First day in Red Rock is off to a great start! With clear weather, great temperatures, and fun unfamiliar rock, Yes.
The day started off up at Riding Hood Wall after making friends with a guy named Redg from the Philippines, visiting on business. We welcomed him to the group to join up on the approach to Grandma’s House. He followed up with lots of questions and an extreme level of excitement which set the mood for the rest of the day.
We arrived at our first climb shortly after saying goodbye to our new friend and started up what we thought was an was 5.6 warm up, Physical Graffiti, that goes up a cool looking roof to the splitter 5.7 crack on the second pitch. After putting a little more effort into the climb then we thought was necessary for this type of warm up, we made our way back to the base of a climb to find out by other climbers that is was actually the 5.10a variation. It ended up being a pretty good warm up for the climb that followed!
A friend of mine introduced me to the climb The Fox a little while ago and it’s been on my mind ever sense. Knowing that Carol is obsessed with off-widths I figured why not give it a look to see what we can do? We made our way down the main trial, looking up the scree of rocks to see two climbers working their way up the classic line. From there, you can see the corner split by a line and the ever widening off width section. Although we didn’t have all of the gear needed (it’s recommended to have two #4’s and two #5’s…we only had one of each) Carol looked at me and said “Why don’t we go and just get a closer look? Then we’ll be able to come back at least knowing what we’re getting into!”
Scrambling up the trail of rocks, we made our way to the base of the climb meeting General who was beasting up the climb with Fauna at the belay. Positive energy started radiating through the air as we sent good vibes and words of encouragement to General on the sharp end. While on lead he yells down to us asking if we’re going to jump on it. We informed him about our lack of gear while he insist on us borrowing his once they finish the climb. Now there was really no excuse to not get on this climb and at least try to see how far I can get.
To warm up for the climb, Carol and I decided to run up to the peak to check out the views and be in the sun. We made it up to see General topping out and retuned to the base in time to cheer Fauna up as she started to follow. It’s amazing how different everyone’s beta for climbing can be, although it’s the same route, we all had different moves of execution eventually getting us all to the same place. They finished strong and rapped down to allow for max efficiently to get us on the wall before the day turned to night.
A man had run up the the top of the climb with out noticing us sitting at the bottom of the crag. Little did we know, he is a photographer named Kevin, who was interested in taking photos of a climber on route. He got to the top and yelled down to make sure it was okay with us to get some shots as I took the lead. I was excited and nervous but strangely didn’t feel any extra pressure, just knew I had to give it my best shot.
When I started up the climb, face moves turned into cool features, to a bomb.com fingerlock, perfect hands, fist and then it just got interesting. I will say, I am not an off width climber. Not that I’m not a fan, I just haven’t been presented with this type of challenge very frequently. But hey, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!! It was awesome, although I didn’t stay in the off width the whole climb, I ended up linebacking the widest part, and feeling like a fish out of water inching my way to the top. It was hard, it definitely challenged myself, and I was able to piece it together to finish the climb.
Towards the top, it gets wide…like wider than anything I have really climbed, I ended up placing all 3 of the #5’s that I had brought up with me, looking up at 20 more feet of climbing, with nowhere to place anything smaller than a #5. I guess I didn’t plan that out to well. However, as I had been climbing, Kevin had been shooting away and talking with me as I figured out the beta sequences. Feeling a little squeamish on the last section, I look over to him, as his #5 sits so perfectly on his harness. He immediately asks if I would like another piece for protection. I must say. It’s not everyday you get that type of assistance while working out a climb. That’s what they call Teamwork!!
Carol made her way up after me like the champ she is, right in time for us to head down, grab our packs and start the decent to my car in the dark. A great way to end the day with family and a home cooked meal, then swinging by our climber pals airBNB to exchange laughs, stories of the day, and return some borrowed gear.