“The fire had burned to coals and he lay looking up at the stars in their places and the hot belt of matter that ran the chord of the dark vault overhead and he put his hands on the ground at either side of him and pressed them against the earth and in that coldly burning canopy of black he slowly turned dead center to the world, all of it taut and trembling and moving enormous and alive under his hands.”
Cormac McCarthy- All the pretty horses
Note: This is an old post whose content was created for fun, with little to no proof-reading or editing. Please read this post keeping that in mind.
Over the past three weeks I’ve ran along ridges in the desert, boulder-hopped through pristine canyons and slept under the stars. I’ve been 500 ft up on a clean sandstone face whimpering above some gear and took whippers off of pre-hung draws on limestone. I’ve seen big-horn sheep, had a kestrel fly by me on a hanging belay and have walked through what seemed like endless desert valleys flooded with the yellow hue of wildflowers. Above all, I’ve met excellent, genuine people with whom I’ve adventured, shared dinner and sung around a campfire.
After leaving Bishop I went to Red Rock Canyon, home to immaculate sandstone and climbing of all types. While Red Rocks is a destination for all disciplines of climbing, it is probably best known for its long multipitch routes. I came hoping to tick a lot of the multipitch classics within my grade range, but also wanted to try some hard sport and moderate single pitch trad.
The proximity of Red Rocks to Las Vegas is convenient for amenities, but it gets old really quickly. The suburban sprawl, excessive lighting and – more than anything – the absolute ridiculously excessive amount of superstores began to really wear me out. Want a mattress ,coffee maker, organic produce, donuts, matches, a cooler or an exotic pet? Or perhaps a laptop, a new car, an ATV or some plants? Maybe you just want to play slots (which are literally in almost every major grocery store and gas station) or see a movie. Just go to one of the three billion shopping centers that are all within a 2 mile radius of one another and you can get all these “needs” met and more. Oh , but be sure you get a starbucks and Happy Meal to re-fuel you while you burn all those calories hiking around the parking lot trying to find your car.
But, I digress..
Unfortunately I never busted out my DSLR to take some quality photos at Red Rocks, which is a shame because it really is a spectacular place, especially when you venture into the canyons and away from the scenic loop. Hiking out after long days of climbing during the “golden hour” of dusk offered particularly memorable moments and plenty of time for reflection.
On a two-day break from climbing I did lug my DSLR to Death Valley National Park, where I heard a “super-bloom” was happening due to heavy fall rains and then some ample winter sunshine. I was absolutely blown-away by the diversity and density of wildflowers that I discovered.
If you are a weird human being and don’t enjoy an abundance of photos of beautiful flowers, please scroll through to the end.
I’ve moved on from Red Rocks though I definitely want to return to tick off a lot more of the multipitch moderate classics. The crowds, though, were getting a little bit intense and so my friend and I headed over to the Lime Kiln Canyon to change the pace a little bit and clip some hard bolts on limestone. After climbing on world class limestone in Spain and France, I was curious to see how the Southwest version stacked up. While it is no Margalef, it surely has not disappointed yet.