Presidents day weekend has become known to us as, " lets go to red rocks" weekend. Annie and I tracked the years we've been married and it has been a continuous tradition. This year good old Nate was going to be in Vegas for a podiatrist conference so we hooked up with him at his cousins house where we crashed for the weekend with his unfortunate cancer stricken dog with a huge belly growth and some kind of COPD. Noisy.
Saturday we decided to try our luck on a supposably stout route called Adventure Punks, located back in Pine Creek Canyon. Its a 5 pitch 10d, with the crux being the last OW pitch, and a reputation for requiring rp's instead of bolts. James was nice enough to let us borrow his #6 camalot as his two partners, Kara and Mark, were both sick so they went cragging. The approach wasn't too bad, maybe an hour or so to the base, yet we still managed to take 3 wrong left turns on our way in. Its true, I do suck at directions. I racked up for pitch 1 which was only 5.9, but has a R slab start. A reasonably difficult mantle must be performed on a 1 inch ledge about 15 feet up with air for pro below you. It went fine despite nervous sewing machine leg. Great flakes took me up 100 feet to the belay.
|Scary R start to obvious flake above|
|Once you gain the flake, its super cool|
Neither annie nor nate wanted to take pitch 2 as the description was, "the least interesting pitch, lots of grooves and tricky pro". Indeed the pro was tricky, and my last 2 pieces in 30 feet were green and purple c3's. Oh good.
|Starting out pitch 2. solid pin at my feet|
|Clusterbomb at the belay|
|Nate on uninteresting groove pitch 2|
|Oh the pump!(not reallly)|
|Classic butt shot on a classic corner|
Pitch 4 was not a good one, bad small gear most of the way to a flarey pod-stricken finger crack, with a fairly heady face climb runout to the anchor.
|Nate fighting not to take on the flarey finger crack|
Pitch 5, the crux, involved about 20 feet of full on OW, but the rest was fun fingers and face climbing. Glad to have brought the #6. The pulls on rap went smooth, and we got out of there feeling pretty good. I had dropped both a nut and quickdraw from pitch 3 and 4 respectively, and we miraciously found both plus a broken link cam in the thick bushes! Link cams are horrible. Then my Chaco strap broke.
|Annie finishing out the OW pitch on fun fingers|
|The orange helmet is Nate, buried in the squeeze|
Sunday we went to church and walked around Lake Mead.
|Not warm enough to swim, not that we would have.|
Monday we had high hopes of climbing the Warrior, a 7 pitch 11a up on Cactus Flower Tower. We started early, aware of the shady aspect, but optimistic that it would be warm enough since Punks was warm and shady on saturday. The approach was heinous. Pretty straightforward, but horrible horrible brush, prickly bushes, and endless 5th class chimney thrutching. We were exhausted by the time we got to the base, only to find another party starting up the first 5.9 chimney pitch. UGGH! We waited and froze for an hour till nate could lead off as it was much colder up there than down in the sun. We hoped after squeezing and chimneying for 170' we would warm up, but we didn't. I could not feel my toes when Nate stepped on them at the 1st belay ledge, the guys in front of us were grunting quite loudly about the physical nature of the crux pitch, and it was already 1 pm. We bailed. I am not a warrior. We rapped back down, and began the long schwak out. It seemed like a pretty big waste of a day, but sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose big. I have to remember shady climbs are too cold in February. Cafe Rio for Annie, Panda Express for Spence, and 5 hours of studying in an airport for nate rounded out the trip.
|Does this look like an actual pitch? Its just part of the approach|
|Nate on scary moss slab|
|Pitch 1 chimney|
Hours driven: 14
Super bad ratio this time.