They tell me fall is the time for sending, the best climbing time of the year. Well now is October and the desert is starting to cool down. With these thoughts in mind I drove to Vegas.
This past weekend I had the chance to climb the Original route on Rainbow Wall. This experience flowed beautifully as I embraced a feeling of relaxation and avoided nervousness. I talked my self up, filled my coffer with positivity, and went to Red Rocks to climb this great multi-pitch.
This would be my second 5.12 long multi-pitch of the year but I was unsure how I would fare. My friends, Josh and Stein, had loved this route and recommended it highly. They gave me tips and I set out ready to slay the beast. I had to stay psyched because deep down I still fear failure. I have come to learn that failure is not absolute and can even be acceptable. This allows me to climb more freely and I am a better climber because of it.
Roberto and I managed not to get lost on the hike in, despite hiking the final section in darkness, and bivyed at the base. We were helped out by a pair of Czech climbers who were rappelling by headlamp. Their lights on the wall helped guide us up the slabs to our eventual buggy bivy at the base. We had no tent and were tormented by gnats and mosquitos throughout the night.
The morning was spectacular and we were climbing around 7am. The first hard pitches were stunning and I crimped my way up, reveling in the technical climbing. The cruxes were many on these two pitches and I marveled how face holds would appear at the perfect time when the crack seamed out. We were making great progress as Roberto lead the next two easier, but still 5.11, corner pitches to finish the first hard block. In no time we had climbed the next two 5.10 pitch, linking them, and simuled and then re-belayed to get to the Over The Rainbow Ledge.
Overcome by our excitement we forgot to stop and eat although it was just about noon. Roberto led the exciting traverse, no falls please, and set me up at the base of the Red Dihedrals. The next few pitches were the final crux and I was stymied by a baffling stemming move. I was not committed and could not visualize the sequence. After a quick rest I magically stuck to the wall, made the tricky reach and finished the pitch. The next dihedral pitch involved a bunch of grunting, foot slips, and honest hard work. A onsight was in the cards for me with enough holds to pull myself to the next belay. One more 5.11 pitch and an awkward 5.10 pitch put us at the top. The sun shown brightly and I was quick to lose my shirt. We had been in the shade all day and it was at least ten degrees warmer at the top.
The quality of the rock and the climbing was excellent and this route is a red rocks Must do! I’ll write another blog soon with approach and descent info for future parties.
Enjoy the photos from our crazy journey!
PB and J for life!
The Rainbow Wall. So tall, so beautiful!
First pitch completed, oh man this is going to be a good day!
Two pitches down, Roberto’s turn to lead.
A stunning 5.11 corner (P3 as we climbed it)
Pitch four with the scary loose pillar in the bottom of the frame.
A cool little roof at the end of pitch four. Belay bolts seen on the right.
Luke starts up P4 with the ground slowly growing further away.
Such high quality rock and very nice to be climbing without a pack.
Killer fingerlocks and laybacking.
Roberto placing a TON of nuts while linking the two 5.10 pitches, our P5.
Enjoying early lunch and some shoe free time at the first ledge.
Thanks to hauling a mini-bag we had lots of food and water!
Looking down at the spectacular final corner pitch of Cloud Tower.
Roberto still grinning ear to ear on the traverse pitch, P8 from Over the Rainbow Ledge
Still smiling on the first Red Dihedral Pitch, P9… I must not have realized the next move was the trickiest of the route.
Luke almost done with the business on the sustained crux pitch (the 2nd Red Dihedral Pitch aka P10)
I’ve seen this look before, must have just tried really hard!
Roberto is still psyched and ready for the crux tenth pitch!
Strenuous steep laybacking with poor feet. Wow!
5.11 is nice after 5.12 Lets go UP!
Wahoooo! Sweet stemming rest! Thank goodness for all the face holds.
At the cave belay. Holy crap we are almost to the TOP!
Summit was so warm! Oh man we made it!
Wow! Original route on Rainbow Wall – 12 pitches, 2 people, only 1 fall .
Looking out at Vegas after signing the Summit Log!
Roberto going down the fixed line below the slabs.
What an amazing route. Still hasn’t hit me yet. Can’t wait to go back the climbing is SOOO good! Rainbow Country next time!!!