After spending a week at home feeling very sorry for myself and full of flu, I decided I was no longer contagious and managed to drag myself out of the house and on to a plane. We were off to Las Vegas.
We were a bit worried about this holiday though. Would Pete feel strong enough to climb anything serious? But he had been been training and was feeling ready for some outdoor rock. However, now my flu was jeopardising any great ambitious plans, so we had to start it easy.
The sky was blue and the air was warm, so we started the week with a reasonably easy day by heading towards Solar Slab to climb Johnny Vegas. This was a good route for my weakened state and to acclimatise ourselves to the sandstone with knobbly chicken head holds. A popular venue meant for a very sociable day. On the way up we followed a Canadian team who were down for the weekend, and on the way down we chatted with a Southern Californian team also over for the weekend.
Monday was another sunny warm day, so we decided to risk it by climbing in the shade. We headed over to Whiskey Mountain at Black Canyon to climb another classic, Frogland.
To get to Black Canyon you have to take a dirt road for about 3 miles. Pete took it uncharacteristically easy in our hire car. Perhaps our little issue with the oil sump the last time we were in the area made him more cautious this time.
It was an easy 30 minute walk from the car, with a little scramble to get to the bottom of the route.
It was an excellent route, slightly harder and bolder than yesterday’s. It starts up a well protected corner and follows a few crack lines, corners and an arête, with interesting bridging and then a squeeze under a huge chockstone. I was feeling a bit weak by then, so I was grateful for a tight rope as I nudged my way through.
By the time we got to the top the forecasted wind had really picked up and it was getting pretty cold. It was an easy scramble down the gully back to the bags and then a cautious drive back out to the highway before it got dark. On the way back we had the most amazing sunset.
Two days of climbing after three months off made me very stiff, and my head was fuzzy with cold again, so it was time for a rest.
We took it easy and checked out the gear shops, like you do. I tried on a pair of alligator skin cowboy boots and then I saw the price. Only £1350!!
We finished the day with a traditional desert feast by eating at Joe’s Crab Shack next to the hotel.