Red Rock Rendezvous 2017
I finally was able to get out and attend Red Rock Rendezvous (RRR). This was my first RRR and was really excited to meet new people and climb or the first time at Red Rock. I was going out to the rendezvous by myself with the goal of meeting new people and making friendships across the country to build my database of partners across the country( aka, make cool friends).
I posted on the ride share page and was able to get a ride and a climbing partner out of the deal. Thankfully, a guy named Brian decided I probably wouldn't murder him and we could climb together. It worked out really well. I arrived in Las Vegas around 10am on Thursday. Brian picked me up, and we headed out to get groceries before heading to the rock.
Driving into the canyon was incredible. The clouds created an epic scene and I was able to see the mountains rise up out of the desert for the first time. The color in the rocks was surreal and I was extremely excited for the weekend to come.
Brian and I climbed at Red Riding Hood wall and Black Wall on Thursday. Getting up some classics in physical graffiti and some sport routes on the black wall. We were able to hike out as the sun was going down and we got our first glimpse of the desert sunset.
The next day, Friday, I was taking a multipitch clinic with a guide. I was originally discouraged because I was wondering why I payed for a multipitch clinic when I could have just gone and done the route myself. However, I took advantage and asked a million questions. Following my guided adventure on Lotta Balls, we were dropped off back at the campsite with the afternoon open for adventure. I ended up finding a guy to climb with and we were able to quickly hitch a ride to Calico Basin and do some more multipitch before the sun went down. I realized on this trip up the wall how much of a quality experience it was to learn from the guide. My transitions were completely dialed in and my anchor building skills/knowledge was vastly improved. We ended up getting another hitch back to the campsite and went to bed early for I had a morning clinic the next day.
On Saturday, I was taking intro to Trad. This course was placed at a wall without any cracks, so practicing placements was really difficult. However, we had a phenomenal guide and I really learned a lot even though we weren't able to practice placements as much as we had hoped. I learned I was undercamming everything and it was a miracle I hadn't fallen on anything because it probably would have popped.
With a bit of rain starting, and the population in the canyon growing, our buses couldn't get in and I missed my anchor theory afternoon clinic. I was able to sneak my way into the end of a hand taping clinic which was awesome, because I've been told many times I should think about taping up in cracks and now I actually know what to do with that roll of tape.
Brian and I were a little disappointed we weren't able to climb on Saturday so decided we were going to make up for it on Sunday. The goal was an ultra classic, Solar Slab. If fully completed it was going to be 14 pitches in total by way of Solar Gully.
The day started at 4 am when we awoke and got out of the campsite by 5:30, already 30 mins behind our desired schedule. Then, on the way to the wall, we got a bit lost, had mountain lions stare us down, and were treated to an amazing sunrise. Never the less, we were slowed down a bit. Climbing started somewhere around 7:45/8am and we managed to get to the top of Solar Gully by about 11:15/30.
After some snacks and water, we eventually found the first pitch of Solar Slab. I led up and WOW was it a FANTASTIC pitch. The exposure, rock quality, good gear. It was all there for 160ft. Brian followed and by that time it was 12:30. Since we had to be back by 5 for me to collect a clinic rope we decided to bail and head down. Getting all the way down and back took some time. When finally off the route some rams decided to say hi and came running up the trail towards us. In the light this time, it still took a bit of time, but it was shorter on the way out.
Brian then drove me to the airport so I could pick up my rental car. I drove to the Grand Canyon's South Rim. Arriving around midnight, I was able to see all sorts of wildlife including elk! The stars were magnificent and no one was walking about. I took a couple minutes to soak in the different view points. It really was a surreal experience, not being able to see down into the canyon, everything pitch dark in the night, but being able to feel the exposure, feel the wind rushing by and knowing there was 5000 feet of cliff on the other side of that rock. WOW, what a feeling.
I slept in my car that night and awoke in time for the sunrise. What a sunrise it was. I got really fortunate to see a really dynamic sunrise. After admiring the canyon for a bit and sending out post cards I took off to Nevada and made it back in time for my flight home.
Overall, a short but fantastic trip. I can't wait for my next one.
Until next time, see you on the trails,