A Week in Red Rock---A Photo Essay


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Social climber
Flatland, Ca
Jun 11, 2008 - 11:42pm PT
I know you've heard this already... But.. THAT IS AN AWESOME REPORT!!!!

I feel as though I'm wasting time sitting at my computer when I could be out doing the same...

Plenty of climbing, on some pretty amazing looking rock formations....


Wish I was there.

P.S. The photos are amazing! Thank you for sharing.

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 12, 2008 - 12:11am PT
Oh my goodness Peter, thanks for all those kind words. I remember my time being schooled by you with the greatest fondness and nostalgia. Whatever little I know about offwidth climbing I learned, first from Pat Ament in Colorado, and then from you. You were the Gods of Granite, I was the Schmuck of Shawangunk, and those were among the best of times.

Perhaps I could make a small effort to correct and add to the historical record?

First, I am sad to report that I never did master the one-arm handstand, in spite of much instruction from my friend Joe Bridges. You might have seen me falling out of one (slowly on the best of days), but I have no recollection of every staying up there the requisite 3-second minimum. I have to plead guilty to the crosses, front levers, and one-arm pullups, learned in a utterly futile attempt to emulate the Master of Rock, John Gill. Their main effect on my climbing was to make my chest too big fit in places everyone else seemed to be squeezing into, a problem that could have been offset by technique, if only I had some.

As for Evy, as you guessed, we were already at the end of our relatively brief marriage during my visits to Camp 4, a union conceived by two people, barely grown up, who were far too busy trying to extricate themselves from dysfunctional family situations to recognize that the demands of matrimony would outlast the need to escape. In 1983, after several years of living together, I married my wife Mara, and we have a 21 year-old daughter Sarah who is truly the joy of our lives.

At 64, I don't know whether I am "working deep" or perhaps just sinking deep, but whatever it is, climbing still seems to be part of the plan, and my connections to climbers over the years form an integral part of the fabric of life.

Hope all is well with you Peter.

sous le toit
Jun 12, 2008 - 12:36am PT
thanks, I really enjoyed the tr

Trad climber
boulder, co.
Jun 12, 2008 - 12:49am PT
That surely was one of the best TRs on ST in a long time. Humble and witty well written prose and super, even if somewhat enhanced, photos. Thank You RG it was a joy to read.

I too have become appaled at the gross over development of that fragile desert terrain. Having been going to RR since the late seventies I have witnessed tragic changes to an area I love.

Being true dirtbags we used to drive out on the simple roads of the day and just randomly pull in to an empty lot to bivy. Those places are now luxury homes and casinos and strip malls.

I take some perverse pleasure in the secret knowledge that long before all that development I had pooped in their front yards.

Long live RR. and RG!

Oh, and Mr Hahn huge congratulations on ten ticks on the Big E.

Jun 12, 2008 - 12:49am PT
The crew looked a little like Bighorn sheep there, not Mt Goats. Great stuff RG, love the pictures, awe inspiring! Thank you for sharing it!
Double D

Jun 12, 2008 - 12:50am PT
RG: Nice photos & TR! Brings back redish-rock memories.

A long way from where I started
Jun 12, 2008 - 02:27am PT
Thanks Rich.

It's the middle of the night in Chicago, a long way from home, in a hotel room that could be in any city anywhere.

Your TR just made things a whole lot better.


Jun 12, 2008 - 07:18am PT
A good six years before I started climbing and met Richard we were living in the same dorm at school. I came that close to getting a chance to watch Richard and John Gill climbing when they were kids.

A number of people I know have retired to Las Vegas and other parts of Nevada, with generally mixed results. Longer term I hope natural processes will begin to restrict our impact on the desert regions. The Colorado River has all but vanished. Phoenix has built out to the horizon and beyond but one can only ponder what the future will bring. Solar power plants inland to provide the power needed by desal plants on the coast most likely.

If we once would sit down and think through what we are doing, we might just stop.


Social climber
Charlevoix, MI
Jun 12, 2008 - 09:11am PT
Wow! Great TR.

On the developement issue, I agree, but I think the house you refered to in Calico Basin as an old time developement is actually new, and would be megga expensive. It also requires extensive irrigation with the gardens. It is a really cool house though, I was checking it out a month or so ago.


Trad climber
Jun 12, 2008 - 09:28am PT
on development in the west, it freekin blows that you guys have ZERO sense of architectural aesthetic.

that people finance, build and buy that craps just makes me sick.


Sport climber
The unraveling hem of society
Jun 12, 2008 - 10:47am PT
Many thanks, RG! My sole 2-week trip to RR in March of '07 was just enough to whet my appetite, and I'm always looking for any RR "fix" I can get. I did the 2-pitch direct start to DoWT when I was there (I believe it's called the Gobbler, but don't quote me on that), which I'd describe as giving full 10a value, though that might be my slab-related discomfort speaking. A bathroom emergency prevented us from completing Dream, but we did get through the high-step-with-slopey-crimps section you described. Great route!

The development is truly unfortunate, but with luck topographic barriers, recreation-area-related restrictions, and the economy will together prevent further encroachment in the near future. Or at least until we can all get back out there.

In the meantime, your TR has provided fresh incentive for me to hone my trad skills and pad my savings account.


Trad climber
Lee, NH
Jun 12, 2008 - 11:41am PT
Reading your TR started my day on a high note, Richard. Not such a high note but important --
your photos and notes about development consuming the desert add thought to the TR as well.

In the early years of RR climbing you could sort of sense it coming, the city moving outwards,
but we didn't foresee the scale of what was to come.

Joe Herbst absorbs the peaceful view from Windy Peak in 1975:

Say hi to Steve for me. Somewhere among unscanned slides I've got photos of him in the
Gunks, 1978.

Trad climber
The hear and now, currently Pasadena, CA
Jun 12, 2008 - 12:25pm PT
Good stuff! Made for a nice evening of enjoyment and inspiration. Very thoughtful. Thanks!


Social climber
Bay Area
Jun 12, 2008 - 02:26pm PT
Sweet. Red Rocks is great!
handsome B

Gym climber
Jun 12, 2008 - 02:29pm PT
A TR with a point, a sharp point at that.

Nice Work!

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Jun 12, 2008 - 04:48pm PT
Great pictures! On a geologic note, Red Rocks occurs in the lower plate of one of the more famous thrust faults in North America, the Wilson thrust. The climbing is on the Navajo Sandstone, which is about 170 million years old, but the Navajo has been overridden by Cambrian dolomites and sandstones that are on the oder of 600 milion years old.

In a couple of these pictures, you can see the older Cambrian rocks sitting on top of the Navajo.

Trad climber
Salt Lake City
Jun 12, 2008 - 06:56pm PT
65? Sheesh ... I hope I can climb half those routes when I'm 50, let alone 65!

Dogtown Climber

Trad climber
The Idyllwild City dump
Jun 12, 2008 - 07:59pm PT
Cool,Looks like a tick for the todo list at Red Rocks. TY.

Jun 12, 2008 - 10:26pm PT
Great post!

Social climber
Bay Area
Jun 12, 2008 - 11:41pm PT
How was the approach to Black Velvet? The dirt road was pretty hairy when I was there in late March.
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