Posted by: Jack | March 30, 2007

Epic Journey: Day 4 – Red Rock Valley

This day began early for a number of people as they set out for some all-day multipitch climbing starting around 5 am. For the rest of us it was another leisurely morning of lounging around camp. As some of the less-dedicated climbers, Vanessa and I volunteered to escort Kristen to a Las Vegas urgent care center for treatment of an infected, rope-induced eye injury. The short time in the city was more than my fill and reassured me that it was not worth the trouble to explore the town further. After picking up some eye drops the three of us proceeded to Dairy Queen because everyone deserves a treat after a trip to the doctor. And besides, it was already exceedingly hot under the blazing desert sun.

Having already fully packed up camp, we drove directly to an area of the Red Rock Valley Conservancy where a number of the climbers were sessioning a wall. We had to do some searching and scrambling before finding the group but in the process came across many wonderful sights.

Eventually we did come across the climber’s hanging out at a nice crag with many climbs for all abilities. Despite having been climbing day in and day out for the past 5 days, this crew was still going strong and pushing every tendon to, and probably beyond, its limit. As my sprained finger continued to swell I decided it best to simply play the role of photographer for this day and as a result came away with an obscene number of climbing pictures. Since most of my readers here are non-climbers I won’t bother posting too many of them. This first one is a combination of two photos of the same scene from the same location but having adjusted the exposure based on two different areas of lighting. With some more time it could be given a less chopped-together appearance but still it is very colorful. The climber in the foreground is Rob.

The crag was especially nice for photography as there was an easily-scramblable wall opposing the climbing wall so that the camera could be raised to whatever level the climber was at. This gave many opportunities for close-ups even when the climber was high on the wall. This is Rob again.

Here some of the climbers are taking a break and getting some sun on top of the aforementioned opposing wall.

Around the corner was a relatively easy but lengthy climb which tempted me all day. I do somewhat regret passing it up but a re-injured tendon would not have served me well at the upcoming mountain unicycling festival. Here we see Ross contemplating his next move.

Below we have Travis using all of his training and experience as an EMT/Nurse hoping to remove an extremely deep sliver from Rob’s heel.

Travis, being without doubt the best climber in the group, provided quite the show as he cruised up very difficult routes making even the most powerful move appear effortless.

I should also include some credit to the belayers since climbs such as these are made possible (or at least safe) through their patient attention.

Yet another humorous warning sign found at the parking lot near this area:

As the sun began to set, the group reassembled and we heard tales of the multipitch climbs performed that day. I was in awe specifically in regards to Tyler and Steve who had set out at 5 am and had hiked and climbed for the next 14 hours. Craving something other than a rehydrated meal, we stopped in Vegas at a Baja Fresh (much like Qdoba) and chatted about the climbing of days past.

Earlier that day I had decided to alter my original travel plans and instead of heading southeast for the Grand Canyon, I would stick with the group and go directly to Zion Canyon which was to be my next stop. One of the group claimed to know an area in St. George–the town nearest Zion–maintained by the BLM where we could camp for free. A couple hours later our posse of vehicles was driving around neighborhoods in search of a basically unknown site. We found ourselves driving through a rugged area which appeared to be a construction site but our guide assured us it was the place. It was now about 1 am and with no moonlight we had very little concept of our surroundings. Regardless, we all caved into fatigue and just threw our pads and bags in a big huddle next to our cars. While attempting to capture the comedic attitude surrounding this choice of campsite I got a very interesting picture. The streams of light are from bobbing and weaving headlamps as everyone settled in.

It may have been the recently torn up ground or maybe just an extreme level of exhaustion but everyone agreed this was a surprisingly comfortable site we had chosen. We were all fast asleep within moments.

Continue to Day 5



  1. Thought you might appreciate the winner’s entry today for woot Contest 116.

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