Two of our friends from Los Alamos were coming to Red Rocks the first week of April, so we decided to spend another week there and meet them. When we came back, spring was in full swing and all the flowers were in bloom. We had better luck with the weather this time even though we had a couple of very cold and windy days.
The 13-mile campground was full when we arrived except for the RV section so we had to put up with noisy generators (and their owners) for the first night. The next morning, we found a good site in the tent section and then went for an afternoon ascent of Dark Shadows. The next day we climbed Ginger Cracks. After a lazy rest day (spent mostly checking e-mail, working on the website, and watching more DVDs on the laptop), we got a very early start for Crimson Chrysalis. The next day, we climbed Unimpeachable Groping, a bolted 5.10+ on the East Side of Ginger Buttress. After another rest day, we hiked up Oak Creek canyon and spent the night at the base of the ramp leading to the Levitation wall, hoping to climb Levitation 29 the following day. We had a good night (clear night with lots of stars) except for a raccoon that was very interested in our food and not the least bit impressed by our attempts at intimidation. The little bastard ended up chewing through Eric's bivy sack in the middle of the night! During one of his attempts, we pulled the camera out, fired the flash in the dark and managed to get a good photo of the culprit!
The next morning was cold and very windy. We started up the first pitch of Levitation but were too miserable and bailed off. On the way back to the car, Lucie managed to sprain her ankle. Bad day... We decided to leave Red Rock shortly after that since she still could not climb after a couple of days of forced rest.
Save Red Rocks!
As a side note, new residential and commercial development in Las Vegas is totally out of control. The city is the fastest growing in the US and it shows. Even more disturbing is the fact that a large part of that expansion is creeping up Charleston Boulevard, and getting dangerously close to Red Rocks. From one year to next, there have typically been one or two new "mega-blocks" of cookie-cutter, fenced "communities" at the West End of Charleston. Developments now extend to the very edge of the Conservation Area. It does not stop there, however. Last year, a developer actually came within a few days from breaking grounds for a brand new 20,000+ people "neighborhood" on the Red Rocks side of the Blue Diamond mine hill. This would have increased traffic into Red Rocks tenfold and put a medium-sized town, complete with schools, supermarkets, etc. in plain view of most classic climbs at Red Rocks. The developer was stopped at the last minute after massive public outcry forced the county to refuse the necessary zoning changes. This battle is by no means over, however. Just recently, the property has been purchased by another developer at a cost of $50 million. Opposition to these development plans is led by several devoted volunteers in the small town of Blue Diamond. They maintain a web site with current developments at www.redrock.org. The logical alternative is for the BLM to purchase the land from the mine. BLM officials have so far refused to discuss that option. Attempts at passing state legislation that would prevent zoning changes are underway.
Red Rock Canyon... Again!
|Juniper and Pine Creek Canyon at sunrise (it ain't called Red Rocks for nothing!).|
|Spring at Red Rocks when we came back early April..|
|Our little thief.|
|Overview of long classics at Red Rocks (©)|