Red Rocks Climbing

After a day of short bolted routes, we decided to go back to the more fun traditional multi pitch climbs, but we would stick to ones in the sun (but keeping the grades reasonably moderate to look after Pete’s finger tendon injury)…

On Tuesday we started with the first on our tick list – Geronimo.

Oops, how to get a very cold foot!

The route started well, steep easy climbing with great holds. I was getting ready to start the second pitch when Pete exclaimed “f**k!” 😯 and he watched his rock shoe fly off the HUGE(!) ledge down in to the abyss below. 🙄 There was nothing for it, we had to descend. Amazingly the shoe had actually landed right next to our bags, but there wasn’t enough time to complete the route before the loop road closed (big fines), so we retreated back to the hotel for consolation tea and cakes.

We had more ambition for Wednesday, so we went for Jubilant Song. This is an excellent climb and extremely committing, starting out with some off-roading, then a 1.5 hour hike up a very steep hillside (where we saw some long horned sheep), then eight pitches of awesome climbing which finished with topping out on to a summit with fantastic views. We couldn’t linger though, the sun was setting, although the light from the setting sun made the Red Rock panorama around us even more dramatic. We ran back down the relatively easy descent gully to the bags just as it got completely dark. Next we had the steep descent back to the car with one head torch and a mini maglite with flat batteries between us. We were knackered, and relieved, by the time we “found” the car.

A committing traverse below huge roofs.
An amazing summit! But it's getting dark and there's hours of descent below!

After a days rest (and sight seeing), we decided to spend the last day (Friday) on the sunny Solar Slab. Excellent and fun climbing in the sun all day, even though it was actually only 3°C.

Beautiful sunshine on Solar Slab

Broken Car + Hoover Dam

After yesterday’s epic on Jubilant Song we were so knackered we decided on a day checking out the Hoover Dam, it’s just 30 miles from Las Vegas, so we couldn’t miss it really…

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But the day started badly, our hire car had sprung an oil leak! All the oil had dripped onto the car park and the engine wouldn’t run at all (something about protecting itself when there’s no oil pressure)! Some desperate telephone calls to the rental company and the “Ewing Brothers” were despatched to recover our stricken car. Funny, I thought JR and Bobby lived in Dallas, not Las Vegas?

Rid of the broken American car we got a more reliable European motor as a replacement, and off we went to see the Hoover Dam.

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The dam spans the Nevada / Arizona state line, so either end of the dam are in different time zones. Weird! It took us an hour and 40 seconds to get these two pictures!

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Nevada Time
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Arizona Time

Las Vegas Lights

It actually looks quite a bit like the real Eiffel Tower...
And, just across the road - New York!

Las Vegas Boulevard – The Strip – what an amazing place! Entertainment city. So many lights, so many gimmicks trying to lure you in to spend your money. We spent a few hours wondering up and down the Strip, mostly just looking at the outside of the buildings but occasionally taking a look inside to check out what was on offer – lions in MGM Grand, canals in The Venetian and numerous shops. If you were a shop-aholic (which of course I’m not 😕 ) you would think you had died and gone to heaven. Pete picked up a bargain at the Apple store, and I at the Levi’s store.

My favourite of all were the fountains set to music outside the Bellagio. Beautiful.

We went back a couple of days later to see one of the Las Vegas shows, Blue Man Group. Excellent entertainment!

The Belagio fountains are amazing, dancing to music!

Snow and Sun

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Check out the snow in the background!

Yesterday we got up early – still used to UK time – so we made our way to the Red Rock Loop Road, hitting the Visitors Centre just after it opened at 8am.

It was a cold morning, but that didn’t deter us, so we started the loop heading for Willow Springs to check out the American Indian rock art and hopefully a good climb close to the road.

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One of the great pitches of Cat in the Hat

When we got there, all the climbs were in the shade and it was freezing, so a quick re-look at the guide for routes in the sun lead us to Cat in the Hat. After a 30 minute trek along Pine Creek, we made our way to the bottom of the route. The clouds had come in, and there was no chance of seeing the sun.

The route was great, fairly easy climbing until the top where our hands had frozen by snow now falling! As we abseiled down, the clouds moved on and we had about 10 minutes of glorious sun. But it was too late to warm the bones, so we headed back towards the hotel for hot tea and blueberry muffins. Yum yum.

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Panty Wall sun!

Today was much warmer. I fancied a stress free day, so opted for the sports routes just near the start of the loop road. We parked at Calico Hills (avoiding the $5 etrance fee for the loop road) and walked across to Panty Wall. Glorious sun on bright red sandstone. The rock formations are amazing and the colours really vivid. We blasted up the routes enjoying the safety of the bolts and watched a cheeky chipmonk checking over the bags.

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Blue skies and Red Rocks

We left early, more hot tea and muffins were calling…