Wednesday, January 19

Dawn til Dusk

It's fascinating; the contrast that exists here in Las Vegas. Just minutes from the bright lights, zooming traffic and endless tarmac you'll turn a corner to find yourself lost in a desert landscape, complete with towering limestone walls or waves of beautiful sandstone. The lifestyle mirrors this same degree of contrast - you can be in complete solitude by day and then surrounded by thousands at night. Even on a bland, stay-at-home-movie-night, just being in Vegas is strangely invigorating.
another headlamp descent from Potosi...
I've had a pretty solid Vegas sampler thus far.. climbing long days at a few different cliffs, seeing the truly stunning Phantom of the Opera, watching a friend loose $40 in less than a minute and sharing many-a-beers over laughter and good food. I had no idea how much rock climbing exists within a couple hours of Sin City - the opportunity here is amazing - especially now, when most of the country is lacing up snow boots and wrapping up in scarfs, here we are.. hiking to the crag in shorts sans T-shirt. No wonder so many climbers have relocated here, even from such climbing havens as Boulder and Salt Lake City. In-fact, I've already planned my own extended stay - beginning next month I'll be living in Vegas until late spring.. Psyched!
Chris Weidner is... THE CZAR!
We've been making the best of an unusually wet Potosi, an area just outside Vegas with a reputation for burly routes (and manufactured holds). Neither of which I usually seek out, but the hang and temps at this scenic crag are to die for. Perfectly shaded climbs with a sunny belay and a breathtaking view of the expansive desert (not a highway or casino in sight). This cliff was made popular a little over ten years ago by the likes of Dan Meyers, a young Chris Lindner and Joe Brooks among others. The climbs are nauseatingly steep and gymnastic, featuring often huge moves between decent holds. The climbing has definitely challenged a weakness of mine - roof climbing, and super powerful movement - but it's been good for me.

Our first day out there I managed an awesome power endurance route called 'Mon Pote Assis' 14a that battles through a ~50 degree angle roof for a short 45 ft. I surprised myself by doing it on my third try, and immediately moved next door to check out 'Hold Your Fire' 14b. I onsighted the first half entitled 'Ray of Light' 13a on my way to have a look at the upper section, which is complete with a wild two finger pocket campus sequence and a burly finish without rest. A final, reachy, awkward cross move would prove to be a battle for me. I finished the day with a hard little 13a called 'Captain Crunch'.
Heather has all the betaz
Zeke confirms that the Solutions are indeed super comfortable
they call it the beach..
Clear Light Cave
Over the next couple days I found myself climbing to the finish on Hold Your Fire and struggling with the exiting move - it was super frustrating, but a good challenge.. I finally put it to rest yesterday. Then, after watching and belaying Chris and Heather a number of times on the classic, 'Power Windows' 13d, I thought it'd be good to have a proper flash go. I strapped up my knee pads, got the full spray down, and went for it. This short and cryptic climb begins with a powerful roof section and finishes with a thrutchy, lower angle top out. I made my way to the upper section feeling in control and prepared for what I heard was the redpoint crux. However despite the duct tape and a ear full of beta, I totally fumbled a double knee bar rest and finally decided to screw it and just keep climbing. Thankfully the top section suited my style and before long I was clipping chains. Psyched! I finished the day with a quick lap on 'The Natural' 12d. With the full moon overhead, we descended back towards the city lights, psyched on another great day out.
Today we went out to one of the most impressive walls at Red Rocks - the Gallery. I was super excited to have a go at some of this wall's ultra classic test-pieces, however the blazing hot sun and 70 degree temps were worrisome.. shockingly warm for January, but a sporadic breeze and a little convincing made it all okay. I began the day with the warm ups - 'Yaak Crack' 11d and 'Minstrel' 12b. First point of business was to try and onsight the 'Sissy Traverse' 13b, a stout traversing line that climbs the entire length of the wall. Nice little crimp cruxes are separated by rests and a hard boulder problem awaits you at the end - a super nice route. I then jumped on 'Nothing Shocking' 13a and the mega classic (albeit my least favorite on the wall) 'The Gift' 12d, followed by 'Where the Down Boys Go' 12d and 'Who Made Who' 12d. As the heat finally started catching up with me (and my skin), I onsighted 'The Glitch' 12c, finishing off the Gallery.. such a killer wall covered in great climbs - it rejuvenated my desire to climb at Red Rocks.
seriously... January?!?!
Tomorrow will be my last day before heading north to snowy Salt Lake for the Winter OR Trade Show, where I'll be doing a presentation in the Rock & Ice Climbing Zone on climbing in Kentucky on Friday January 21st at 2pm.. LaSportiva gear give-away!
I'm hanging in SLC for a few days before jetting back to Boulder for another slide-show presentation I'm doing at the Boulder Rock Club on January 26 - please come and check it out! I'll be showing a collection of slides from 2010, including a couple short videos and tons of stories. Entry is free for everyone and there will be Avery Beer available while it lasts plus some rad free gear! Hope to see you guys and gals out there!!