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Spring Break is Red Rocks, Las Vegas, NV.

March 22, 2010

March 13, 2010. It snowed for hours as Jeremy and I drove South from Logan.  One of our main reasons for going South was to find some warmth, and since it was near-freezing and raining in Moab, we amended our plan and reset the GPS for Las Vegas, NV.

After a harrowing drive on icy roads we stayed the night in St. George and made it to Vegas by the next morning.  We had picked a 8 pitch 5.9+ trad route out of the guidebook, and we were on the rock by a little after noon.  I led the first pitch and it was great to climbing and placing gear.

Me leading the first pitch. Photograph by Jeremy Henderson.

Jeremy and I swapped leads and the climbing was great, but by the time we made it to the top of the sixth pitch it was starting to get dark.  We didn’t want to rappel off the top in the dark, so we decided to forgo the last two pitches and rappel from where we were.  We tied our ropes together, anchored off an old but still-pretty-safe cord, and rapped down 60 meters.

It's a long way down from here. Photograph by Jacob Buckner.

I frequently regard rappelling as little more than a tool to use when climbing, but this rappel was stunning and beautiful.

This is a picture of my right hip, looking straight down as I rappel. Photograph by Jacob Buckner.

We made it to a ledge that was still a few hundred feet off the ground, and pulled the ropes.  Unfortunately, when we pulled the ropes they didn’t even budge.  They were absolutely stuck.  We considered our options.  It would take too long and be way too hard to ascend 60 meters of free hanging rope on prussiks, especially since we had already been climbing for hours.  It was getting dark quickly so I ascended about 60 feet, cut one of the ropes, anchored it on a bush, and rappelled off the other rope.  This was actually fairly difficult and quite scary.  I once promised myself that I was going to buy ascenders and never climb a rope with prussiks, but our choices were somewhat limited as we stood trapped on that ledge with night approaching.

We made it down the next few hundred feet to the ground by downclimbing and doing 30 foot rappels.  We were off the rock right as it got too dark to see.  Oh it felt good to be on flat ground again.

It's probably time to retire this rope. Photograph by Jacob Buckner.

We crashed on a hotel floor with several other people and spent the next day climbing with some friends in Red Rocks at Calico Hills.  We climbed for a while and then took off for the mythical Indian Creek near Moab, UT.  Eight hours sure goes fast when you’ve got Coca-Cola and BPM.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 22, 2010 8:13 pm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prusik

    …I thought you were saying prussix…then you spelled it wrong…hahahahahahaha.

    You need to circle yourself in that top photo…so scary…I’m proud of you for overcoming your fears…you rawk.

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