We bivied in a primitive but free camping area by the trailhead. I've gotten lazy of late and avoid pitching a tent unless its butt freezing cold, and if the chance of rain is minimal. So I just bivied in the open, and slept really well on Walker's big Mondo crashpad.
Mt Charleston is one of the several climbing areas, in the rock wonderland know as Las Vegas. On the latest leg of his never-ending climbing trip, Walker decided he wanted to spend some of the fall, sport climbing around the Southwest. I invited myself onto his trip, showed up at the Vegas airport bright Friday am, and left Walker in charge of the rest of the logistics. I did bring a spanking new Charleston guidebook with me (a very generous gift from my gym buddy Tom) that I drooled over during the plane ride. After procuring foodstuff (thank you Trader Joe's for being everywhere for us), and a quick 1 hr drive from the airport, we found ourselves under a sunny sky, at 8000 ft, high above the Vegas desert, parking at the trailhead. Soon we were warming up on a popular 10d. There was a 12b extension that I tried but failed. For the 2nd warmup we hit this cool traversy 11c with jugs, pockets and pinches. Walker onsighted it ofcourse, while yours truly hung all over it. Damn footwork again. Climbing here made me feel like I needed a climbing 101 course and learn to use feet all over again. Just need more outdoor mileage I guess. The day did get better and we got on a 12a, and two different 12c's. Jazzmatazz the 2nd 12c was pretty cool. I made it all the way to the last 10 feet, but was stymied by the crux guarding the anchors. Just couldn't figure out the finishing sequence. I lowered and we decided to save any remaining energy and skin for the next day.
Bivying next to the car. Check out the space blanket setup around my pillow to keep any cold winds at bay!
After a huge brekkie of eggs, veggie chorizzos and potates, we found ourselves back at the Hood. The highlight of the day was Straight Outta Compton, a super classic 12d and the first route at the Compton cave. Also the easiest route here which snuggles next to some of the big bad 14s that this crag is rightly famous for. I did every move except one which required a strong right heel hook which I was afraid to use because of a nagging knee injury on my right leg. Walker did get a good redpoint burn, and barely missed the send. My last route of the day was the one that I described in the intro to this post. Time to head out of the crag.
A climber on Straight Outta Compton. The photo doesn't do justice to the steepness of the cave. Wildly overhung the whole way, at one point I found myself completely horizontal.
My 3rd and final day we decided to climb at Red Rocks Canyon. Red Rocks is quite amazing, beautiful sandstone, and 20 mins away from the Las Vegas strip. We had a great day climbing at the Pier wall. We did a lot of pitches of mostly 11s and this one 12b that I almost snagged a 2nd try redpoint. It had a crimpy v4ish boulder problem in the middle. I was able to do it off the hang, but fell on the redpoint. Oh well, another climb to come back for. The 11a and 11c on this wall -can't remember any names :( - were really fun. This wall is a good place to get in shape. All the routes are right next to another, enabling lap burns.
I had a 7.45 pm flight to catch. But we were exhausted way before. We grabbed a quick dinner and Walker dropped me for my Southwest flight. Tired but content I made it back to SF uneventfully. Walker, thanks again for taking care of things.
These quick trips are like little appetizers. They tease my taste buds just enough to make me realize how I long for more time in the outdoors, visiting some of these amazing, beautiful climbing areas. Looking forward to the next weekend already!