Running! Routes! Red Rocks!

April blooms, Willow Spring.

It was time for a break. Between classes, thesis work, and the well known syndrome of Being In Town Too Long, Mike decided that he could afford to take a few days and get away from it all. Since freelancing has slowed for the time being, it was easy for me to say “I’m in!”

A quick weather check revealed changeable but improving—and not too hot—weather for the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area just west of Las Vegas. Water jugs filled: check. Climbing gear, ropes and packs: check. Running stuff: check. Beer: check. Stovetop steamer for those sunrise lattes: check.

And they’re off … we pointed The Sprinter south on Rte. 95, and after a tasty Mexican-food lunch in Fallon, made the 8-hour drive in one long day. We got in a trail run, some great routes on the colorful sandstone of Red Rocks, desert camping replete with wildflowers, and—yes—sunrise lattes. Enjoy the pictures!

Day 1 was a little stormy and showery, so we opted for a trail run. Red Rocks has a beautiful loop road that takes drivers near the towering cliffs, as well as a trail system that lets one experience the area on foot.
Mike leads a route on Ginger Buttress, Juniper Canyon.
Redbud in bloom, high on the cliffs of Ginger Buttress.
Noted without comment, downtown Vegas. What more do you need? (Apparently, no women voted.)
I’m not sure this mower was meant to be towed at ~40mph, but what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Another great route: Sour Mash, seven pitches of sandstone cracks way back in Black Velvet Canyon.
View from a belay station about halfway up Sour Mash. I’m making my way up …
Walking out of Black Velvet Canyon, looking back up at its main wall, where Sour Mash was. There are several climbers up there on various routes, most of which go nowhere near the top of this huge wall. Can you spot them?
Bonus route in the Sierra! On the way home, we went up to Whitney Portal near Lone Pine to do the six-pitch Beckey Route on El Segundo Buttress. Note the lack of snow here at 8000′ in April — quite the change from last year!
Preparing for the descent off El Segundo, with a stunning view of Mt. Whitney, Keeler Needle, Day Needle, and other Sierra Crest peaks in the distance.
We camped at Mono Lake and admired the eerie sand tufa formations on the shore.
Typical high-wind “Sierra Wave” clouds over Mono Lake. Another great spring trip comes to an end.

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