Me, I think of spectacular desert rock climbing on giant sandstone walls, minutes from the city.
|Approaching beautiful sandstone walls in the dawn light|
One of the cool things about climbing at Red Rocks, is that you can rent a condo in the city for super cheap, luxurious accommodations with wilderness climbing 20 minute away.
|Psyched for awesome accommodations!|
Day 1 - 5 am start - Cat in the Hat (III, 5.6) - Mescalito
We decided to start with an ultra-classic easy climb - Cat in the Hat, a 6 pitch 5.6 that climbs a buttress on Mescalito in Pine Creek Canyon.
|Cat in the hat - Climbs the left hand buttress on Mescalito|
|Ready to climb!|
On day 1 I was climbing with Michael and Troy and Mitchell were climbing together. Michael and I decided to lead in blocks, I would do the first 3 pitches, he would do the last 3. I racked up and headed up the climb. Ultra-fun easy climbing.
|Racking-up. Photo credit - Michael Putnam|
|Michael - "Cory, you need to actually consult the topo and not just climb random cracks!"|
Back on route, I led the correct 5.3, then let Michael take over the lead. I wish I had led the next couple of pitched because there were the highlight of the day.
The pitch was spectacular. Who know 5.6 could be so good.
|Michael leading the first of 2 glory pitches|
|Troy looks for the right piece on a great pitch|
|Teamwork. Outdoor research, where is the sponsorship?|
|Looking down from the belay|
|Cushing the final amazing pitch of Cat in the Hat|
After the amazing climb, we rapped out. Feeling a bit tired from out lack of sleep, we decided to call it a day. We headed to REI for some gear shopping, then back to the condo for some board games, shower and beer. Life is good.
|Hanging out in REI.|
|Mmmmmmm..... Vegan Tacos....|
The plan - climb Dark Shadows, the reality - climb almost nothing and bail off a bunch of stuff. Day 2 did not go so great. We started super early, and blasted down the trail to try and climb Dark Shadows, an ultra-classic intimidating 5.8. We got to the base of the climb - 6 climbers waiting to climb it. Dang.
We headed over to Birdland, a 6 pitch 5.7+, - 6 climbers in line. Alright, this is what I expected yesterday, giant crowds. None of us being particularly patient decided to go sport climbing in the Calico Hills, what could go wrong?
First we headed to the black corridor. Wholly crowded!
|Is this a crag or a gym?|
Crowds are not my thing. My stoke was a bit low. Micheal led a solid 5.10 which we top roped, and then he headed up another 5.10 sport climb.
Troy and I were not so psyched, so I came up with the idea of climbing this 2 pitch trad route at the top of hills called the Great Red Book.
Troy and I headed back to the car, grabbed the trad rack and then the 4 of us headed up for some trad climbing.
|Michael heads up the Great Red Book|
Although a fairly moderate route, the combination of sun, an early morning and getting shut down from a bunch of routes due to crowds resulted in a series of shenanigans, and several hours to finish a single pitch!
|Troy made valuable use of the time.|
|Mitchell takes a crack.|
Day 3 - 5 am start - Dark Shadows (II, 5.8) - Mescalito.
Another early start, and another attempt at Dark Shadows, this time were were first on the climb, and no one else showed up! Woot! The climbs ascends a steep corner crack system underneath a massive roof on dark black rock. It looks improbable and difficult, but is surprisingly easy climbing.
|Looking up at the improbably steep Dark Shadows|
Michael and Troy teamed up, Me and Mitch teamed up. Off we went. Spectacular climbing. I led the first three pitches of the climb, and linked the first 2 together. The climbing was easy, well protected, but steep and intimidating. A great experience, really different from the slabby granite I normally climb.
|Micheal climbing the 5.6 corner - Photo credit - Mitchell Quiring|
|Troy places some pro at the 5.8 bulge|
|Troy moves onto the face|
Such a good climb. We rappelled the route. I watched a couple of dudes climb Risky Business (5.10c, R) - pretty bad-ass
|Mitch on the way down|
|Dudes on Risky Business|