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#39366 - 08/30/08 04:55 PM Recommendations for Red Rocks - go with a guide?
Lynn Offline
journeyman

Registered: 04/02/06
Posts: 62
Loc: NY
Planning an end of October trip to Vegas and would like to do some climbing in Red Rocks. Never climbed where the cracks go vertical and don't feel comfy leading anything harder than a 5. First look at guides in the area range from $250 to $140 per person for full day of climbing. So, the question is, is it worth lugging a Gunk's rack in the plane and through the four corners region for two weeks? or, leave the rack at home and pony up the money? or do lots of bouldering.

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#39367 - 08/30/08 07:22 PM Re: Recommendations for Red Rocks - go with a guide? [Re: Lynn]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
If you are talking about doing multipitch trad, I think there is little or nothing wothwhile below 5.6, so the easiest good routes may be at or a little above your leading comfort level. Moreover, routes at Red Rock require significantly more mountaineering skill than the Gunks. You have to find your way to the base and make routefinding decisions on the way up and on the way down. You need to be efficient at setting up belay anchors and managing belay changeovers. You have to be able to manage multiple rappels, including having the skills to deal with hangups. And you may have to navigate in the desert in the dark if you are slow or unlucky.

I'm not sure a gunks rack will serve you well, depending on what you have on your gunks rack. Minimally, you probably want a set of nuts and a complete set of cams up to blue camalot size, but if you are going to be near your comfort level you may want doubles on most of the cams, especially from purple camalot size up.

I also think you will probably want the ability to do full rope-length rappels, requiring either a set of half or twin ropes or a full rope and a tag line. Perhaps I'm wrong about this for the middle fifth-class climbs.

You didn't say anything about partners. Presumably you have one. Meeting people to climb with may not be so easy; climbers are spread out except for a concentration at the campground.

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#39370 - 08/30/08 09:36 PM Re: Recommendations for Red Rocks - go with a guide? [Re: rg@ofmc]
Lynn Offline
journeyman

Registered: 04/02/06
Posts: 62
Loc: NY
Thanks for the info - Have partner and the rack is pretty extensive but not a lot of doubles. I'm concerned that if it's a uniform sized crack then you'd need to have gear of the same size or the gonads to pull your pro and plug it in higher. Is there a particular guidebook you'd recommend?

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#39375 - 08/31/08 04:06 AM Re: Recommendations for Red Rocks - go with a guid [Re: Lynn]
Coppertone Offline
old hand

Registered: 08/17/00
Posts: 1055
Loc: Newtown, CT
The New Red Rocks guide by Jerry Handren is excellent. It came out last summer. As Rich said if you are only leading 5.5 you will be hard pressed to find to many routes. HIs advice about climbing there vs. at the Gunks is a good in that getting to climbs there is a bit more involved. Longer routes also require good route finding. A good number of the climbs are also walk offs. A guide or a partner with local experience wouldn't be a bad way to go. Have fun, Red Rocks is a great place to climb.

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#39385 - 09/01/08 07:04 PM Re: Recommendations for Red Rocks - go with a guid [Re: Coppertone]
Chas Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 1754
Loc: Flagstaff
Check out the Supertopo guide for the area. If you are just looking for some high quality moderates Jerry Handren's book won't bve necessary while its a very good book). If you were looking at Desert Gold or Rainbow Wall, I'd suggest his book but you are asking fow moderate stuff. Greg Barnes (of Supertopo) is very meticulous about the percision of the topos (he actually sent an entire guidenbook back to an author since it wasn't up to his and McNamara's standard). Expect the following options to be busy (and amazingly busy on weekends and on holidays)

Use your own judgement but there are a few options given the Red Rocks grades.

Cat in the Hat (5p, 5.6)
Solar Slab (7p, 5.6)

Once you can correlate the Red Rocks ratings versus how you are feeling then you may (or may not) want to consider

Frogland (6p, red rocks 5.8)
Dark Shadows (4p, 5.8)

As for crack technique. Red Rocks is among the most friendly place for those without crack techniques in the West. Unless you are doing things like Cloudtower, Red Zinger, or the Fox, or climbs like those; not having crack technique won't be a serious detriment.

With these climbs a standard Gunks rack should suffice without having to leapfrog gear or run things out. Check with the Supertaco guidebook just to be sure that your rack is sufficient, adn if double ropes are necessary for the descent.


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#39389 - 09/02/08 02:45 AM Re: Recommendations for Red Rocks - go with a guid [Re: Chas]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
I agree with everything Chas says---SuperTopo is the way to go for your needs. They list 14 climbs in your comfort range (which we've extended from Gunks 5.5 to Red Rocks 5.6 without, I think, sandbagging you).

In addition to Cat in the Hat and Solar Slab mentioned by Chas, there is also Geronimo 5.6 (4p), and the single pitch Doobie Dance 5.6 on the Brass Wall.

Before launching out on Frogland and/or Dark Shadows, if you're feelin' it I'd go first for Birdland, 5.7+ (5p), which has easier climbing and approach. You'll have to borrow Handren's book and photocopy the description for this one, but it has quickly become a modern classic (which means it comes complete with crowds).

By the way, if you are going to Frogland you should check out the current state of the roads into Black Velvet Canyon on Mountain Project. They were passable by high-clearance 2WD last March, but there has been news about continual deterioration since then.

If you do strike out on your own rather than with a guide, I have five general pieces of advice about Red Rocks.

1. Things can happen to delay you. Each climber should have a Petzl E-lite or equivalent on the climb and a burlier headlamp in the pack at the base. Darkness happens.

2. Rappel ropes hang up in Red Rocks more than any other place I've been. Don't even think about throwing ropes if it is very windy---lower the first person down. Think about hung rope scenarios and strategies for coping, so you aren't taken totally by surprise when it happens to you.

3. In view of Items 1 and 2, GET AN EARLY START! Get to the loop road 15 minutes before it opens. This also gets you ahead of all the slugabed climbers who will be clogging the route once the sun is fully up.

4. Beware of desert temperature ranges. It can be hot and then get cold and ferociously windy. Temps in the canyons get much lower than in Vegas. If you go under-dressed you might really suffer.

5. Consider a Serious Moisturization Regimen. This might be my own private problem, but every time I've been to Red Rocks I've suffered from painful splits in the skin of my fingertips as well as equally painful torn-away nails. I've been lots of places and Red Rocks is the only place I've suffered this way.

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#39390 - 09/02/08 03:36 AM Re: Recommendations for Red Rocks - go with a guid [Re: rg@ofmc]
tokyo bill Offline
old hand

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 793
Loc: Tokyo
Since this thread is already going, maybe I can follow up with a related Red Rocks question.

I'll be meeting a partner in Vegas on the night of Monday, Sept. 29 for a road trip there and up into Utah. However, I can fly in on Saturday, Sept. 27, or even on the night of Friday, Sept. 26 without using up any additional vacation days, so if I can find someone to climb with, this would be a good way to maximize the value of my flight to the States.

I have a recommendation of a couple of guides who work under the auspices of the Jackson Hole Mountain Guides service (Mark Limage and Nate Emerson), but I wonder if anyone else has any guide recommendations for Red Rocks?

In addition, it would be nice not to have to pay for a guide, so can anyone suggest a good partner hunting resource for Red Rocks? (I've already got a post up at rc.com, with no replies so far.)

And finally, any gunks.commies going to be out that way for that final weekend in Sept.? I'd be delighted to climb anything that appeals to you, provided I can thrutch my way up it... (Assuming I did the first available flight, I'd be available for the either a full day or for the afternoon of Saturday, Sept 27, and for full days on Sunday and Monday, the 28th and 29th. Probably a bit jet-lagged, but that's never stopped me before.)

- Bill

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#39394 - 09/02/08 02:18 PM Re: Recommendations for Red Rocks - go with a guid [Re: tokyo bill]
BillH Offline
journeyman

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 59
Loc: Maryland
I had very good luck finding partners for RR on Mountainproject.com. I met several folks that way and climbed with them last February.

I agree that one can expect to lead moderates at RR a grade harder than at the Gunks. At least that was my experience. At the time I was leading about 5.6 at the Gunks and was very comfortable leading 5.7s at RR, including Birdland, Rawlpindi, Johnny Vegas, etc.

RG is right, however, that RR presents "mountaineering" challenges that you do not encounter in the Gunks. Finding the start of your route can be an adventure, every rappel is exciting (will the rope get stuck this time?) and the commitment level on most long routes is significant.
_________________________
Bill Hutchins
Hutbill@comcast.net
http://www.reliclife.blogspot.com

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#39397 - 09/02/08 03:05 PM Re: Recommendations for Red Rocks - go with a guid [Re: tokyo bill]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
Hey Bill,

Late Sept. is a bit early (hot) for most folks who'd be planning a trip to Vegas. I'd bet that you'll get a bunch of bites from the more-local folks on either rc.com, or mountainproject, the week before you go. If I were you - I'd absolutely go for it, it's pretty likely you'll find someone.

If you're still desperate the week before you go, email me and I'll plug you into some folks I know. Or look at plane fares myself ;\)

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#39406 - 09/02/08 06:00 PM Re: Recommendations for Red Rocks - go with a guid [Re: Julie]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Getting back to the guide question of the OP, Gigette Miller, a Vegas local, just recommended jason martin over on Mountain Project.

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