I will try to make this a bit less of a stream of consciousness and a touch less lucid, but try is all we can do.
Just before Christmas I went to Connecticut to visit my family back there. During this trip 213 (Ben) and I decided that it would be a prime time for him to come down and climb in Red Rock. I was off work until the 2nd of January, the weather patterns aligned, and I had other friends coming to town as well. Ben mentored me into climbing 4 1/2 years ago (good lord, it's been that long?) when we were both living in Reno. My tenure in the Biggest Little City came to an end in March and Ben hadn't been down to climb at Red Rock since my arrival. That finally changed.
Christmas morning and my girlfriend was working, Christmas Dinner at my Dad's wasn't until after she was off work, so I went to the Kraft Boulders for a quick session. No pics, but a fun time on the mellow circuit. After this I reached out to AJ who was in town from Reno as well and set up plans to climb with him and his girlfriend Shannon the next day. AJ loves to do this annual thing where climbing occurs in plain sight of the pullouts the day after Christmas dressed up in santa suits - always eliciting amusing responses from confused tourists. I would show pics, but AJ has yet to send them to me. Will post once I get some!
We went to the Civilization Crags (not in the Handren guide, newer crag developed by Michael Kimm et al) which provided quality movement on some excellent stone. We climbed some really fun low 5.10 sport climbs and a few more moderate routes there, names escape me at the moment. Great spot for when temperatures are such that you want varied aspect - too warm for direct sun all day, but too cool for pure shade.
That evening Ben rolled into town from Reno, Shane rolled into town from Anaheim, and the next morning it would be Shane and Jon on one rope and Ben and I on the other doing the super fun, super cruisy Myster-Z to Armatron link-up.
Fairly early the next morning Jon came over and we all took off from my place to the Pine Creek Trailhead to start up Myster-Z
We roped up for Myster Z after I fumbled the approach.
Me: "Guys, I swear I've done this thing before, it starts just over here..."
Repeat that a few times and I finally remembered where the route started when I had done it last in September or October.
Myster Z went pretty quickly, including a nice hang out and BS session on the Solar Deck mid-route. Some simul-climbing and we were all hanging out at the top of the route enjoying the incredible views
Myster-Z, in my opinion, is the best approach for routes on the Brownstone Wall. In addition to providing quality, mellow movement on mostly great rock, with stellar views (as if that isn't enough), it saves you the huff-puff-n-grunt-fest of going up Juniper Canyon.
After a brief bit of hanging out, Shane and Jon took off for P1 of Armatron, a classic with some super unique rock!
TRACK 2 -
Jerseys? Check. Headbands? Check. Music blaring out the locker room? Check.
On to Armatron, Jon and Shane up to bat!
After the uber-classic P3 we decided that we would rap. Jon was supposed to be at work fairly shortly (he was called off, thankfully, as he would have been late as hell) and it was getting a bit dark. A day is considered to be casual so long as no headlamps are employed on the approach or descent - and that day was causal!
Armatron was fantastic, each of the three pitches we did of it were of high quality in position, movement, quality of stone, and naturally company.
These two routes were my first multi-pitch routes since my back injury about a month and a half earlier. This week my back had been giving me some pain. In the back of my mind the entire time was "I hope to God I don't have to use the pain pills and muscle relaxers in my "oh sh#t kit." I hadn't experienced any spasms since a week after the initial injury and had experienced some sharp pain on Christmas Day on my bouldering circuit, but the day of sport climbing was affirmation to me that I would be alright to go for a long day, and thankfully i was.
Nothing like hitting the hot tub for a few drinks and to watch a bowl game after a long day in the hills. We did that and decided cragging would be the ticket the next day.
Shane had to leave for Anaheim fairly early, Jon had work, and we had a few other friends in town. Pablo and Jorge wanted to go cragging, along with Jorge's dog. We went to Icebox Canyon since we were lazy and didn't want to walk very far and it was my first time at the Sunnyside Crags. Ben lead the classic Mister Masters and we TR'd the SUPER classic Spring Break (5.11+) after. Wowsers! Awesome climbing.
No pics of Spring Break, unfortunately. It is pictured in the Handren guidebook and some great pics of it on MP. Stellar movement on that one as well. Mister Masters is one of the steepest 5.9's I have EVER climbed. Pump-fiesta!
After climbing Mister Masters, Shane returned to Anaheim and Pablo and Jorge went off to watch the UFC fights that evening. Ben and I went home to some great dinner cooked by my girlfriend and had to be up early when Jon would be over and we would head off to Zion.
Fails of Power was first on the list...Ben's first Zion splitter!
The cragging at the base of the Cerberus Gendarme is fantastic. The Cookie Cliff of Zion, I'd venture to say. Laps were had by all on Fails of Power to the first anchors - that thing is about as good as it gets for single pitch. After some lounging, it was time to hop on a route I had been spooked from hopping on before due to technique deficits on my behalf. I am terrible at laybacking and hate to do it on lead. One of the most beautiful looking routes on the Cerberus Gendarme is Scarlet Begonias, a jam crack with power laybacking cruxes. Off I went!
After this route we decided to 'call it' on our day trip to Zion and head back to Summerlin. The mission of our quick trip to Zion was more to whet the appetite of Ben and Jon, who had never been there. Mission accomplished, as the stoke was high!
The final day of climbing on the trip was mostly bouldering in the Kraft Boulders as well as a little bit in Gateway Canyon.
After a successful thrashing on the boulders, we went back to my house where we finally got to use the fire pit that Shane was generous enough to give us (he already had one).
The fire pit was a raucous bit of discourse, as one always should be, with many laughs had among friends and generous amounts of libations enjoyed.
While not much of a 'trip' for me, I am very grateful that two of my friends made the trip solely to climb (Ben and Shane) and that two others took time on family trips to climb (Jorge and Pablo) after a considerable amount of time away from climbing.
Thank you for reading & Sorry for interrupting the political banter (inane babble?) and name-calling