domenica 19 gennaio 2014

Red Rocks - First week of bouldering out of Vegas

Some months ago, Giulia and I spoke about going to US once her studies would have been over. After many thoughts, indecisions, programs and others we booked the flight in September and now the waiting is finished.

We are currently in the US and after many years of desire I can finally walk in one of the most famous country for bouldering. The trip will last 6 weeks, splitted in two part with the first halt in Red Rocks, the desert out of Las Vegas. The first week of bouldering is basically done gone and we enjoyed a lot around those canyons that require a lot of hiking but can offer an amazing sandstone. The sandstone is the first aspect that I would like to write about. I thought it would have been really nice but not perfect as it truly is. In some sectors we went to, like Gateway canyon, Black Velvet Canyon, Oak creek, the rock is a perfect high quality sandstone with stunning colors, shapes, holds and aspect. The rock in the most known area (Kraft boulder) is good, but not as cool as in the previous spots. This is my small rock analysis of the first days and some photos from Gateway canyon.



















The first day was dedicated to rest after the long flight, to rent a car, to go to the market, to arrange our stuff in the room, to buy the pads, to buy a guide book and then, at the twilight, we found a moment to check the climbing place. We took the road to get out of the city and the contrast is really impressive. From a wide road, lot of cars, crowd of houses you pass directly in a smaller road, with less means and an endless desert around. The first impact was incredible for us. We parked in Kraft parking and we started to walk around, despite the daylight was leaving us. The motivation was extremely high. We checked the first boulders and everything seemed really nice like the pockets of "clockwork orange", the classic "angel Dyno" and other lines close to each other. The dark came and we went back there the following morning.

At half past four in the morning we were awake. We had the breakfast soon and at 8 we were at Kraft again. During the day I didn't care about any goals, I just tried to climb as much as I could and to enjoy the first day. I did a bunch of good lines from V1 to V8, climbed the stunning arête of "Fear of a black hat" V10, "Progressive guy" V9, "Center" V9 and "Redirection" V11/V12. The day after I was still tired, but we went to Black velvet, where a couple of problems looked really inviting from the photos. The true aspect of them is great. We checked "Atlas Shrugged", "Wet dream" and "Abadon" and I was totally dazzled by the rock they have. They have awesome features like yellow/brown sand stone, high develop, pure aspect and good moves. After a quick warm up I did "the fountainehead" V9, the upper part of Atlas and then I started to work the full line. The line presents spectacular pinches, slopers to squeeze, triangle holds, slopy edges and a tricky mantle which could be 6a but it rejected me twice when I came from the start. After many fights I decided to quit, leaving it for the days after. Falling at the top of a physical boulder of 12 moves is really tiring for me, so I opted to keep energy. I moved to "Wet dream" V12 where I failed at the end and to "Abadon" V12, where my body started to feel a big fatigue. I decided to go to take some photos to "the Fountainehead" and then going back home. During the shooting I felt good again, tired, but in a good feeling with the boulder. The positive sensation went up in all my body and I decided to try it from the bottom. I reached the mantle and I knew about my troubles of the morning. The foot stayed well and the top out went over with success. I was happy to have climbed "Atlas Shrugged", and its quality is at the top of the boulders I have send so far.

Atlas Shrugged V12. Photo Giulia Paoletti

The day after I rest and on Wed I decided it was time to check my principal goal of the trip i.e. "Meadowlark lemon". The first pictures I saw about this was years ago, when Paul Robinson did the FA. The hiking is long, but flat and after the walking we arrived under this marvelous problems. Many climbers know its beauty, so I don't lose time to describe a perfect boulder like this. The sector where it is situated is really nice too: a really tight canyon of red/pink/white sandstone smoothed by the water that make this scenery incredible. The stand started looked immediately possible but it was deceiving me. The crux was resolved with a too aleatory beta so I had to change my way. it took to me more than one hour and then I found a possible beta that worked well for the crux and allowed me to be at the top. At least of the stand version. The first part from the bottom was resolved on my first go until arriving at the crux of the upper version. I felt good, but bad at the same time. The movements are not so hard, but the crux move is really technical for me and I should have everything at the right place to attempt it. The moves from the sit gave me sufficient fatigue to be not perfect at the crux. The body position is not the same as well as the position of my hands. They are on the right holds, but with a little different angle that put me out of the right body setting to do the middle sequence. I got edgy after some work on it and then I decided to quit. After that I climbed "Americana exotica" V10 and "Book of nightmare" V11, a cool prow to squeeze until the top.

The day after I rested again and we went to check two other sectors. The first is called “Oak Creek canyon”. I was curious to see the new line named “Clogging the feed”, situated on the bank of an old small river. The walking was long and under the sun but the line is really worthy. It is a huge sandstone ball with a perfect quality rock and cool color. Even this time I was impressed by another top quality line that I would like to attempt before leaving. In the afternoon we came back to the parking and we went to check “Trieste”, a new V14 put up by Paul Robinson located in the canyon after Oak Creek. The checking day was over and we got home with the legs destroyed.


Now we have 8 more days here in Vegas and then we will move to Bishop for granite climbing. My next goals would be to dedicate more time to “Meadowlark lemon”, to try “Clogging the feed” and to check out other lines in those deep and shady sandstone canyons.

Meadowlark lemon stand V12. Photo Giulia Paoletti

Book of nightmares V11. Photo Giulia Paoletti


Americana Exotica V10. Photo Giulia Paoletti