Mar 15, 2009

Honey, pay the insurance premiums. We’re going sport climbing!

Objective : Performance (and not getting injured)

Routes sent : 5.9+, onsight
5.9-, onsight

Routes tried : 5.7+, 3 tries
5.10d or 5.9-, A0
Mentally preparing to go to the anchor

Notes : My girlfriend and I went to Colorado Springs to meet up with her old friend and have a nice day at a local crag. I went to the gear shop to ask about a steep limestone crag I heard about on Mountain Project. The ripper behind the counter made a disparaging comment about limestone and directed me towards Red Rock Canyon Open Space (RRCOS). It is featureless sandstone slabville. It is all the epic parts of Yosemite and Joshua Tree, i.e. sandbagged runout slab, only with more tourons, no vistas, and really crappy rock. It is some type of super soft sandstone, which is permanently sandy. Whereas most holds in Red Rocks (in Vegas) are crimps, the few holds in RRCOS are all rounded. I’m glad I didn’t climb at Garden of the Gods. Apparently Garden of the Gods has all the goodness of RRCOS with older bolts. Remember to bring your own EMT (I did).

The first route I tried was 5.7+. The first bolt was at 25ft. No problem (it is only 5.7). I kept getting spooked at 15ft on the permanently sandy smears. I would turn around and run down the slab. I repeated this process three times before I called it quits. I onsighted the 5.9+ next door. I clipped all 4 bolts. The route was a little less than 30m. Do the math. I top roped the 5.9- because whoever bolted it decided to force the leader to climb an adjacent slab instead of bolting one of the few rad features.

While we were walking around, I saw a leaver biner on the fourth bolt of a "5.10d". I was curious because it looked like the route eased up after 4th bolt. I couldn’t figure out first 20 feet. It is dead vertical with only two holds. I aided up the first two bolts. My girlfriend, who has more patience than me, solved part of the riddle with a sequence that involved crunching down on a one-footed smear, with no hands, and dynoing to a crimp. The rest of the climb was moderate, run-out slab. I don’t know how someone could get to the fourth bolt and not finish the climb. Did they pull a calf muscle? At least I got a biner out of the deal. Towards the end of the day, I started to mutate and climb much better. I even enjoyed the end of this climb.

The Ripper Of The Day Award goes to whoever bolted the place. I know you’re bitter and pissed that you missed the Golden Area of Yos and J-tree, but don’t take it out on your local crag. Get over yourself. Your crag doesn’t have a proud traditional history. It 100% bolted, and the first routes were put up in 2004. 50% of your area is an abandoned quarry!! Chip some fun, overhanging, well-equipped routes. I want to go cragging with my girlfriend, not have a vision quest on a run-out slab.