Red Rocks & Deep Thoughts

It’s cold,grey and rainy in Colorado today, a stark contrast from the incredible weather we had in the desert last week. Our trip started off with a quick stop in Indian Creek, to support our friend Chris in his bid to climb 40 different pitches in a day on his 40th birthday, along with his friend Rob. It was super inspiring to be a part of, and it set the tone for a motivated week in Red Rocks where every day found us getting up early, hiking in, climbing a long route, walking out in the dark, and repeating it all over again the next day. Some random musings from the week:

Starting a 1000′ climb, at noon, with a party of 3, is fine, just make sure you’ve replaced your headlamp batteries recently or you could get lost on the decent. Unless, of course, your internal homing beacon happens to take you right to where you stashed your packs along the approach trail.

Whoever says the grades at Red Rocks are soft hasn’t spent much time climbing in the Canyons, where the ratings tend to be in line with many other trad areas across the county, and according to one friend “5.8 means something very different back here than it does at the 2nd pullout.”

Climbing long routes as a group of three is slower, especially when you are getting the rust out, but it’s way more fun. You have someone to talk to at belays (besides yourself), and as the leader sketches up the next pitch you can give them twice the verbal abuse they’d normally be getting.

Red Rocks isn’t Yosemite, and making monkey calls the whole way up the wall just makes you sound like an idiot.

Black Velvet is THE reason to visit Red Rocks. Sure there is plenty of the other fun stuff, but once you experience the incredible varnished rock there, you’ll be hard pressed to repeat something on the soft white stuff. So long Angel Food Wall!

While a winter of climbing in the gym is good for the forearms and technique, it doesn’t do piss for your calves. I spent all week shaking out my calves, not sure I ever had a pump in my arms.

Along the same lines, sport climbing in Indian Creek doesn’t do much to prepare your nerves for the runouts often found on the trad lines. It’s not uncommon to go 15, 20, even 25 feet above your last piece on terrain you don’t want to fall on, which is something that takes some getting used to after spending the last couple trips on the plug and chug terrain of the Creek.

I’ve always heard people say that if you can take two weeks for a trip, do it, as the first week you’ll spend getting used to the rock, and the second week is when you can really get after it. Life usually only allows for week long getaways, but if I had the time, I could see how this would really come together. Just as I felt like I was getting in the groove, it was time to head home.

We have a great time every trip we take to Red Rocks, and at some point we think we’d like to live there, as it’s surrounded by world class climbing you can access year round. The heat is a big concern to some folks when we bring this up, but as we found this past trip, 90’s in Vegas means perfect temps in the shade back in the canyons. Add to that some high altitude limestone for when it really heats up, and you have one of the best year round climbing spots in the world. And way less of this grey/cold/snowing in April stuff!

Locals Corner

Bulldog Creek Dog Walk (IV WI 4+)

Hayden Carpenter and Tom Bohanon recently repeated an obscure ice climb on the south side of Mt Sopris. Given a brief mention in Jack Robert’s ice guide, Bulldog Creek Walk is described as being 100 meters of WI 4. What they found was seven pitches of ice in a remote setting that makes for one […]

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