I thought this was an excellent route with varied climbing. Nathan and I had a really fun day climbing together.
  • Climbing midweek in late summer, we had the entire Black Velvet Canyon to ourselves—a rare and peaceful experience.
  • Even though we climbed this route in late summer when temperatures in Vegas were 100°+, we were actually quite comfortable on the climb. The wall is shaded after mid-morning (shade was creeping up the left corner of Black Velvet Wall by 8am, and the entire wall (Sour Mash is on the right side) was in the shade by 10:30am). Also, we had a nice breeze. 
  • We linked Pitches 2&3, 4&5, 6&7 to climb the route in a total of 4 pitches. As a result, the climb went pretty quickly.
  • We swung leads, where I led Pitch 1 and 4&5 and Nathan led 2&3 and 6&7.
  • Pitch 6 was our favorite pitch on the route.
Route overlay:
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1. Nathan approaching Black Velvet Canyon in the morning sun. Photo taken at 7:53am.
2. Black Velvet Wall.
3. Photo of Black Velvet Canyon taken at 10:43am on a different day. You can see that Black Velvet Wall is shaded. (In Red Rocks you are either chasing the sun or the shade depending on the time of year, and it becomes important to know when shade or sun arrives on the wall.)
4. Ixtlan (11c) follows the right crack. This is on Whiskey Peak on the left side as you enter Black Velvet Canyon. Someday I gotta climb this route....
5. This photo was taken at 8:12am. Black Velvet Wall receives morning sun, but even by 8am the shade is creeping onto the wall. The right side of the wall (where Sour Mash is) was in the shade by 10:30am.
6. Looking up Sour Mash from the base. Pitch 1 goes up the nice orange left-facing corner in the center of the photo. This pitch was a bit hot in the sun—the black rock didn't help.
7. Looking up the corner while leading Pitch 1. This corner is 10a and is protected by 4 bolts and a couple of cam/nut placements.
8. Nathan on the fun 5.8 roof near the start of Pitch 2.
9. The shade/sun line. We were climbing in the comfortable shade for most of the route, after suffering a bit in the heat on Pitch 1.
10. Looking up Pitch 3, which Nathan linked with Pitch 2.
11. Shadow climbing on Pitch 3.
12. Looking up Pitch 4. This is a short pitch (~60 ft), so I linked it with Pitch 5 for a long 200-foot pitch (our 60m rope was just long enough to get me to the belay anchor at the top of Pitch 5).
13. Nathan climbing up Pitch 5. In this photo he is on the crux 5.9 face traverse section of the pitch.
14. Looking up Pitch 6, which goes up the "stem" of the K. The crack is actually bolted. If you want to climb light on this pitch, you can climb it with a set of nuts, a few small cams, and some slings/draws.
15. Really fun climbing on the second half of Pitch 6. This was my favorite pitch on the route.
16. Looking down while climbing Pitch 6.
17. 
Looking down from the anchors at the top of Pitch 6.
18. Steph nearing the top of the route (top of Pitch 7). Photo by Nathan Petrosian.
19. Nathan on the hanging double-rope rappel over the big roof near the base of Black Velvet Wall. (The descent entails 4 double-rope rappels and one single-rope rappel at the very end.)
20. The roof as seen from the hanging rappel.
21-22. We noticed some car window glass in the parking lot to Black Velvet Canyon, suggesting three cars had been broken into. This glass was there when we arrived so it happened sometime before we were there. Just a heads up.


CLIMB 4 - SEPT 3 - w/ SARAH INWOOD
LCierta Edad (5.10c, 5 pitches, 560')
on Refrigerator Wall in Icebox Canyon  
La Cierta Edad features a great, fun mix of climbing styles, from slab & crimp climbing to chimney climbing.
FA: Jorge & Joanne Urioste, 1981.
Notes:
  • Origin of route nameLike many of the Urioste routes, the name of this route has deeper meaning. Literally, "La Cierta Edad" is Spanish for "The certain age"; according to Joanne, it's deeper meaning is "The age at which social opinion doesn't matter." This sentiment stems from the fact that in the age of early route-setting in Red Rocks, the Uriostes were often derided for their style of adding bolts to unprotectable sections of their routes. 
  • I thought this route was excellent—not only does it have a nice variety of climbing, but the chimney, corner, and wide crux are all pretty unique sections. Sarah and I had a great afternoon together.
  • Sarah led Pitches 1 and 3 and I led Pitches 2 and 4 and 5.
  • We both felt that the 10c wide crux (#5 cam) on Pitch 4 was just a single move, well-protected, and not all that hard once you figure it out; we agreed that overall Pitches 2 and 3 offered the most challenging sustained climbing on the route.
  • For big gear, we had two BD #3, two BD #4, and one #5; this allowed us to sew up the wider sections on the route. The large gear was especially useful on Pitches 2, 4, and 5 (I placed the #5 on all three of these pitches, and I think I placed all of the large cams on Pitch 2 and at least one of each on Pitches 4 and 5). We could have gone with a single #4 though, if I had cleaned my first #4 in the chimney which I ended up unclipping due to potential rope drag.
  • You can choose to exit the route at the big ledge 2/3 of the way up Pitch 4, or you can continue on to Pitch 5, which is a 5.8 wide crack in a corner. We climbed Pitch 5. It's always more satisfying to climb the full route, especially when the climbing is worthy (which it is, I thought Pitch 5 was really fun climbing). 
  • To descend, you rappel to climbers' right of the route, down the Unfinished Symphony corner. Most route descriptions call for two ropes for rappelling, so we brought two ropes. However, we had heard rumors that you could rappel with a single 70m by using intermediate rap stations. Indeed, we confirmed that you can rappel to the ground in 5 rappels with a single 70m rope. Rapping with a single rope rather than double ropes means you can climb with less rope weight, and also minimizes the chance you will get a rope stuck in one of the many rope-eating flakes on the wall...
Route overlay:
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1. Icebox Canyon. La Cierta Edad is on Refrigerator Wall which is on the shaded side of the canyon in the photo. The approach from car to climb is about 30 minutes.
2. Sarah starting up Pitch 1, which is face climbing with a few bolt-protected 5.8 moves.
3. The 5.9+ chimney of Pitch 2.
4. Looking down from near the top of the chimney of Pitch 2. 
5. Sarah climbing the second half of Pitch 2 (after the chimney); this is a wideish crack in a corner. The rock is slightly rotten but it's good climbing.
6. Sarah leading Pitch 3, a sustained 10a corner.
7. Sarah at the belay at the top of Pitch 3. Behind her is the start of Pitch 4 and the 10c crux of the route, which is a short wide (#5 cam) section and tricky (the trick is figuring out the move that makes it easy) exit move. I led Pitch 4. Despite the fact that Pitch 4 has the crux of the route, Sarah and I agreed that Pitches 2 and 3 seemed like the hardest pitches of the route.
8. Looking up Pitch 4. You actually climb the face to the left of the wide crack in the photo; the crux wide section (#5 cam) is below the photo.
9. Sarah climbing up Pitch 5. This is a nice 5.8 wide crack in a corner. It is somewhat common to exit the route at the ledge 2/3 of the way up Pitch 4 and not climb Pitch 5, but I though this final pitch was good climbing. Plus it's always more satisfying to climb the whole route.
10. The rap station on the ledge 2/3 of the way up Pitch 4.
11. An age old bail or rap anchor on the abandoned wall between La Cierta Edad and Unfinished Symphony. 


CLIMB 5 - SEPT 4 - w/ JOANNE URIOSTE
Dark Shadows Pitches 1-4 (5.8, 4 pitches, 350')
on Mescalito in Pine Creek Canyon  
Dark Shadows (Pitches 1-4) climbs a steep and shaded dihedral on varnished walls so black and polished that they shine. 
FA: Nick Nordblom and Jon Martinet, 1979 (complete 1000-ft route)

(also toproped Pitch 4 of Edge Dressing (5.10b) and Pitch 3 of Chasing Shadows (5.8+) while rappelling from Dark Shadows)
  • Origin of route nameThe route is named for the steep, dark, and ominous dihedral capped by a huge roof that comprises the first few hundred feet of the route.
  • I thought this was an awesome route, probably one of the most aesthetic and interesting and enjoyable routes I've climbed. I just loved Pitches 3 and 4, where the slick black varnished walls are broken by just enough cracks and huecos to keep the grade at 5.8.
  • I had an awesome climb climbing with Joanne. Who wouldn't!
  • Joanne led Pitches 1 and 2, and I led Pitches 3 and 4.
  • This is a popular route, but yet again we were the only climbers on the route, or in the area for that matter.
  • This route is shaded so a great choice for a hot day.
  • The route actually continues several hundred feel to the top of Mescalito, for a total of ten pitches and 1000' of climbing. However, most parties only climb Pitches 1-4, since this allows for a convenient single-rope rappel (4 raps) to the base, as opposed to a rather nasty and infamous descent from the top of the route.
  • Someday I want to go back and climb this route in its 1000' entirety. Joanne and I started too late in the day for this to be a reasonable option.
  • As long as there's not a line-up of climbers trying to get down, you can easily toprope a couple of pitches on the way down (the 10b Pitch 4 of Edge Dressing and the 5.8+ Pitch 3 of Chasing Shadows).
  • Soaked ropes are difficult to avoid on the last rappel.
Route overlay:
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1. Dark Shadows starts in the dark, shadowed corner on the right side of Mescalito.
2. Joanne pointing out the route line of Dark Shadows.
3. There is an idyllic stream and pool running right below the base of the route. Just try not to get the rope wet! (Kudos to those who can keep the rope dry on the final rappel and rope pull!).
4. Joanne on Pitch 1, which climbs a 5.5 face to a bolt anchor. There are a couple of bolts for protection.
5. Joanne leading off Pitch 2, which climbs a 5.6 corner.
6. Taken while climbing the 5.6 of Pitch 2.
7. A mangled cam on Pitch 2. Someone really wanted to get this out.
8. Looking up Pitch 3. This is probably the best pitch of the route, and climbs the corner on glassy black rock broken by just enough cracks and huecos to make the climbing 5.8. The climbing on this pitch is quite unique and aesthetic, not to mention incredibly fun.
9. Joanne climbing up Pitch 3, as seen from the belay at the top of the pitch.
10. Joanne a bit higher up on Pitch 3, having fun. How could you not have fun on this route?!
11. Looking up Pitch 4, which climbs the crack on the face to an anchor below the roof. 5.8. 
12. Looking down at Joanne at the belay while climbing Pitch 4.
13. Joanne on the crux 5.8 pod exit move on Pitch 4. If climbing only through Pitch 4, it's probably best to set the final anchor where I am in the photo rather than the one a bit higher and right (it makes the rope pull after the rappel easier).
14. Looking down Pitch 4 of Edge Dressing, which is a 10b face pitch. We toproped this on the first rappel from Dark Shadows.
15. 
Looking up Pitch 3 of Chasing Shadows, which is a 5.8+ crack pitch. We toproped this on the second rappel from Dark Shadows.
16. "Red spots in the Aztec Sandstone are iron concretions, where subsurface water has precipitated iron oxide around a nucleus in the sandstone. These concretions are more resistant to erosion than the surrounding sandstone, and weather into little balls known as Indian or Moqui Marbles." Reference.


CLIMB 6 - SEPT 5 - w/ JOANNE URIOSTE & KEVIN CAMPBELL
Exploring some new rock (day 1).
Notes:
  • Joanne, her friend Kevin, and I spent the day deep in a canyon exploring some new rock. While Kevin and I took off climbing, Joanne cleared a 300-ft swath along the base of the wall to open up even more sandstone cliffs...
Photos Photo descriptions
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1. Joanne getting ready to clear a 300-ft swath along the base of the wall.
2. Great 5.9+ layback.
3. Splitter 5.9+ corner.
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Slab.
5. Difficult overhanging corner. 
6. 
Kevin likes tricams.
7. Always watch the ends...never assume your rope makes it....
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Success! 300-feet of wall opened up!




CLIMB 7 - SEPT 6 - w/ JOANNE URIOSTE & DANNY URIOSTE
Exploring some new rock (day 2).
Notes:
  • Joanne, her son Danny, and I returned to the same area to explore some more new rock above the swath that Joanne had cleared the previous day. We found some great sections of climbing. I had a blast climbing with Joanne and Danny. The Uriostes are the coolest people.
Photos Photo descriptions
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1. Danny on the swath that Joanne had cleared the previous day.
2. Great 5.9+ corner pitch.
3. Joanne.
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Cool tunnel-through.
5. Cool chimney.
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Inside the chimney.




CLIMB(s) 8 - SEPT 7 - w/ JORGE, JOANNE, & DANNY URIOSTE & MILI HORTIZUELA
Black Track (5.9, 100') & Left Out (5.10d, 90', TRBig Foot (5.10a, 60', TR)
in Hidden Falls Area in Willow Springs  
Black Track follows the crack in the center of the buttress, hand-jamming to a short offwidth finish. Left Out follows an impressive crack beside the left arete of the buttress with strenuous and sustained climbing, a great toprope after Black Track. Big Foot is just a bolted face climb to the right of Black Track.
FA Black Track: Joe Herbst, 1973; FA Left Out: Joe Herbst, 1975; FA Big Foot: Mark Robinson, Eric Keto, Al Rubin, 1989 (MP) or Nick Nordblom,19xx (Handren) ?
Notes:
  • I was staying with the Uriostes for a few days. On Labor Day Monday the family (Jorge, Joanne, son Danny, his girlfriend Mili, and the dog Pepper) decided to go cragging at Willow Springs, and invited me along. I really enjoyed the opportunity to hang out with this special family.
  • We first led Black Track (I led the 5.9 crack to first set of anchors, then Danny led the 15-foot offwidth to finish the pitch to the upper anchors). Then we set up a toprope on Left Out and Danny and Mili and I lapped this a couple of times while Jorge and Joanne toproped Black Track. We also toproped Big Foot just because it was there. Then we went home for fondue. What a fun day.
Photos Photo descriptions
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1. Approaching Hidden Falls Area. Less than 10 minutes from the car.
2. Danny toproping Left Out. The right-hand crack is Black Track, which we also climbed.
3. Mili climbing Black Track, with Jorge, Joanne, Danny, and Pepper (the dog) below.
4. Jorge, Joanne, and their son Danny.
5. Jorge climbing Black Track.
6. First time I've ever had fondue!


CLIMB 9 - SEPT 8 - w/ DANNY URIOSTE
The Fox (5.10d, 1 pitch, 140', TR)
at The Fox Area in Calico Basin-Red Springs
The Fox is an Indian-creek style right facing corner a few hundred feet above the desert floor. A fantastic pitch on perfect desert varnish.
FA: John Williamson and Bob Logerquist, 1970
Notes:
  • Origin of route name: (Following from mountainproject): The route was climbed in 1970 by local high-schoolers John Williamson and Bob Logerquist. "It was pretty intimidating," recalls John. "We did it a few times on top rope before we got up the courage to lead the thing." John and Bob named it "The Fox," which was in keeping with several other route names that referred to children's stories. The nearby "Riding Hood" and "Over the Hill to Grandmother's House" shared a similar reference to children's books. Soon afterward, John left Las Vegas to attend college. At the time there was almost no other climbing activity in the area, so the ascent was essentially unknown to climbers who were not personal friends of John or Bob. Over the next few years climbing activity picked up considerably as Joe Herbst began to make a more systematic exploration of the area. Interestingly, Joe's early activity started mainly in the south part of the range, while John was working from the north end, and the two climbers never met. One of Joe's apprentices was the later-to-be-famous Red Rock guide, Randal Grandstaff. A young Randal accompanied Joe on the first ascent of Tunnel Vision in 1974, and soon emerged as an accomplished climber in his own right. At this point the story becomes a little muddy. In the middle 1970's, Randal claimed a first ascent of the Fox dihedral, and apparently named it the "7th Wave." This was the first name that Joanne Urioste heard when she arrived in Las Vegas at about that time. Some other climbers who were active then also recalled the "7th Wave" name. In the 1990's, Randal was still claiming a first ascent when he was talking with author Todd Swain. Randal made his claim with such vehemence that Todd recorded the route as "first ascent: unknown" in order to not step on Randal's toes. The thing that makes the situation sticky is that, even in the 1970's, Randal had developed a reputation for exaggeration about his exploits, so many local climbers simply did not believe him. His case was not helped by the evolution of the name: was it still 7th Wave, or was he now calling it the 8th Wave, or something else? Some of the locals expressed their doubt by putting up a route that was facetiously named "No Wave," (this was the first couple of pitches of the route that was later expanded to become the Bighorn Buttress in Willow Springs). In the late 1970's, John Williamson returned to Las Vegas. By chance, he met up with the Uriostes and did a few climbs with them. It was, coincidentally, on this trip that they teamed up to climb the now popular Olive Oil. John told them of his early climbs, and pointed out the Fox dihedral. Since John's ascent predated any possible Grandstaff ascent by several years, Joanne credited him with the first ascent and used his name, "The Fox," when she authored the 1984 guidebook. Before the 1984 guide gave the Fox name any kind of official status, there was a period where both names were circulating, and the one you heard was dependent on whom you heard it from. Since the Epperson photograph in the Supertopo guidebook dates back to early 1980's, it is probably safe to conclude that the route name came from someone on the Randal Grandstaff side of the story.
  • The route is north-facing and shaded, perfect for a warm day.
  • Danny and I headed up to do a couple of laps on The Fox in the afternoon after he got home from work. The route is easily toproped by scrambling to the top of the formation from the left side. We toproped it and both climbed it twice. No falls or hangs. What a fun way to spend a couple of hours!
Route overlay:
Update (Nov 2015): There are now rap chains on top. With rope stretch, a 70m might make it, and double ropes certainly would. Also, after I posted this overlay, it was pointed out to me that in addition to the walk-off on climber's left of the route indicated by the arrow in my overlay, there's also an easy and fairly obvious walk-off that comes down the other side.
Photos Photo descriptions
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1. The Fox is at the top middle of the photo. It's a pretty straightforward scramble to get to the base. Less than 20 minutes from car to climb.
2. Danny climbing The Fox.
3. Looking down the route. The sandstone definitely has a different character than most of the Red Rocks routes I've climbed. Feels more like Indian Creek sandstone.
4. The view towards Vegas from The Fox.


CLIMB 10 - SEPT 9 - w/ RICO TAN
The Nightcrawler (5.10c, 4-5 pitches, 440-520')
on Brownstone Wall in Juniper Canyon  
The Nightcrawler follows the corner system on the right side of the Hourglass. The clean-cut corners on the third and fourth pitches are the best of their grade in Red Rocks, sustained and well-protected on superb rock.
FA: Jorge & Joanne Urioste, 1978
Notes:
  • Origin of route name: I asked Joanne and Jorge where the name of the route came from. Joanne said that it was an ode to the fact that they were always crawling out in the dark after long days exploring new rock. (Headlights of the time were just too heavy and cumbersome to bring on climbs.) Also, Jorge recalled how on at least one occasion when they were establishing The Nightcrawler route, they slept overnight on the ledge near the top of the second pitch.
  • I loved this route. Superb and sustained and challenging crack, chimney, and corner climbing to the top of a cool formation. And Rico was an excellent partner!
  • Rico led Pitches 1, 2, and 5 while I led Pitches 3 and 4. 
  • While both Pitches 3 and 4 are rated 10c in the guidebook, for me Pitch 3 was a much harder lead. On Pitch 3 I felt a bit overextended on the stems, making it a tedious lead. On Pitch 4, I felt pretty secure with the fingerlocks and layback moves, and was able to relax and enjoy the climbing a lot more. That said, Pitch 3 was a more amazing pitch than Pitch 4.
  • The original route stops at the top of the Hourglass after Pitch 4. But above the Hourglass is a splitter handcrack, which you can climb to a bolted station 80' above to tack an extra pitch onto the route. We climbed this extra pitch. Good pitch but sketchy rap anchors. 
  • We found the bolts at the belay stations for Pitches 1-4 to be all relatively new and in good shape. However, we found that the belay station at the top of Pitch 5 had not been rebolted. As of Sept 2015, there are two old bolts and a sun-baked old sling for rappelling. MountainProject has a bit of discussion about this belay station—it seems that as soon as someone sets up a nice sling and carabiner for rappelling, a thru-climber will come by and clean it. I suppose a more permanent option would be to add a chain anchor to this station.
  • We found that the protection bolts on Pitches 3 (7 bolts) and 4 (2 bolts) were also in good shape, except for one of the bolts on Pitch 3 which had pulled slightly out of the wall (it's below a cruxy move so I assume this bolt has taken a few lead falls). There are a couple of original Urioste bolts remaining on the route but newer bolts have been installed close to them.  
  • Although Brownstone Wall faces east and gets baked in the morning sun. the corner was in the shade by 9:30 to 10:00 am, so we had a pretty comfortable climb despite the 100+° temps in Vegas.
  • To descend, most parties rap the route (there is an option to continue climbing to the top and walk off but I don't think most climbers do this). Two 60m ropes will certainly get you down. A single 70m rope will also get you down, but will leave you with a bit of low 5th downclimbing on the last rappel. An 80m rope (if you own one or are lucky enough to have a partner named Rico who owns one) is perhaps the best option, allowing you to climb with only one rope and leaving you with only one move of downclimbing. 
  • We had a double rack to #2 cam, a single #3, a single #4, and a set of nuts including DMM offsets. We also had a few extra small cams. We found we didn't need the double #1 or #2, but the small cams were definitely useful on Pitch 3 and the #4 was definitely useful on Pitches 2 and 3.
Route overlay:
Photos Photo descriptions
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1. Brownstone Wall as seen on the approach. It took us 1h 15min from car to base of climb. Although it was just after 8am when we left the trailhead, it was already nearly 90° so it was a pretty hot approach.
2. Looking up at the route, which climbs the right side of the Hourglass formation. It was nice to see the corner already shaded by 9:30am.
3. Rico leading up Pitch 1 (5.7, 150'). This is a pretty easy pitch to the base of the corner system. But it was also a really warm pitch.
4. Rico doing a great job leading the chimney on Pitch 2 (5.9, 100'). He faced into the wall, but I faced out (toward Los Vegas). Take your pick.
5. The chimney on Pitch 2 can be protected surprisingly well with cams in the back of the flare.
6. "Face Los Vegas," was Jorge Urioste's advice to me as I left their place that morning (I had been staying with them for a few days). The chimney seemed pretty straightforward and I had lots of holds for my hands and feet, so it was great advice.
7. Looking up the second half of Pitch 2. This was really fun 5.9 climbing.
8. Looking up at Pitch 3 (5.10c, 100'). I found this pitch to be quite sustained at the grade. It definitely helps to have good stemming technique.
9. Looking down while leading Pitch 3.
10. Rico climbing up Pitch 3. What a pitch!
11. Rico on the final move of Pitch 3.
12. Looking up Pitch 4 (5.10c, 65'). This pitch is quite short but challenging. There is one section where the feet get a bit slippery and you have to commit to a layback on a couple of bomber finger locks for a few moves before getting in a piece of gear. Although this pitch was challenging, I found it a much easier lead than Pitch 3.
13. Rico starting off Pitch 5 (5.8, 80').
14. Rico higher on Pitch 5, transitioning from the roof to the flaring groove.
15. Looking down from midway up Pitch 5 at the top of the Hourglass below.
16. The second half of Pitch 5, with Rico at the belay. 
17. 
Rainbow Wall as seen from high on The Nightcrawler. This wall has several of Red Rocks longest aid routes.
18. Crimson Chrysalis / Cloud Tower as seen from high on The Nightcrawler.
19. 
Bolted anchor at the top of Pitch 1 (Sept 2015).
20. 
Bolted anchor at the top of Pitch 2 (Sept 2015).
21. Bolted anchor at the top of Pitch 3 (Sept 2015).
22. Bolted anchor at the top of Pitch 4 (Sept 2015).
23. Bolted anchor at the top of Pitch 5 (Sept 2015). This one needs a backup.
24. Original Urioste ("JU") bolt near the top of Pitch 3. A newer bolt has been installed just above it.
25. Rico nearing the end of the rope on the last rappel. We had an 80m rope, so only had to downclimb one move. A 70m rope would leave you downclimbing more low 5th terrain.
26. Pretty rock. Red Rocks is full of 'em.


CLIMB(s) 11 - SEPT 10 - w/ SARAH INWOOD & KYLE WILLIS
Couldn't Be Schmooter (5.9, 80') &  Winter Heat (5.11b, 80', TR&  High Class Hoe (5.10a, 90', TR
on Winter Heat Wall in Calico Basin-Kraft Mountain
A few of the popular trad/toprope routes on the varnished face of the north-facing Winter Heat Wall.
FAs: Broussard, Harrison, Crawford, Smith, Van Betten, 1983

Atman (5.10a, 30', TR)
on Yin and Yang Cliff in Calico Basin-Kraft Mountain
A classic shorty up a splitter crack.
FA: unknown
Notes:
  • I joined Sarah and her friend Kyle for a day of cragging at Winter Heat Wall and Yin and Yang Cliff. We climbed three routes on Winter Heat Wall and one route (Atman) on Yin and Yang Cliff. All the climbs were in the shade. We toproped all of these routes except Couldn't Be Schmooter, which Kyle led.
  • I wasn't too impressed by the routes at Winter Heat Wall. It was mostly face climbing around cracks with the occasional interesting move. For me, for cragging to be worth it, it's got to be pretty darn good. Also, it's hard to measure up with the preceeding series of fantastic multipitch routes in Red Rocks....
  • We stopped by Yin and Yang Cliff after Winter Heat Wall. Now here was the darn good splitter crack cragging I had hoped to find! We toproped Atman, which was great fun. I really wanted to climb Yin and Yang too, but Sarah and Kyle wanted to head back to the car. Just when the cracks get good we leave. Huh. Oh well, it had been a phenomenal 11 days of climbing in Red Rocks!
Photos Photo descriptions
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1. A turtle on the trail on the way to Winter Heat Wall.
2. Beautiful water runnels on the approach to Winter Heat Wall around the west side of Kraft Mountain.
3. Sarah climbing Couldn't be Schmooter on Winter Heat Wall.
4. Gear placements on Winter Heat Wall are tricky, involving lots of pockets and incuts. Tricams actually would work pretty well here.
5. Looking ahead at the 11b crux section of Winter Heat.
6. Bighorn sheep on the other side of the canyon. We saw at least ten bighorns over there.
7. Kyle climbing Apman on Yin and Yang cliff, a classic shorty up a splitter crack.
8. Sarah climbing Apman.
9. The splitter crack of Apman. The crack goes from thin hands to hands to wobbly hands. You could protect this route with a couple of #1, a couple of #2, and a #3.
10. Looking up Yin and Yang, which goes up the thin right curving crack, rated 11a. Too bad we didn't stick around to climb this route.