This Thanksgiving, like many others, I made the drive from my current home of Reno to Vegas. I arrived on a Friday afternoon and immediately went to meet up with a former high school wrestling teammate of mine, Jon, and went bouldering at the Kraft boulders. No pictures from this session as we were short on daylight and I wanted to maximize the climbing we could get in. I spoke briefly with Jon to see what he had done before in the area roped and decided that we should get on a new four pitch sport route (5.9) the next morning, The Big Bad Wolf.
We did the route in two pitches linking 1 and 2 and 3 and 4, 4 really is just easy fifth so you can walk off with no worries. All nice, new bolted anchors.
I had made plans with another buddy of mine, Dave, who is in dental school in Vegas, to go climb Triassic Sands that afternoon. After Jon and I finished The Big Bad Wolf, I went to the usual meet-up spot to meet up with Dave. He was a bit late out of his clinical that day, so we booked it over to the Black Velvet Canyon parking zone. After a short, slightly grunty approach and waiting for a party to rap, we got to get on Triassic. Sorry for the lack of Triassic photos, we only climbed the first two pitches (limited daylight) and only had one camera among the two of us.
The next day (Sunday, for those of you keeping track at home) Dave and I had planned to climb The Nightcrawler. However, cool temperatures paired with quite the breeze led us to seek the sun rather than the shade
There were some unsettling clouds in the back of Pine Creek Canyon, as we were going to climb Orange Clonus but decided against it due to some ominous clouds and wound up climbing two fun, mellow climbs instead. Topless Twins (5.9) and Doin' The Good Drive (5.9).
We had initially wanted to climb Stick Left after a brief lunch but were unable to find it, so we wound up at Doin' The Good Drive - and were not disappointed.
While Topless and Straight Shooter get most of the single pitch .9 hype in the area, I feel that Doin The Good Drive is one of the better single pitch .9's I have done in the area. Well-varied and heads up in some areas.
That concluded our day of climbing on Sunday, the next two days I went mountain biking after work.
Two highlights of this, only one I have a picture of. The first being taking my Dad (56 years old) out on his first mountain bike ride, and him doing very well and loving it (pictured below)
The next was to get to ride with my friends Brandon and Lee, two brothers I have been close with since high school. Due to life circumstances, I hadn't seen Lee in probably four years and got to see him and pedal with he and his brother, what a blast. Lee's son was born the day I came into town, so I assumed he wouldn't be able to get out and ride, but thankfully he did.
Wednesday I met up with someone I had been in touch with intermittently and it just seemed that dates never managed to work out. Xavier is a friend of mine from high school's Dad and we wound up meeting via Facebook. He is also a super strong climber and more importantly, a first class guy. We decided to go climb the Risk Brothers Roof, because it had intrigued both of us for a while.
After climbing the roof we agreed to go through with the climb we had discussed doing in advance, getting on The Warrior on the Cactus Flower Tower
For me, this was the 'main event' of my trip - a climb only a year or two ago I fell in love with after seeing the compelling photos of a beautiful flaring corner in the Handren guide. Making a "dream climb" happen, in any capacity, is something incredibly fulfilling.
All that stood between us and The Warrior was Thanksgiving. While no photos were taken of the food consumed (at least at my Dad's place), one of his dog's inability to move from the base of the stairs summed it up:
Fast forward to 3:30am Friday morning, my alarm is going off. Time to microwave some breakfast sandwiches, down some tea, and meet Xavier at Albertsons.
We get to the Oak Creek trailhead quicker than expected due to the gates having been left open due to a free entrance day the previous day and take off to The Warrior!!!!!
The eerie glow of Las Vegas in the background whenever you are climbing at Red Rock and are out when it is dark, whether early or late, is always quite the trip.
No pictures of the second pitch due to burl/spook factor, highly attentive belays required - plus a good portion of the pitch is out of view of the belay at either end. Heads up climbing leads to an offwidth to a hand crack to a chimney. Outstanding and burly pitch...hell, the whole climb was burly.
The fourth pitch was a very interesting one, and certainly keeps the adventure vibe of this whole climb alive. You climb up and then eventually through a bird's nest of some sort (unoccupied), out to some physical and unique climbing to the belay.
At this point we decided it would be best to go down, given the time of day it was and the low sun angle this time of year. The 5.11a pitch above, which many say isn't even the crux (they claim the third pitch 10d is), looked beautiful. However, with a non-trivial descent through new territory for us, we made the prudent decision and rapped the route. What an incredible route it was, definitely a Top 3 route for me.
We got back to the car right as the sun was going down, a full day of adventure. I went back to my Dad's house and sat in the hot tub for a while, as I knew my muscles would be quite sore after the physical climbing of the day. The next morning I packed up, had a great breakfast burrito at Roberto's Taco Shop (highly recommended when in Vegas - for anything, open 24 hrs) and rumbled North back home to Reno and my amazing girlfriend.
Special thanks to Xavier for leading The Warrior, for Dave and Jon for giving me a catch on everything earlier on, to Jeff for letting me borrow some extra cams so I had triples on Triassic and to my Dad and Step-Mom for putting me up and feeding me well. Oh, and for my awesome girlfriend allowing me to escape Reno for a week to play/visit family. I truly am blessed.