Red Rocks and Pastel Eggs: Easter weekend in Nevada
by Lindy Sexton - 5 years, 9 months ago
Limestone fingers followed me home this past weekend. Just when others are buying chocolate bunnies and jelly beans and other pastel things, I meet up with a group of climbers from LA in Red Rocks Canyon, Nevada. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the celebrations that bring people together. This year, Easter is celebrated with a new family. Every morning I pay a relaxed homage to the sun over coffee and oats. My Easter egg hunt consists of crumbling boulders and steep red fortress walls.
First day Heidi, Lei, and I conquer five of the 13 pitches of Epinephrine, a long chimney that tops out 1600 feet. Our late morning start means for a shorter time on the wall, yet the temperature is perfect and the route is a lot of fun. We roll back to tents hungry and exhausted, and just in time to see three other cars pull up. Now its a party!
Day two asks for more challenging fodder. We trek in 40 minutes into a deep canyon to a small pond and Risky Business, a five pitch 10c, mixed route on Mescalito. Naturally, we find ourselves climbing next to two veterans from Colorado, who make the wall look like child’s play. But then again, it’s all child’s play, isn’t it? Risky Business is a relief from the chimney living the day before, spacious wall with smearing, laybacks, and cracks. And a beautiful repel.
We reach camp in time to partake in the collection of dinners, drinks, and camp fire. The moon shines over Vegas and the air is sweet. I sleep very well that night, now that I’ve found the right amount of clothes to hide under my head.
Sunday morning I wake up as the sun comes over the Vegas ridge. Yet again, a slow morning for most in the site, and with caffeinated bodies we set off for the First Pull-off and Calico Wall. Easy warm-ups on these single pitch low-grade 5s prepare Lei and I for Sweet Pain. We hike into the small cove and I can hear the screams as someone drops from an unsuccessful lead. The wall doesn’t look too menacing, some overhangs and heel hooks. Nothing big. As soon as my fingers touch the cool rock, skin starts peels. Sharp patina challenges the good hold, my weight is finally an obstacle as I pull in sideways. I admit I need to work out more. Finally, after much sweat and shakeouts, I summit the 5.12 rock. Satisfied and hungry for more, this is the time to clean and head home.
Every time I get out on these climbs, I tell myself that next time I’ll get up earlier, train harder, be more prepared. After all, the thrill of advancing to another grade is something that needs no explanation. Yet, the people I meet on this trip, the amount of sun that catches my eye, the open air, all of this proves to be a good reminder that I am lucky to be where I am now, no matter what time we leave camp.