Red Rocks

It’s official, Red Rocks–which is known mostly for its sport climbing and trad climbing–is a bouldering DESTINATION. Max and I were forced to abandon our original plan of going to Bishop because of the insane amount of snow at the Buttermilks so we opted for Red Rocks. We were met by our good friends Randy Hill, Jeremy Rush and Bruno Ferreira as well as a few other good people who happen to be out there at the same time. The amazing red sandstone and boulders everywhere in the many washes and canyons just outside of Las Vegas proved to be above and beyond what we thought they would be.


The Kraft Boulders.

View from the Kraft Boulders

Black Velvet Canyon

There is an impressive amount of world-class boulder problems here and the new guidebook Southern Nevada Bouldering by Tom Moulin is one of the best guide books I have ever seen. Great pictures and descriptions, very well researched and also five times thicker than the last guidebook to the area. Very highly recommended. Here is an excerpt from the website where you can purchase the guide…

…No longer confined to the Kraft Boulders, climbers now have a wealth of problems to choose from in the Calico Hills and vast canyons of Red Rocks.

This book, the only comprehensive guide to the region, describes over 2000 problems in full detail with high quality color photographs of nearly every boulder. Meticulously researched, this book sets a new standard for excellence with stunning action photos, in-depth information, detailed maps, an extensive history, and an overview of the natural environment of southern Nevada.

I’ve been to Red Rocks a few times about 5-6 years ago but since then there has been a lot of development thanks to some psyched locals including Tom Moulin. I forgot how beautiful it is out there and I was blown away when we arrived at the boulders. Although we only checked out a few areas I was impressed with how many good problems there were. We were lucky to stay in hotels while we were there for pretty cheap ($15/night at Palace Station) but there were two big conventions in town–one of which was a porn convention–the last weekend we were there so it became harder and harder to find cheap rooms but we managed. We ate at Whole Foods every day for breakfast and dinner and as expected we ran into many other climbers there.

Max below the infamous Pearl (V5)

The first move on The Pearl

Sticking the crux move

It's a very striking line right off the trail

I managed to climb a few hardish things including a flash of a the very crimpy/tic-tacky Slice and Dice (V9) but my favorite and most memorable climb by far was one I did the last day there called Americana Exotica (V9) located in Gateway Canyon just past the Kraft boulders. It’s a beautiful climb on weird layered rock that features underclings and wide horizontal pinches and powerful moves with a big dyno to the finish. It’s definitely not a “girl climb” with all the bicep intensive moves and wide pinches. At first it felt impossible but after a few tries I started to learn the moves. I kept falling on the powerful deadpoint off an undercling to a slot but on my last day of the trip I went back with a fresh left forearm and bicep and stuck the move first go and sent! Max got video and John Dickey was there to shoot some amazing photos so stay tuned for that. Max sent a few good ones too, most impressively one called Book of Nightmares (V12) that he nearly did in a few tries until he got a split in one finger and had to come back and send later. Quick work for him, nice!

Me sending Monkey Bar Direct (V8). photo by Max Zolotukhin

Americana Exotica (V9)--SO GOOD!!

Ethan Pringle sending Americana Exotica

Max trying The Book of Nightmares (V12)

Setting up for one of the crux moves.

Snow in Gateway Canyon

Night sesh!

oh, hi!

Jackie Hueftle on an arete climb I don't know the name of in Gateway Canyon.

Big Horn sheep in Black Velvet Canyon

Nature is so metal...

A little river in Black Velvet Canyon

Night sesh!

Max eyeing sharp crimps in a cave during our night sesh

I heart my new propane lantern!

Climbing, hiking, walking the strip, a little gambling, beer drinking (only good beer), hot-tubbing, snuggling and hotel debauchery, it all happened and I have many fun memories to come home with. It’s been a great trip with a really great crew. Goodbyes were really sad for me and it’s probably the only time in my life that I’ve actually been sad to leave Las Vegas. Winter vacation is over and now it’s back to SF and back to da grind. Thanks to Max and all my friends, new and old, for making it memorable.

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