Great Red Book 5.8 R
Trip ReportRed Rocks 101: Intro to Desert Varnish
Friends have told me how much they love climbing in Red Rocks, and I've wanted to go for quite a while. It's kind of a logistics headache from the bay area, but this year I managed it. Noal had been there several times before, so he pretty much had the place wired.
We drove down on Wednesday, got a site in the campground (very nice after all the renovation), and then got an early start on the loop road Thursday. The forecast was for clear, calm weather so we wanted to check out something north-facing and shady on the Angel Food Wall.
Tunnel Vision and Group Therapy were staked out by some guides, so we decided to do Purblind Pillar (5.8) instead. I took the first pitch.
Very nice indeed. Noal took the second pitch, which we thought was the best one on the route.
The third pitch kind of wandered up, and Noal started up the wideness of the fourth pitch. It looks evil, but could mostly be stemmed around.
It was a fun, though somewhat wide crack system. I had a good time climbing the knobs on start of the fifth pitch.
We had good views of the other routes.
The last pitch was a fun romp, and we were coiling the rope by noon. The descent gully was well-marked by cairns, and we were back to the car by mid-afternoon.
Friday morning dawned partly-cloudy, with a forecast of 10-15mph wind, gusts to 35mph. We decided to do something south-facing and sunny and headed for .. Windy Peak :)
The hike up took about an hour and was well-marked by cairns. Noal started up the first pitch of Jubilant Song (5.8).
My climbing muscles were warming up particularly slowly and I struggled on the roof. I managed to lead the second pitch without too much trouble though. The route description said "nice hand and finger crack with a couple of wide sections". I mainly found the wide sections :)
Noal led up the easy third pitch. I took the fourth pitch traverse, which was really fun and heady.
I linked the fourth and fifth pitches and headed out right of the roof, up the brief lieback move and found shelter from the gusting wind. We both decided this was the best pitch on the route.
Noal headed up the chimney on pitch six, and then the start of the water groove.
I took the seventh pitch, continuing up the water groove described as having "limited protection", which was heady but positive. We linked the eighth pitch, though I managed to get a little off-route (should have headed up the corner, oh well).
The forecast for 35mph gusts were pretty accurate, and we scrambled down off that thing with all due haste :) We got back down to the car before 4:30pm and felt like we'd had a good all-day adventure.
Saturday was forecast to be colder, so we decided to stick with something south-facing and sunny again, in the Calico Hills. Our primary goal was the Great Red Book (5.8).
The approach took longer than we expected, but this just warmed us up. Ironically, the route was entirely in the shade when we did it.
I wasn't really in the mood for a 5.9 lieback, so I just found what placements I could on the face -- the runout wasn't really that bad, by Tuolumne standards :)
The second pitch was great fun !
I finished up by leading one of the 5.8 sport routes nearby. We hiked back to the car to have lunch, and on the way I marvelled at how much the crowd in the Black Corridor looked like Planet Granite on Tuesday night :)
I had never been to Las Vegas, so we decided to tour the Strip at night, and even caught a bit of the water show at the Bellagio.
It was a fun trip. A parting shot in Baker -
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