Vegas Part I

You wouldn't think taking a short hop out to Vegas would be too tiring...but strangely it is. I was dragging ass a bit when we got here on Saturday afternoon (musta been the 3:30am alarm to catch a 6am flight). But my whole outlook changed when we got close to Red Rocks for the first on Sunday. When you're down in Vegas you can see mountains off on the distant horizon, but they are pretty much silhouettes most of the day. When you're driving up 215 and you're getting close to the mountains, they still appear as mostly dusty gray peaks, and something about the geography still hides the view of Red Rocks, but as soon as you turn right onto Charleston Blvd...bam! The Canyon is sprawled out panoramic-style in your windshield, and the bright colors create an amazing contrast to the gray landscapes nearby. I pretty much wet myself. There is a lot of damn rock here.

The weather on Sunday was pretty great--warm with a pretty strong wind at times. We climbed in the Calico Hills at an area called the Panty Wall, which had a really great collection of bolted moderates. A perfect way to get introduced to the canyon. There were quite a few people there from all over--Germany, British Columbia, California. I love world-class climbing areas for the opportunity to meet people from all over. I took a lot of pictures of these folks because it seemed every time I turned around, there was another great photo op. There was just so much color and space and geometry, especially after being so used to trying to shoot in the close quarters of the East coast woods.

Our second day in the park, Monday, wasn't nearly as fun. The weather was cold and windy as hell, so we ended up hiking around all afternoon. There was even snow on the ground in some shady parts of the canyon. We left Asheville for this? We spent the day getting wind chapped and reconnoitering for later in the week. That night we also went to the Vegas strip with Melissa's cousin and her husband...both were very cool people. Melissa and I didn't gamble at all when we were there, which seems to upset a lot of people who I tell this fact to. I was happy just to wander around a take pictures. And for anyone wondering, no...we didn't get married, either.

The weather was looking crappy for the next couple of days so we decided to make the drive over to Flagstaff, AZ, about 4 hours away. We spent 2 days there, and the whole town was covered in tons of snow--which figures since the town's elevation is about 7000 feet. There were 15 foot piles plowed into the corner of some parking lots...needless to say, no climbing got done, but we had a god time checking out the city. I did try to go scope out one bouldering area that's only 5 minutes from town--Buffalo Park. While Melissa wisely stayed in the car I hiked a few hundred yards across a barren white landscape only to fall into a chest-deep hole covered by snow between 2 boulders. Luckily, I only tweaked my knee a bit, but it was enough to send me back to the car.

We also did a side trip down to Sedona one evening for dinner and were blown away by the drive and the whole area. Tons of sandstone formations and towers everywhere. We got some crappy pictures b/c it was getting late, but this is a place definitely worth visiting again someday, especially since it was snow-free in February and we heard lots of good things about a local bouldering spot called the Anvil boulders. So on Thursday morning, it was back to Vegas... (Part II to come soon)

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