Just got back from our trip to Red Rocks. The plan was this, climb three of classic long routes in the reserve back to back to back. 5 days, 1000 miles to drive, 30+ pitches up to 11c, 15+ rappels and more miles of hiking than a Marathon would certainly test my training regiment, of not training, to the limit.
Levitation 29, 7 pitches 11c, one of the longest approaches in RR
Due to a lack of proper planning we don’t leave SLC until 8 PM. Thanks to the time change we arrive RR by 1 AM. Snag the last camping spot and toss out the pad and the bag. The alarm gets set for 5:30 AM, I’m really looking forward to my 4 hours of sleep.
The alarm sounds and we’re off. Coffee and oatmeal both about the same consistency get us going. We drive “the Loop” park, rack and start walking 6:30 on schedule.
There’s always that point, I guess you call it the beginning, in the trip were everything is great. The sunrise is beautiful, the hiking pretty easy we’re going climbing, yeah. Than the pain starts. Slowly at first. Rocks you were able to scramble over become larger requiring the use of hand holds and climbing skills. Route finding plays a roll because even this early on I realize I want to MINIMIZE the amount of wrong turns I make. Cairns sprout like cat us confusing us even more.
Then it happens the “short cut” rears it’s ugly head. Cairns point the way to what looks like the route that Shaw saw on the web and copied, by hand, onto the back of some scrap paper. It’s suppose to save 15 min. Up we go! Easy at first, then right about the time you reach the point of having covered to much ground to go back the scrambling begins to slowly morph into climbing. We stop in a flat spot with about 300′ of slab below us. It’s only 20′ of 5.easy to what I hope with every cell in my body is the upper “easy” slabs. I can see the way clearly and I hope it’s as easy as it looks and I go. Not too bad and now we’re on the right track. After another 30 min. on what Shaw calls the evil StairMaster we top out next to the bottom of the route. 2 hours, not bad.
I’m relived to be roping up after soloing the approach slabs. The climbing begins right off the bat with the newly replaced bolt being just out of reach from the ledge that taller folks stand on to clip. The chopped stud mocks me as I can easily reach it. I make the first moves in the series that the bolt is there to protect, stop and clip and head up. The climbing is fun and the protection though small is good. My foot cuts out unexpectedly and I almost go for a ride. Resoles aren’t working quite right yet but they come on strong as I go higher.
It’s hot, 80, calm and not a cloud in the sky which would be great except that the climb faces directly south and we are cooking.
The next pitches go well. We swap leads and Shaw ends up leading the crux 5.11 pitches which is fine with me. The route gets steeper as we go up. We eat bars that go down like nails, suck some Gu and finish the water on about pitch 5. The 6th pitch seems hard. The topo says 10b but it’s not going well for me. I can’t grip to the only hold that I can find to clip off of and after whipping 3 times I am positive that what I’ve been gripping aint a 10b offering. I finally figure it out but by the time I make the belay there’s no question about it, I’m tired.
Shaw leads pitch 7 and that’s it Levitation 29 complete.
Except for the raps, reversing the slabs, the river bed and the hike across the desert all of which it turns out only takes 3 hours. This 3 hours included a very important stop at a pool of cold water that we treated and drank.
All and all it was a good day for the riverpeople though upon further reflection a little hot.
Oh yeah the new book rates pitch 6, 10d.
To be continued…….
I hope the video isn’t so annoyingly slow that it stops you from watching it.
For each of the last 4 summers there has been what has become a traditional end of the Moab Rafting season Cataract Canyon Trip. The Red River crew, friends and family come from far and wide to participate in more than a few days of behavior that is reserved for private river trips with close friends. As aways there are tons of pictures and more than a bit of video taken.
Here is a classic in the making.
Truly a wonderful clip of what happens when things don’t go right on the water. I love to see video like this. Too often the scene gets cut just as things get interesting. Watching scene after scene of guys making impossible whitewater lines, dropping huge waterfalls and popping up with smiles on their faces, stomping huge air and landing switch and skiing away gets boring.
Lets see some carnage. I want to know what Johny superstar does when sh$% hits the fan.
Well Red River Adventures guide, Landon is our Johny Superstar in this clip and just as I hoped things don’t go as planned and he get his head handed to him. I’ve got to give him credit he does a great job of staying cool and making the run look smooth.
“Chundered” is what we call what happens to Landon and if you look it up in the dictionary you’ll see this video.
It’s over, summer that is. The rafts are rolled and life jackets put away. No more launches, sandwiches or water fights not until next year. Fall finds us with options. We’re spread from the desert, out across the country from coast to coast.
The riverpeople are road trippin in the east to climb classics that were put up before a single route was done in Indian creek. Connecticut, New Hampshire, Kentucky and New York have all been visited and explored, ground up. We’ve been to Key West and stood on the southernmost point in the US while standing up for our dearest friends on the day of their wedding.
We’re spending time in Oakland by way of Big Walls in Zion before it’s off to Costa Rica for some more R+R dead liver style. A Class V adventure in kayaking, nightlife and the boys can only hope, ladies.
We’re on the Green River in Ladore Canyon rafting. Why? Because spending at least part of almost every day since April rafting a river around Moab wasn’t quite enough so before the snow gets too good some felt the need to squeeze a few more river days in.
We’re in Moab climbing routes and exploring towers that we see every day yet never seem to get done during the rush and heat of the summer.
We’re writing this from SLC where fall as is good as it gets. Skiing in the Wasatch is on. First tracks have been made and yet the the Aspens are still in their fall colors. Skiing in the AM, rock climbing by afternoon, both within 1/2 mile of each other. Pack the skis and the rack because you need them both.
Summer’s over for sure so until next years moab rafting season starts we’ll pursue our options and distract ourselves as best we can.