Hello Red Rocks, it has been a long time; nearly a decade. Wow, that makes me feel a bit old.
Saturday was spent cragging and sport-climbing. I am definitely not a sport-climber. Because of the fear of crowds, we started in a cold, sandy, slopy area which really did not get me excited about Red Rocks. We finished the day on more classic Red Rocks climbing, plated face, which got me more psyched about the rock here.
Sunday was my first “true” RR day. Even though we had to bail from near the top of our route, I had such a fun time. I had concerns that I might be very slow on the approach to Black Velvet Canyon, but we made good time, which surprised me. It made me feel very grateful to have a functioning, strong right leg, and motivates me to continue to keep it very strong.
The approach follows a wash into the canyon. The boulders are actually helpful because I can use my hands, versus just a slope or steps. The picture below gives you an idea of the approach into Black Velvet Canyon.
Since this was our first outing together, Eben and I decided to run up Sour Mash, which we made very short work of until p6. It had been spitting rain on and off before that, but then the real downpour started as I was about to blast off on the crux pitch of the route.
I made it about half way in the rain and hail before we decided that we needed to bail. On the one hand, climbing in rain and hail can feel pretty good in that un-fun/fun way, but the wall really became a wet sheet, and it just was really not happening.
You can tell how much fun we had by how much we are smiling even when we had to bail.
An easy route like Sour Mash reinforces what I know already, and that is often times, the most enjoyable kind of climbing for me is just being able to run up long free routes and get high up, fast, with a great, safe, competent partner. Even lazy ass, just-say-no-to-long-approaches me is willing to put the work in to get to these kinds of routes.
The plan is to get on Cloud Tower (5.11d) before I depart. The route looks like it has it all – from 11d sustained tips, perfect hands, to the wide. The hike in to Juniper Creek Canyon is significantly longer than the one into Black Velvet so I am slightly anxious about that. But to be back on hard crack is so exciting!