The problem with trip reports is that they so inadequately describe
the trip--worse, how do you describe a trip that was amazingly wonderful,
yet had no real outstanding climbs or events that would be of any interest
to anyone but yourself and the people you went with? So it is with this
Red Rocks (Nevada) trip: i can see in my mind's eye the lights of Vegas
backlighting the joshua trees, i listen to the laughter of my friends,
i feel the wind cut through my fleece as i grab my gortex jacket, i steal
a hat, the hat is retrieved, the sun bounces off the rocks and later,
the moonlight throws shadows on the buttresses; there's a bit of fear,
a bit of triumph, a few bruises. So what, to you, is so special about that?
Therefore, this particular trip report isn't, really. Instead it's a
collection of information that may come in handy, as well as a route
description that may or may not be in the book (it doesn't fit anything
Destination: Las Vegas. When the weather people warn of snow, take
them seriously. That's nothing new, but it's something we sure forgot
on the way back. Anybody ELSE care for nearly 200 miles of snowy, icy
roads over the passes with low visibility? I thought not.
Places to eat: the folks at Desert Rock have good suggestions. I don't
remember the name of the Thai place they recommended, but it was worth
going to. One place we found on our own was Esmeralda's, a Salvadoran
restaurant with (roughly) Mexican food. The menu is in Spanish first
and English second--although not all the items have English translations.
I asked about something called "Yuca ...." which I assumed was likely
yucca--our waitress, however, couldn't give the English name. After
some discussion, we determined that whatever it was was not meat, and there
would be no meat in the dish, and i went with that. It WAS yucca--boiled
and really good, although the cook later told me it's better fried. So
go to Esmeralda's and get fried yucca. Good stuff. Pretty cheap, too.
Esmeralda's is located on Charleston Blvd, east of *** Center--but i
wasn't driving so my directions are vague.
Music: I discovered 'Dr. Bernice' by Cracker. If you haven't heard it,
it is FANTASTIC music for desert driving. Especially when you're bouncing
over dirt roads in almost 3/4 time along with the music.
Camping: Camping at the mouth of Black Velvet Canyon will be prohibited
after January 1st, i didn't get a chance to discover a reason. I don't
know what's going to happen--the Oak Creek campground was over-stuffed
during this holiday, in the middle of winter. There is a lot of BLM land
around, and they've kindly put signs in all the places you can't camp,
which i interpreted to mean you Could camp anywhere else. There will be
plenty of places to sling a tent. As always, leave no trace.
Route Description: Cat In The Hat, Variation One. I could find no description
in the guide book that really approximated this climb, so i give a route
description here. Our climb was not a first ascent, not by a long shot, as
was evidenced by the LARGE number of slings of varying ages we found.
First off, CITH is AROUND the toe to the south west. It is NOT on the prow
of the Mescalito. If your partner swears that they see it on the prow,
and that the route (basically) fits the description in the book, take the
book from their hands and hit them over the head until they agree to follow
you further south and further west, around the prow, around the toe.
However, should you find yourself climbing up the prow after all, thinking
it's CITH, the following description may help you know what you got
yourself in for, fool.
On the left side of the prow, about 100 feet up and left of a very obvious
flake/chimney system and on the left below a HUGE terrace, scramble up
some slabs (not too stressful, but not for people who like to walk on
trails to their climbs, either) to a left-facing corner. Just to the
right of the corner is a white roof with a beautiful looking***crack up
the right-hand side of it.
Climb the run-off gully next to the white roof, through volcanic-looking
bubbles. We were not able to get in pro for the first 30 feet: 5.5F (funky)
Continue up to a small cave in the gully: 5.4 (not really a Cave, but an
indentation with a small roof). You can set up a belay here (90 ft) or
continue up the gully (5.4/5.5F) to a small, really unstable looking tree
on a small, cozy ledge with more rap slings attached (total 190ft.).
The gully becomes steeper and the rock turns to sandstone; the funkiness
remains. Climb up, criss-crossing from one side to the other. Gear
is available where you need it, about every 10 to 15 feet. At the top
of the gully, step right out onto the terrace and belay from a large,
sling-ridden rock (the pink and blue sling is mine): 5.7 (max), 95 ft.
In the end, we rapped from here. The two pitches described below are
1. Scramble up to the uppermost ledge on the left: 5.2 bush-whacking.
Belay in a small crack. Move left and then right to a stance on a hollow
flake--the flake is about 2" thick and extends right at least 100 feet;
despite the fracture lines, it likely won't come loose soon. Either a) go
up left, over a small roof to a shallowly inclined field of bubbles; then
left to the gully to get to the next terrace. It looks about 5.6, but the
pro (from what we could tell) sucks. There appears to be a tree on the
terrace that could be rapped from. Estimated distance: 75 feet. OR b) go
right around the roof to another roof with a crack in it--probably better
pro, but getting there looked about 5.9'ish (my partner said 5.11, but i'm
pretty sure he was exaggerating). Once on top of the roof, you're on
2. Go right across terraces (5th class, meaning easy scrambling
but if you fall you die) to a lovely looking crack at the right side of
the black face. It looks no worse than 5.6, continues upward for about
50+ feet, but ends at a pair of bushes that look rather unsuitable for
From the top of either of these routes to the top of the Mescalito is at least
one more pitch, probably two, and i have no words of wisdom. It was 3:30p
when we decided not to do the 5.6 roof. so we just bailed from the terrace.
Think clean thoughts while pulling the rap ropes: double rope raps are
required and 200 ft ropes (60m) are strongly recommended.
Like i said: Cat In The Hat, variation one. Pro was stoppers and cams
on the first pitch, and nearly all cams on the second. Bring medium and
large stoppers, cams to #3 camalot, and pink and red tricams.
So this trip report doesn't tell you much about OUR trip, but we had
a blast. I even learned the word 'genghis', as in, one of my friends was
a real genghis for leading a .11c (sport)(it was fun, too); i'd never
heard the word before.
Hope this contains partially useful information.
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists
in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on
the unreasonable man. --George Bernard Shaw