IntroductionI climbed this with Stein Lundby over September 24-25, 2005. We left San Diego at about 1 PM and made it to Vegas by 6 PM. We phoned in our overnight reservation at this time, which we found out was about 1.5 hours too late.....a $125 mistake, it would turn out (we got ticketed).
We got a little messed up on the approach. First of all, we parked at the wrong lot (Oak Creek), then got off track and ended up doing some horrible, horrible bushwacking up Juniper Canyon (in the dark). Eventually we found the trail and hoofed it to the base, arriving about 10 PM.
A little knackered by this time, we crashed out -- only to be assailed by the incessant buzzing of mosquitoes all night long. (Red Rocks -- who would have thought??). Granted, there were only a few but they really did keep the both of us up all night.
The next morning we located the route, and started up. It had been determined before hand (by me) that Stein (aka The Hard-Cranking Machine), would lead the hard while I (the Soft Bodied Bumbly) would provide moral and belay support. We decided to break the climb up, so we hauled the customary wall junk up to Rainbow Ledge. In retrospect, this was cool, but probably more trouble than it was worth – this climb could easily be done in a day by a competent team.
Blow-by-blowHere’s a summary of the pitches. The ratings are given by the new Brock guide (some may be a little soft, but hey it’s Red Rocks!). Both leader and follower freed every pitch (with a little bit of French for me) – no aiders or jumars needed. Stein onsighted everything except for the 12b on P14. I followed everything free with a few falls, and pulled on gear through the cruxes on P2 and P14.
P1: We opted for the Rainbow Country variation to P1 + P2 of the Original route. 5.11d, 150 feet. Nice pitch.
P2: Strenuous laybacking, past some bolts and fixed pins, then a big move out right to the face, up 10 feet, then move back to the crack and up to a nice slopey ledge.. 5.11d, 80 feet.
P3: Straight up the thin crack, undercling out a roof and up to a hanging belay. Stein linked two pitches here, with about 5 feet of rope to spare. 5.11b + 5.11c, 190 feet.
P4: The big guns come out, and I lead some 5.10 (110 feet).
Here be the bivy ledge, wherest we arrived and thus rested.
P7: Easy but airy traverse up to the base of the Red Dihedrals. At this point, nature called and we responded enthusiastically. (Don’t worry, we packed it out).
P8: Spectacular climbing up the thin dihedral. The book reads “Dyno! It’s good!”. I can verify. 5.11d, 100 feet.
P9: Tenuous climbing up the dihedral. Just when it seems there is no hope, stem out to the right wall, ala the picture of Bobbi Bensman in Fifty Favorites. 5.12a, 100 feet.
P10: The crux. Up the corner then some bolt protected weirdness underneath a roof. Stein linked this pitch and the final 10b pitch to the top. 5.12b, 150 feet.
Descent: rappel the route. We had an incident when our rope got stuck, and Stein re-led the 5.11b pitch on our 8mm STATIC haul line (!). It was pretty nerve-wracking for me, but Stein didn’t seem too worried (!).
Summary: this is a fantastic and well-protected route. While it is possible to aid climb it, it really deserves to be free climbed. The view from the bivy is cool, but if you have the juice I recommend going for it in a day.