Friday, November 15, 2013

Hey You! Get Off of My Cloud!

The Cloud Tower is one of Red Rock Canyon's mega-classic routes.  Jared and I ran up the route last week and needless to say, we agree.  Every pitch on this route is a classic for the grade and having them stacked one upon-the-other makes it a masterpiece.  Though this route goes at 11d (some say harder, but the crux is a lot easier than many RR 12a's) you can plug protection almost anywhere, making it a perfect route to break into the grade.  If you can climb within a grade of 11d, get on it, you won't be disappointed.

Make sure to pack the following: 2x 000C3-#4C4, 3x0-2C3, 3x#1-2C4, 4x#3C4 (Think about taking an extra #2 and leaving a #1 behind).  For the descent a single 70m works for all raps, but you'll need a second rope for the first rap (and to tag the pack on the crux).  I'd advise you stop at every rap station on the way down (rather than making longer raps) as the descent is a real rope-eater.

Jared leading the perfect hand crack on pitch 3.

Jared about to punch it on pitch 4.

Red Rock Sympathiomimetics

Jared entering the classic
chimney pitches on Epinephrine.

I'll admit it, I underestimated summers in Las Vegas.  They are unequivocally hot.

Needless to say, there aren't a lot of traveling climbers in the area during the summer so the classics are vacant.  But you still have to beat the heat.

Our solution to this problem was a 3pm start for the mega-classic Epinephrine.  We still suffered through triple digit heat and a sunny approach, but the Black Velvet Canyon was shady and offered a relative reprieve.  Unfortunately, the late start in the late summer meant that we were caught by night on the final ramp leading to the summit.    Fortunately for us, I think the reports of a difficult descent are generated by inexperienced climbers.  We found the descent very straight-forward, except below Frogland, and were back at the car in short order.