Days of Chips N Salsa [A Mini TR]


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Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 20, 2013 - 01:58am PT
Ah, Las Vegas. Last week we had record lows of close to 0 with the wind chill. But this weekend, we are looking at mid 60's - and that means it's time to climb.

The first part to any successful adventure, is to assure you have the right gear for the task at hand. That gives an intrepid climber a good excuse to drag out the metal and take a gratuitous gear shot.

Credit: Vegasclimber

Secondly, with the days short and all, it's important to get a "Vegas Alpine Start" which means dragging your butt out to the climb by 1.......

PM of course.

OK, so we aren't really doing an epic climb. But being as I haven't been on gear since my "Yosemite Adventure" in September, it's far past time to get out and get our trad on. Christina and I decided to do Chips and Salsa, a fun little 5.3. It's listed as a 2 pitch, but I have found it's a lot easier to do it in three. Once you pull the crux bulge, it's really hard to communicate with your belayer.

So we finally dragged our selves out of the house, and started our long and arduous journey to Red Rock. I had to stop and get some caffeine to start my day, damn the upcoming energy drink laws, full speed ahead!

Credit: Vegasclimber

A long 5 minute drive along the deadly highways brought us to our first view of the Red Rock NCA for the day.

Credit: Vegasclimber

Another 10 minutes, and we found ourselves passing by the Calico Basin. The brilliant red hue called to us, but today we had other goals in mind.

Credit: Vegasclimber

Pulling into sandstone heaven, otherwise known as Red Rock NCA. Have to renew our annual parks pass....shut up and take my money!

Credit: Vegasclimber

Up to the First Pullout we go, and then to cast our eyes on our prize of the day - Chips and Salsa, on the Tuna and Chips Wall!

Credit: Vegasclimber

An extremely difficult approach awaits us here. A whole 10 minutes had us to the base and getting our gear together for the day. Christina took the time to get her snack on while I sorted out the rack and slings for the day.

Credit: Vegasclimber

Credit: Vegasclimber

Off and away! We cast off onto the first pitch, which is a nice straight forward pitch up to a bolted and chained anchor. My offset HB's love this pitch, and I generally run more of those then active gear on this pitch. Here's Christina following the pitch, trying out the GoPro that I got her for Christmas. No video for you today, Pleasant Reader - this was a trial run and the system still needs some tweaking. So photos will have to suffice!

Credit: Vegasclimber

Once Christina is set at the belay and the gear is changed over, it's time for the second pitch. This is the crux of the climb, with a short chimney-to-face move, and then over a bulge. Usually my favorite of the climb, I get to drop a nice black Tricam here and get rid of the #4 boat anchor. After the bulge, there is a nice little alcove to set up a gear anchor and bring up your second before you tackle the top slabs.

Credit: Vegasclimber

Credit: Vegasclimber

Once into the alcove, we were getting a bit...peckish. Well, being as we are on Chips and Salsa, how about some....chips and salsa. Chipception?

Credit: Vegasclimber

Credit: Vegasclimber

Looking out at the Second Pullout and a beautiful day!

Credit: Vegasclimber

When I find a nice place with a great view, I tend to take a moment and leave a "Paul Pounce" as I am one of the users of Paul's Balls. Paul has a great view of the Rainbow Wall and most of the area from here!

Credit: Vegasclimber

Tackling the third pitch was a bit of a bear. No matter how many times I do this climb, I always forget to run a re direct around this one corner and end up fighting rope drag for half the pitch. You'd think I would learn after doing this a half dozen times.

Got to take a look at a couple bats tucked away in the cracks, and ran it out a bit as the slope lessened. I got to the top, set up another gear anchor, and called off belay. I looked for a good place for a redirect, and chose a slot under a nice solid bit of rock. After thumping it and tugging on the piece, I was satisfied it was nice and bomber. I got the slack pulled up, and waited for Christina to call out that she was on her way up. So far, we have been making good time!

After waiting a while, I could hear rising mutters and cuss words coming from the belay. I know this usually means a rope snafu or a stuck cam. It turned out to be the latter, and after Christina fought with it a good while, I told her to come on up and I would lower down and clean the piece. And so the slight epic that comes on some of these easy climbs began...

I got Christina up and into the belay, and had her put me back on to lower me down to the piece. I took another look at my redirect, figured it was good, and leaned back. As she started to lower, I got to hear that sound that we just LOVE to hear in the world of trad...


Sky-rock-sky-rock-skyrock-skyrock-boiyoiyoiiing.... as I took a few bounces ass over teakettle down the slab, all I could do was say "Ah shit" and hang on.

Not a bad fall except for the fact that I haven't fallen on an anchor before, and that's all I was listening for on the way down. I came to a stop about 15 feet down the slab, bruised and scraped. Christina says happily "Yay, I caught you!" as I'm laying there thanking the powers-that-be that the anchor was bomber. After a quick personal systems check, I growled and went back up to build a new redirect, with two pieces this time. Turns out that my nice solid piece of rock decided to pick that time to totally disintegrate. Gotta love that sandstony goodness!

So, back to work. Lowered down to the stuck piece, and yeah it was jammed in there pretty good. Only one lobe was really jammed, so about 10 minutes later I was on my way back up to the anchor.

We topped out and enjoyed some more chips and salsa, as the last of the adrenaline overload cleared out, and enjoyed the end of the sun for the day.

Credit: Vegasclimber

This is my "Contemplating why I didn't build a stronger redirect" face.

Credit: Vegasclimber

Credit: Vegasclimber

OK, enough food and enough of this. Time to go home and nurse my bruises. We scramble down the descent gully (not the most fun) and back to our bags. The extra pitch ran us a bit longer then we planned, but we still managed to get out and back to the car before the dark took over for the night.

Credit: Vegasclimber

A nice drive out with light traffic for a change, and off to home we went. A 5.3 isn't the most epic of days for the hard core crowd here, but I figured that it would be a nice enough day to share. I know that even with the fall, I sure enjoyed it, and so did Christina. And at the end of the day, that's what really counts.


Trad climber
The great state of advaita
Jan 20, 2013 - 02:13am PT
Nice, and glad to see you are out there again. Especially like the poetry of the snacks!

Man that parking lot was loaded with car and I could see lot of peoples. All climbers or are these others out and about in the area?


A long way from where I started
Jan 20, 2013 - 02:22am PT
Hard core. I'm working my way up through the 2s now. 5.2c is close, and I'm hoping to be through 5.2d and into the 3s by March.

Why? Because I gotta be (as in work-related) in LV in mid-March. And it's a fundamental law of the Universe that if you're forced to go to your favorite rock-climbing area and spend time in a conference room, then you are required to take a week's vacation time and...

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 20, 2013 - 02:48am PT
LOL Ghost! Niiice - those C grades are a bitch ;)

Fletcher, first pullout tends to be a zoo. More tourists then climbers, but on days like today they like to sit around and shout encouragement at you. Well I choose to call it that anyways hehe.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jan 20, 2013 - 04:51am PT
Great minds think alike.
Great minds think alike.
Credit: mouse from merced
And one burrito bites the dust. Another one to go. Save it for the Niner game tomorrow.

I spent part of my day in a similar vein, Travis. Nice fall, too, Bud... My day's doin' doesn't really warrant a TR, but it was one of those PETITE DAYS in YV.

Bus ride and snooze time, coffee shop and the best $4.00 croissant ever, a shuttle ride to the Mountain Shop, new gear spree(La Sp. approachy shoes, harness just because, a dozen BD d-gates, a set of BD stopper cabled nuts, and a set of DMM Torque nuts. Some webbing on them babies.)

I dumped all this BS at Werner's (He's sold $100 worth of pins for me! YAY!)

I laced up the new shoes and hiked over to the gully on Sunnyside and sat where John Muir no doubt sat and lay and snoozed in the sun in the sun in the sun stoning out for two or three hours till the sun went below Middle Bro and then I got back to Werner and the cat. Merry's gone to LA visiting mom.
1-19-13, Saturday.  A GEM!
1-19-13, Saturday. A GEM!
Credit: mouse from merced
I liked the shoes fine, my knees need more limbering up, though. And I need to remember to bring along my frickin' inhaler! Other than that...

Werner BS-ed and he told me the tale of Bushido, Zenith, Bird, Bard, and Schmitz. Campfire story. Not even 5.1, going to the coffee shop.

HIYA, CHRISTINA! Thanks for doing your job so well! JEEZUX, TRAVIX!
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Jan 20, 2013 - 10:44am PT
I can't think of a better way to spend the afternoon!

Jan 20, 2013 - 12:04pm PT
nice! man, 5.3 in the sun sounds pretty damn good right now. still waiting for my pipes to unfreeze and i live in the desert.

Boulder climber
Somewhere on 395
Jan 20, 2013 - 12:09pm PT
Really enjoy RR. The Panty wall is fun, and what is that formation called? Oh, Magic Bus. I like the routes on there too

Sport climber
Home away from Home
Jan 20, 2013 - 12:53pm PT
this is awesome... and quite entertaining. :)
J. Werlin

Social climber
Cedaredge, CO
Jan 20, 2013 - 01:01pm PT
You guys got STYLE! Props for Paul's Balls too.

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Jan 20, 2013 - 11:48pm PT
I can't WAIT to get back to Vegas on the 31st to do some RR climbing!
I got a bunch of stoppers from Mark Hudon that need to be initiated
to Red Rock.
Be ready to be dragged outta the house, Travis.

We might even get a GUEST APPEARANCE from Boo Dawg.

Great TR, Travis. I wish I had been there, so you could Drag me up it.
My shoulder is getting better so get ready to be Dragged up something by me!

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Jan 20, 2013 - 11:57pm PT
dip it! (them chips)

Boulder climber
Jan 21, 2013 - 12:44am PT
I laced up the new shoes and hiked over to the gully on Sunnyside and sat where John Muir no doubt sat ...
I once got up on SSB via a break in the lower tier right above NPS stables - nothing spicy, except for the rattlesnake at the top.

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 21, 2013 - 07:55pm PT
Thanks for the posts everyone!

Looking forward to you being back in action, Cosmic.

Cardiff by the sea
Jan 21, 2013 - 08:00pm PT
Nice Vegasclimber!

Looks like you had a killer outing with your gal. Thanks for the trip report.

Edit: I did a f.a. top rope many years ago in east San Diego that I called Tips and Salsa. I have laways liked that name especially for an 11+ edging climb that it was.


Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Jan 21, 2013 - 08:09pm PT
Any day moving over stone and being able to report on it is a good day.

I'm a bit envious....
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