Oct 252009
 

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!

Red Rocks - Oct 09 014

PB and J for life!

Red Rocks - Oct 09 028

The Rainbow Wall. So tall, so beautiful!

Red Rocks - Oct 09 036

First pitch completed, oh man this is going to be a good day!

Red Rocks - Oct 09 038

Two pitches down, Roberto’s turn to lead.

Red Rocks - Oct 09 048

A stunning 5.11 corner (P3 as we climbed it)

Red Rocks - Oct 09 051

Pitch four with the scary loose pillar in the bottom of the frame.

Red Rocks - Oct 09 063

A cool little roof at the end of pitch four. Belay bolts seen on the right.

Red Rocks - Oct 09 068

Luke starts up P4 with the ground slowly growing further away.

Red Rocks - Oct 09 069

Such high quality rock and  very nice to be climbing without a pack.

Red Rocks - Oct 09 074

Killer fingerlocks and laybacking.

Red Rocks - Oct 09 075

Roberto placing a TON of nuts while  linking the two 5.10 pitches, our P5.

Red Rocks - Oct 09 081

Enjoying early lunch and some  shoe free time at the first ledge.

Red Rocks - Oct 09 085

Thanks to hauling a mini-bag we had lots of food and water!

Red Rocks - Oct 09 098

Looking down at the spectacular final corner pitch of Cloud Tower.

Red Rocks - Oct 09 101

Roberto still grinning ear to ear on the traverse pitch, P8 from Over the Rainbow Ledge

Red Rocks - Oct 09 110

Still smiling on the first Red Dihedral Pitch, P9… I must not have realized the next move was the trickiest of the route.

Red Rocks - Oct 09 128

Luke almost done with the business on the sustained crux pitch (the 2nd Red Dihedral Pitch aka P10)

Red Rocks - Oct 09 130

I’ve seen this look before, must have just tried really hard!

Red Rocks - Oct 09 132

Roberto is still psyched and ready for the crux tenth pitch!

Red Rocks - Oct 09 136

Strenuous steep laybacking with poor feet. Wow!

Red Rocks - Oct 09 144

5.11 is nice after 5.12  Lets go UP!

Red Rocks - Oct 09 146

Wahoooo! Sweet stemming rest! Thank goodness for all the face holds.

Red Rocks - Oct 09 148

At the cave belay. Holy crap we are almost to the TOP!

Red Rocks - Oct 09 151

Summit was so warm! Oh man we made it!

Red Rocks - Oct 09 160

Wow! Original route on Rainbow Wall – 12 pitches, 2 people, only 1 fall .

Red Rocks - Oct 09 161

Looking out at Vegas after signing the Summit Log!

Red Rocks - Oct 09 174

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!!!

- Luke

  4 Responses to “A photo essay from the Original Route on Rainbow Wall”

Comments (4)
  1. Great TR, if you don’t mind me asking…which model of Metolius Haul Pack is that? I’ve got the full size (Express) but was looking to get a smaller one for just that reason.

  2. The haul pack we used is the smallest (15 L) called the Zodiac. It is pretty small though. It fit 3 nalgenes food and jackets but not too much more. I would not fit food and water + two pairs of approach shoes if you needed to walk off. It also does not have stowable shoulder straps or a waist belt. It is nice and short though so it sits really high on your back and doesn’t interfere with your chalk bag.

    Previously I used the Metolius Porta Cord (18 L) but in Zion I put some large holes in it, which is why I got the more durable Zodiac.

    I just got a Shield (31 L) that has the waist belt and stowable shoulder straps. I wanted something bigger so you could haul your approach shoes. This is a slightly smaller version of the Express. I will be doing a review of these packs in the next few months.

  3. Thanks…..I’ve also got eyes on the Mescalito. Bit bigger but not too much

  4. Great write up. This really brought me back. Definitely one of my favorite routes.

Leave a Reply