Dec 13 08
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Just our luck, mid-week saw all-time record low temperatures for December in Las Vegas! Tuesday it was 18°C and overnight saw Wednesday’s temperature plummet to -2°C. We’ve been ice climbing in warmer temperatures than this! :freeze:

The weather people on the hotel TV couldn’t stop reporting how shocking it was: “Today we’ll hit 30°F, an all time record for December. But that record won’t last long, tomorrow it’ll be 28°F!”. After we’d translated °F in to more meaningful information we realised rock climbing was gonna be a challenge, and would certainly require us to be in full sun to catch every last bit of thermonuclear radiation on offer…

Wednesday

With the forecast we opted for a walk to Red Rocks’ “most significant geological feature”, the Keystone Thrust. The information signs were a bit unclear but I gather the basic idea is that a massive geological event deep in the Earth’s crust forced the limestone up over the sandstone, then only through erosion did the awesome sandstone climbing venue we have today reappear. At the Keystone Thrust site one can see the fault line and both rock types, with the older limestone on top of the sandstone.

Hiking to the Keystone Thrust Yes, that is snow on the ground!  It may look warm with the sunshine, but it was -2°C !

Hiking to the Keystone Thrust
Yes, that is snow on the ground! It may look warm with the sunshine, but it was -2°C !

The entrance to the Red Rocks loop road.  The temperature was below zero and it was snowing in the mountains, but it does make for a moody picture...

The entrance to the Red Rocks loop road. The temperature was below zero and it was snowing in the mountains, but it does make for a moody picture…

Keystone Thrust rock cairns

Keystone Thrust rock cairns

Thursday

The thick cloud cover shown in the first picture above had cleared on Thursday, but it was still well below freezing. A climbing venue in full sun was required – we selected the Moderate Meca area in the Calico Basin…

Pete on Fleet Street

Pete on Fleet Street

Laetitia on Abbey Road

Laetitia on Abbey Road

Friday

Our final day – Friday – was only a little warmer, it was 1°C as we left the Pine Creek car parking area. But at least the sun was out again… We wanted to finish on a multi-pitch route (what Red Rocks is famous for), but with the frigid temperatures we opted for Geronimo and romp up four full rope lengths of steep juggy rock. A route we failed on at our last attempt – I dropped one of my rock shoes and we had to retreat! :oops:

Laetitia leading the vertical first pitch of Geronimo - thankfully although it's vertical the holds are massive!Geronimo only gets one star in the guidebook - it deserves at least two - it's brilliant climbing!

Laetitia leading the vertical first pitch of Geronimo – thankfully although it’s vertical the holds are massive! Geronimo only gets one star in the guidebook – it deserves at least two – it’s brilliant climbing!

Wearing every item of clothing we'd brought and still freezing!

Wearing every item of clothing we’d brought and still freezing!

Wildlife…

Who’d have thought that with the super cold weather we’d have the opportunity to see so many of Red Rocks wild creatures? Maybe because of the cold there were far fewer people out and that quiet gave way for the animals…


Ladder-Backed Woodpecker

Ladder-Backed
Woodpecker

White-Winged Dove

White-Winged
Dove

Mule Deer

Mule
Deer

And the animal star of the trip… While we were packing our sacks at the bottom of the route Laetitia heard a rustling sound under one of the massive boulders. We peered around, under, and through. Then we spotted a movement, and next we saw what we thought was a cat. Of course it isn’t a cat, it is in fact a relative of the racoon, the Ringtail Cat.

Ringtail Cat

Ringtail Cat

After that we left Red Rocks for the last time (for this trip).

Leaving Red Rock  :-(

Leaving Red Rock :-(

Las Vegas

las vegas

Of course one of the attractions of Red Rock is beyond the world-class rock climbing – it’s the fleshpot of Las Vegas! A truly unbelievable place! On our last visit we went to see the Blue Man Group, this time around we went to see the ultra blinged up circus acts of Cirque du Soleil at Mystere.

mystere

And on our final night we went to see Terry’s favourite diner and the famous Fremont Experience…

The Heart Attack Grill - even when we both stood on the scales outside to check for free feeding qualification we failed the test.  ;-)

The Heart Attack Grill… Even when we both stood on the scales outside to check for free feeding qualification we failed the test. ;-)

The Fremont Experience

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