Friday, November 18, 2011

Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas Rock Climbing

Red Rock Sunrise.  Chad B. Photo
How did you get into rock climbing?  How about alpine climbing?  Which came first?  Seems as though the answer to those questions for most people falls into one of two categories.   If you start out rock climbing, the photos and stories you are exposed to romanticize alpine climbing.  That romantic view is inspiring, we can't deny that.  On the other hand, if you start out trekking through the mountains, seeking high and beautiful peaks, eventually you will come upon some terrain that requires some technical know-how.  Acquiring the body of knowledge and experience that technical terrain requires can be quite a journey.  Modern, accessible rock climbing forms the foundation of the entire body of technical skills.  Chad, a die-hard mountaineer, fits solidly in this latter category.  The mountains inspire Chad.  Hiking or scrambling.  Well-known peaks or the more obscure.  High mountains or shorter.  Chad digs them all.  This past summer Chad and I encountered a fair amount of more technical terrain in the High Sierra.  
Hiking to the Brass Wall.  Chad B. Photo

Chad is self-aware, motivated and organized.  He saw the challenge (acquiring technical climbing skills), discovered the opportunity (our November Red Rock trip), and executed (3 days in Red Rock, a combo of technical training and big mileage).  Setting quite an example of focus and fun, Chad has it figured out.  Chad has big aspirations, but enjoys every moment of even the most mundane "training".  We weren't "training for the ultimate training day".  We were just out doing it with a bit of an agenda.

As for the agenda...  Day 1 we hit the Brass Wall in Pine Creek for some top-rope mileage and movement skills.

Day 2 was rope-geeking in Calico Basin.  We dialed in up-travel transitions and some improvised ascension practice.  Repetition, repetition, repetition.

Calico Basin.  Chad B. Photo

Upper Solar Slab.  J. Porter Photo

The third day we raced the loop road and a particularly fast crowd of accomplished climbers to, and then up, Solar Slab.  I'm pretty sure Solar Slab in its entirety is my favorite route in Red Rock.  Just thousands of feet of beautiful, sustained moderate climbing.  Yee Haw!

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