2014 President’s Day in Red Rocks

Another great sunrise in the desert. Mt. Wilson to the left.

February 15-17, 2014

Last year Matt, Eric and me headed to Colorado to do some awesome ice climbing in Ouray, CO.  The plan started of the same this year unfortunately the weather around these parts hasn’t been in normal conditions for what seems to be all season.  As the weekend approached the forecast called for warm temperatures all over the West.  While the ice probably could stand the warming, calling for 50’s in Ouray, it was the snow we were worried about.  Rapid heating of snow doesn’t do good things for stability and we were hoping to get after some backcountry routes in Silverton.  As a result we flip plans 180 and Matt and I went to Red Rocks for some desert alpine fun.

Omitting the gorey details since I’m tired and perpetually busy, we climbed near Ginger Cracks (5.9) on Saturday.  We were beat out by minutes by a party of four getting to the base of the climb.  We played around on some other stuff nearby and were able to get a couple pitches on Ginger Cracks but they were too slow to climb its entirety.

Sunday we  did 10 pitch 5.10a called Black Orpheus in Oak Creek Canyon.  The route itself was great.  Lots of varied climbing, cracks, corners, runnout slabs, face climbing, and the like.  It was exactly what I was hoping to get on for the weekend.  When we returned to the base of the climb to collect our bags we found them missing.  Making a long story short, we were able to find Matt’s bag, very lucky for us since his keys were in it.  My bag however was not found and I lost a Nano Puff jacket, glasses and a nalgene.  Super disappointing that some jack-off hikers would do that, but what can you do?

Interesting crux finishing this out. The route escapes a roof to the right but the holds aren’t obvious at first and seem harder than they actually are.

Monday we met up with Mark O. et al, Andy A., and Rob D., at Sunny and Steep crag in Calico Basin.  As advertized it was both sunny and steep.  I lead some 5.10 and 5.11 routes and felt decent so I gave a really fun 5.12a a try and got through the crux on my first try but ran out of steam on the upper section.  I gave it a couple more tries but wasn’t able to quite finish it.  Nevertheless I was happy at how I was able to climb despite not doing a lot of training lately.