Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 36.13600°N / 115.491°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Feb 17, 2008
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Winter

1. Before

Black OrpheusBlack Orpheus

It’s early November. We arrived in Red Rocks late Friday night & have gotten in a few warm-up pitches on Saturday. We’re hiking back to the trailhead. There’s an old man hiking into Pine Creek Canyon. “Hello Mr. Beckey” I say while scooping my jaw off the ground. He ignores me. Shirley’s hiking 20 feet behind me. She gets a big smile and – as I later find out – a wink from Fred Beckey. Lucky him that he’s 50+ years my senior…. who am I kidding, lucky me that the man is old. A wink and a smile from Fred go a long way apparently. The next day we do Black Orpheus swapping leads, with Shirley leading the money pitches. In fact, this trend has continued – Shirley has been sending all her projects at Smith (including shit that I’ve been hanging on and falling off of…did I mention that Beckey ignored me?), taking half the leads on multi-pitch outings, and tackling crux pitches that I just “was not in the mood for.”

2. Brass Wall Cragging

Varnishing PointVarnishing Point

Topless TwinsTopless Twins

It’s mid February. Once again rain has been driving us up the wall. Even Smith has been wet. We extend our Presidents’ Day Weekend by a day. An epic Valentine’s Night flight to Vegas and an even more epic car rental episode culminating with “Mister, I don’t give 2 shits about your reservation – my shift’s ending!!” It’s 3am by the time we crawl into sleeping bags at the 13-Mile Campground. In the late morning we hit the sunny Brass Wall for a short day of cragging. Shirley does the leading while I spray the ever helpful poser beta from base: “this one looks easy”, “that’s too much gear” etc…

3. La Cierta Edad

We flip through the guidebook zeroing in on a plan for day 2. It rates La Cierta Edad 10c. Online opinions scatter from 5.9+ to 5.11-. Only one way to find out.
La Cierta EdadLa Cierta Edad, P1

Shirley takes the odd pitches. Despite the tropical-sounding cliff name, Refrigerator Wall is shady and cold. How much worse can it be than Frigid Air Buttress last January? We start late hoping for more warmth. The descent gully next door has much ice. Blocks of it come off during the day – an alpine ambiance. The 160-foot first pitch with 4 bolts is like a cup of coffee. I’m happy to have a top rope. Pitch 2 is mine. Wide chimney to flakey crack. Great fun, especially when viewed from the bolted belay at top.
La Cierta EdadLa Cierta Edad, P2

La Cierta EdadLa Cierta Edad, P2

Pitch 3 looks as though it favors taller folks. But that is Shirley’s problem now. She grabs the rack and starts up. Despite accidentally cleaning a flake (makes much noise as it bounces off my helmet), she sends the pitch.
La Cierta EdadLa Cierta Edad, P3

OK, time for the crux. Shirley smiles and gives me the rack. 10 feet of sub-vertical wideness, 2 feet of tips and crimps and the angle eases. WTF?! Was that it?
La Cierta EdadLa Cierta Edad, P4

The rest of the pitch consists of hollow sounding rock but easier climbing. Guess we’re through. Shirley dispatches the final fun (all pitches on this one are fun) 5.8 wideness pitch.
La Cierta EdadLa Cierta Edad, P5

La Cierta EdadLa Cierta Edad, P5

Raps go smoothly and we manage to avoid icefall in the descent gully.

4. Sedona Scenic Cruise

We go to sleep planning on another Red Rocks route but wake up in the mood for a change. Probably the smell of bacon & eggs from neighboring campsite made us lazy. We head to Sedona for a different red rock experience. Once again I find myself “not in the mood” for the route we really wanted. We go for Sedona Scenic Cruise. Five pitches of 5.9 fun with – if you trust online posts – scenic views of Sedona’s suburban sprawl. Search for trailhead seems easy. Start the approach hike – wait, why are we moving away from the formation? Hike back to car. Drive around for half hour. Come back to same spot. Repeat same hike. Second time approach directions make more sense. We’re at the base. Entire formation looks like choss. I start up the first pitch – very nice actually!
Sedona Scenic CruiseSSC, P1

Shirley takes the even pitches.
Sedona Scenic CruiseSSC, P2

Sedona Scenic CruiseSSC, P2

Crimpy climbing on sandstone takes some getting used to. Views are indeed scenic. Stone is solid. Nice mix of sport and trad pitches.
Sedona Scenic CruiseSSC, P3

Sedona Scenic CruiseSSC, P3

Sedona Scenic CruiseSSC, P5

The route is equipped for comfort of climbing: well protected climbing, large belay ledges, largely independent rap line, and a “summit register” hanging at final belay station (well below actual summit). We rap and are back in the car in the afternoon.

A quick dinner & a short drive back to Vegas. Morning flight home and we head straight to work. But wait – the airline has lost all of our bags: 200 lbs of climbing & camping gear!
Sedona Scenic CruiseGibraltar Rock


Got our bags back later that night.
Sedona Scenic CruiseSSC, P3


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-20 of 24
Bob Sihler

Bob Sihler - Feb 20, 2008 6:56 pm - Voted 10/10

Good story

I like the sense of humor, as usual. I can't decide which part made me laugh more-- the poser comments from below, the lost gear, or the bit about Fred Beckey dissing you but winking and smiling at Shirley. Well, you can take comfort at least that he didn't wink and smile at you, I guess.


rpc - Feb 20, 2008 7:07 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Good story

Thanks for the read & the kind word Bob. Yeah, it could've been worse with Fred that way I suppose :)

vancouver islander

vancouver islander - Feb 20, 2008 8:21 pm - Voted 10/10

Nice read

...and great pics as usual. I always enjoy your stuff.

Say hi to Fred from me next time (kidding!)


rpc - Feb 20, 2008 8:35 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Nice read

Thank you Sir!

"Say hi to Fred from me next time " Sure, but I think he'll just ignore it anyway :)


rpc - Feb 21, 2008 11:59 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Yikes!

Thanks J.
Figured they just failed to transfer our sh.t from one flight to the other as there were other people there too that got 0 of their bags....less worried this way.


baloodh2000 - Feb 24, 2008 7:51 pm - Hasn't voted

Cruxy Approach?:)

Red Rocks looks amazing. Better luck with Fred next time, must have felt cool just to be on the same trail. I am guessing you were near the crux of the approach...LOL. I can never talk at the crux.


rpc - Feb 25, 2008 12:19 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Cruxy Approach?:)

"must have felt cool just to be on the same trail"

yeah - that was the highpoint of the trip for us. good stuff.
thanks for visiting.

angusmac - Feb 24, 2008 10:47 pm - Hasn't voted


Looks like a fun trip. Dont worry about Fred. He is to be respected for the climbs hes done, but as a person hes a total asshole.


rpc - Feb 25, 2008 12:18 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: nice

Thanks! No - I really didn't think twice about this (despite the bs here in the tr :)'s a legend & really think he didn't hear me (the only other time I "met" the man was in a climbing shop in PDX years ago when he was discussing the finer points of rigid crampon use with the sales guy).


rpc - Feb 25, 2008 12:22 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Entertaining as usual

"All I wanted to say to him was "thank you" but I guess he would ignore me as well"

I think you just have to really talk loudly. REally think that he is pretty hard of hearing (maybe I'm wrong). Yeah - felt pretty lucky to run into him in a climbing area, a memorable moment for us. Thanks for the read Sergio.


lcarreau - Feb 25, 2008 11:53 am - Voted 10/10


I've heard that the legendary Beckey has served as an advisor
to the Washington State Board on Geographic Names, and has
indirectly contributed many feature names in the Cascades.
I'm wonderin' if those names include 'Hinkle Tinkle Creek' and
La Wis Wis Campground. It makes me want to go tinkle!


rpc - Feb 25, 2008 12:21 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Regardless...

hehehe - (Paul) Klenke here on SP is a good guy to ask about this. Thanks for the visit Larry.


lcarreau - Feb 25, 2008 1:11 pm - Voted 10/10


Is this Shirley or Paul? Who is Radek??? See what you all made
me do ... I'm completely off the subject! My final question is:
I wonder if Beckey had anything to do with the NAMING of
'Butt Mountain'???? ??? Have a nice day! : - ))))


rpc - Apr 25, 2008 6:06 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: ~ FUNNY ~

Larry, my apologies - I somehow missed your comment "from back in the day" me that usually smacks of arrogance (if someone takes the time to comment on my submission, least I can do is acknowledge it) which I was NOT intending.
Thank you for visiting (even if it is a bit late). CHeers.


lcarreau - Apr 25, 2008 7:02 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: ~ FUNNY ~

Hey Radek, see what you started? Now, you seem to be
apologizing to me. At the same time, Fred Beckey has his
arm wrapped around a gorgeous human of the female species.
Seems like this man Beckey has perfect hearing!! TAKE CARE.


AJones - Feb 26, 2008 6:43 pm - Voted 10/10

Fred's Deaf

Hey Radek - not sure if you know this or not, but Fred is very hard of hearing. He stayed with one of my climbing buddies (Mirek) in Nelson last year (or maybe the year before, I forget) for about a week. Mirek had to speak very (very) loud for Fred to hear him. Mirek and I had this long conversation on the phone about Fred (as we've climbed lots of his routes - but then again, who hasn't) while Fred was 10 feet away in the kitchen - he never heard a single word we said. I would suspect that rather than ignoring you, he actually didn't hear. you. Then again he could have just been hitting on your wife...


rpc - Feb 26, 2008 6:49 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Fred's Deaf

I think I've heard that about him -- hope my TR doesn't come across the wrong way (I meant that little story in a tongue-in-cheek kinda way). We felt happy & privileged to have run into him outside -- thought that was pretty damn cool (seeing him in person on his way to a climb!). tHanks for the read & cheers!


AJones - Feb 26, 2008 8:14 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Fred's Deaf

No, it didn't come across the wrong way at all - I just thought I'd point out he is pretty hard of hearing. Someone should start a Fred Becky Page, with Fred stories. I can't count the number of people I know who've run into Fred; and they all have a funny or inspiring story to tell. I bet you there's lots of SP'ers out there who have as well.

Bob Bolton

Bob Bolton - Feb 27, 2008 12:00 am - Voted 10/10

Gotta watch Fred

When I saw him in November at the Washington 100 Highest Party, he had his latest GF with him, and he still attracts the young ones. My flash didn't work for this photo, but you get the idea. Great report Radek.


rpc - Feb 27, 2008 12:13 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Gotta watch Fred

Hi Bob,

yeah - like I mentioned, lucky me (that Fred did not crank up the charm more)

:) Just look at that smile in the shot above - great stuff hehehe. Thank you for visiting & good word Bob!

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