Levitation 29 5.11c

 
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Eagle Wall


Red Rocks, Nevada USA


Trip Report
Mini photo trip report: Levitation 29, Red Rock

by Mei
Tuesday November 21, 2017 10:11pm
What's not to like about this place?
What's not to like about this place?
Credit: Mei

I linked this trip report posted to my blog in another thread, but just figured I might as well share the photos here. It's climbing content after all.

My favorite form of climbing is following multipitch climbs. The emphasis is on following. I love how I can be completely lost in the art of climbing, solving the puzzles that each climb presents, without needing to worry about the consequences of a leader fall. Iíll be happy to follow all day all the time. Well, thatís my dream anyway.

In real life, not everyone I climb with volunteers to lead everything. While I might drop subtle hints of nudge and encouragement to a few partners made of ropegun material from time to time, I find myself on the sharp end more often than not. Occasionally, I have to step up to be the ropegun when I want a climb bad enough. Some climbs, I guess I want them really that bad.

I have recently led every pitch of Astroman (special report) and got us to top in 8.5 hours. Today, I found myself in a ropegunís shoes again, to lead all 7 pitches, at the base of Levitation 29, a climb at Red Rock made famous by Lynn Hillís claim as her favorite climb. Not one of, but THE favorite.

The much dreaded approach turned out to be non-eventful. I attribute that 100% to my partner D. Youíll see why later. Lucky me! Also, heís a willing photographer. Some of the photos below of me climbing were taken by him. And lucky us too! It was a beautiful day. Sunny with a mellow breeze. I was able to go up and down the route in just my T-shirt. I later learned from another climber who climbed the day before but bivyíed the night prior that their bivy and climbing were hammered by strong wind, and other people on the route as well as a nearby route made the climbing stressful. We had the entire wall to ourselves all day.

We didnít particularly go for a speedy ascent, but everything just moved pretty smoothly. It was a clean ascent in a good style on my part. Yaaaay! (Surprised that I can still pat myself on the back despite my negative ape index.) With the linkage of p1&p2, p3&p4, as well as p6&p7 (p5 was climbed as a single pitch so that when my partner fell on the crux pitch, he would not lose too much elevation due to rope stretch), we reached the top of the 7th pitch in 3.5 hours. Yeah, this IS a sport route. On the way down, we took our time to practice some cool rappel techniques I picked up from a recent Mountain Guide Manual clinic. I strongly recommend their book and clinic to everyone who spends a lot of time climbing outdoors.

Even the previously-dreaded descent (a longer route than the approach route) ended up not too bad with plenty of day light for easy navigation. We are back to the car at Oak Creek parking lot after 10.5 hours. I was happy to win my own little game in which I did not have to break out my headlamp that day, but I hope they did not search for my car at the parking lot based on the Late Exit permit application I submitted to the BLM system.

Here is the photo part of the photo trip report.

1. My first day arriving in Las Vegas in the morning on a clear sunny day, I stopped at the climbing shop, located on the main drag through the city, Charleston Blvd aka Route 159, to pick up the Red Rock climbing guidebook. After I exited the shop, I had a certain compass in my head and started driving on the main drag towards Red Rock. I had the view of a bank of hills in front of me the entire time. Then, the road suddenly deadended on me. Puzzled, I pulled up the map on my smartphone. Yep, that blue dot was me, looking kinda stupid and feeling even more so. But for all you nerds out there, on a two way road, the odds of driving in the wrong direction is always 50%, right? Right? Okay, I feel better now.

A Vegas local I interacted with for climbing at Red Rock stopped responding to my text after seeing this image (I provided it for full disclosure). I risk losing all my street cred by posting this, I suppose. Will anyone still climb with me?
I could end up in Arizona if Route 159 had not dead ended here.
I could end up in Arizona if Route 159 had not dead ended here.
Credit: Mei

2. As for the approach, the guidebook has this image to go along with its description. Notice how it recommends the same route for both approach and descent.
There are many ways to get to the climb.
There are many ways to get to the climb.
Credit: Mei

3. We followed the excellent "wily climber approach" beta posted on Mountain Project (link ) courtesy of Kevin Dahlstrom and Anthony Anagnostou. The red line (up the slab) is our approach track, along with the longer descent track. The descent follows a longer route because it avoids down climbing 5th class, which is only easy when you are going up. I like the approach because it avoids long ways in the very bouldery wash. Going down the wash is not as bad because gravity helps. This approach took us 2 hours from car to the base, with me being a not-fast hiker, and we leisurely stopped to look at cliffs and climbs along the way. I did not find the approach taxing because most of the elevation gain happened on the careful, slow-paced, 4th and easy 5th ascents. My GPS coordinates went crazy on the descent as you can see on the left side of the image. Oh well. The blue line in the image is from Supertopo user Paul B where he kindly shared his wisdom in his trip report.
Track Overlay for Eagle Wall (Levitation 29)
Track Overlay for Eagle Wall (Levitation 29)
Credit: Mei

4. The IBM Boulder is an important landmark. I wonder how it got that name!
Why is it called IBM Boulder, not Intel, or Microsoft?
Why is it called IBM Boulder, not Intel, or Microsoft?
Credit: Mei
[Edit: wow, I thought I had it figured out, until I read the comments...]

5. The canyon is absolutely gorgeous.
I could still be happy if I had gotten lost on this approach up this b...
I could still be happy if I had gotten lost on this approach up this beautiful canyon.
Credit: Mei

6. I start up Pitch 1. This is the only pitch I used my trad gear (I carried 5 pieces per MP suggestion), and it was for the start before reaching the first bolt, where I found moves quite reachy and balancy, aka as scary. I linked it with Pitch 2, and the rope drag became heinous, which made pulling the 5.11 crux on Pitch 2 (seen near the top of the photo where a couple of icicle looking rock pillars hang) all the more exciting.
I asked my partner not to put me on belay until I made my first clip b...
I asked my partner not to put me on belay until I made my first clip because the moves looked thin and I didn't want to drag him down with me if I fell.
Credit: Mei
(Photo courtesy of D)

7. I here just pulled the mini roof on the crux pitch (Pitch 5) and entering the so called pumpy shallow dihedral. I found crack climbing skills quite useful on this climb. Except for the first 20 feet on Pitch 1, the entire route is extremely well protected with bolts. Even I (!) found leading not so stressful.
The crux pitch on the climb. The bolt below my foot (right above t...
The crux pitch on the climb. The bolt below my foot (right above the roof) can be taken out by hand completely, but don't worry, we inserted it back.
Credit: Mei
(Photo courtesy of D)
[Edit: Oh yeah, regarding the bolt, paging Clint Cummins!]

8. Looking up at Eagle Wall
I think I'm at Red Rock! Looking up at Eagle Wall.
I think I'm at Red Rock! Looking up at Eagle Wall.
Credit: Mei

  Trip Report Views: 1,318
Mei
About the Author
Dreaming big...

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
Gunkie

Trad climber
Valles Marineris
  Nov 22, 2017 - 04:57am PT
Awesome!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Nov 22, 2017 - 05:35am PT
Nice TR Mei! Love that climb.
Killer K

Boulder climber
Sacramento, CA
  Nov 22, 2017 - 05:59am PT
Irritable Bowel Movement?
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Nov 22, 2017 - 06:29am PT
Thanks Mei!
Rollover

climber
Gross Vegas
  Nov 22, 2017 - 06:35am PT
IBM selectric typewriter ball. <br/>
 <br/>
IBM selectric typewriter ball.


Credit: Rollover
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Nov 22, 2017 - 08:22am PT

Awesome!!!!
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
  Nov 22, 2017 - 11:15am PT
Awesome job💪

On an awesome climb‼️

i gotta get over there and do that thing again

Thanks for the psych🤙
clode

Trad climber
portland, or
  Nov 22, 2017 - 12:52pm PT
Ah yes, the IBM boulder, so called because when you get to this point, stop and look around, the jaw-dropping scenery causes you to have an Instantaneous Bowel Movement, as you say something like "Holy Sh!t"!

Thanks for the photo TR!
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Nov 22, 2017 - 12:54pm PT
Nice one Mei!

can be taken out by hand completely, but don't worry, we inserted it back.

;)
7SacredPools

Trad climber
Ontario, Canada
  Nov 22, 2017 - 02:48pm PT
Humorous and inspiring TR; TFPU!
kingtut

climber
Jingus Newroutaineer
  Nov 22, 2017 - 03:29pm PT
Way to go Rope Gun Mei! :)
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Nov 22, 2017 - 04:26pm PT
Thank you! Nothing beats linking pitches
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
  Nov 22, 2017 - 04:33pm PT

...but just figured I might as well share the photos here.

That's ALWAYS a good thing for you to figure! Keep sharing.
msiddens

Trad climber
  Nov 22, 2017 - 07:04pm PT
Nice one Mei
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
  Nov 22, 2017 - 07:40pm PT
Thank you Mei for another priceless post! Excellent images and graphics, too.
Mei

Trad climber
mxi2000.net
Author's Reply  Nov 23, 2017 - 09:41am PT
Thanks all for the comments.

Who would have thought there could be different interpretations of IBM!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
phylp

Trad climber
Upland, CA
  Nov 23, 2017 - 04:29pm PT
Happy Thanksgiving, Mei! Thanks for the TR.

Here is my Levitation TR:
Once long ago when I was climbing well enough to lead that route, I was at RR with a group of people, of whom I only remember Clint and another guy at the camp. I remember the other guy because when I asked who wanted to go do Levitation, he eagerly said yes. I know I had the little Red Book, and we may have had the Sloan guide too. We were camping at the then legal Oak Creek Canyon campground and got up at the crack of pre-dawn. All I remember about the approach was that it took a long time. I led the first two pitches, at that time the second pitch roof crux was rated 10d. I kind of recall having to haul this guy through the 10d. When he got to the anchors, I asked him, so which pitches were you planning to lead? To which he said, oh I thought you were going to lead everything. Now, in retrospect, I should have just led everything, but I think I felt if he was struggling on pitch 2, the rest of the route wasn't going to be very fun.

If I had known I would have had so few opportunities to get back to that route while I could still climb it, I surely would have kept going. Well maybe someday!
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Eagle Wall - Levitation 29 5.11c - Red Rocks, Nevada USA. Click to Enlarge
Photo: Greg Barnes
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