Well the wheels are up and we are on our way the Las Vegas. This is my first trip to Sin City and I am so very much looking forward to what it will bring. There is an anxiousness that is exciting as I have only heard from many people I know who have been there that it is initially overwhelming. I am happy to say that I am travelling with two people from Australia. Mark and Jen live in Austin now and have done for the past three or four years
We are heading to Vegas not for the seduction of the casinos and the bright lights but to explore the desert and see what vertical adventures this vast arena can bring us. I am excited to be doing this as I have been fortunate to have been connected with one of America’s great female climbers Audrey Sniezek; my friend and Red River Gorge climbing buddy Monique has put me in touch with this very lovely lady and she has humbly agreed to climb with me for the first two days of the trip.
I am yet to meet Audrey, however my email correspondence with her has been very positive and extremely accommodating. My view is if Monique calls her a friend then she must be “Good Humans”. Audrey happily said yes to picking me up from the airport and I am being “chauffeured” to her place where I will be staying for the duration of my stay.
As I sit in the confines of this small seat, hunched over my laptop filling this virtual page with my enthusiastic view of what is ahead of me I think back to this mornings headline to hear that BB King had sadly passed away overnight leaving a legacy of not only great music but amazing memories for the planet. “BB King live at the Regal”. The best blues album that I have ever heard. This record (yes a vinyl album kids) was one of the truly defining musical moments in my life. However right now I have Rush blaring in my ears and the 1982 “Exit Stage Left” album comes to life once again and takes me back to that Ford Escort panel van in South Hurstville where my longtime friend Steve Hill first played it to me….we were 16 years old and we were going to rule the world in our band called “The Criminals”. Steve played drums and I was the bass player. Tom played guitar and Greg sang.
The drone of the jet engines only enhances the experience of listening to a track called “Jacob’s Ladder”. I am not sure which album it comes from but it sounds like 2112. I am so excited about this trip I am on around the globe, and I’m happy to say I have a lot to look forward to. I can’t explain the level of anticipation, fear and excitement that is zooming around in my veins. It is happening and Vegas is but a stones throw away.
The nine days will encompass a lot of rock climbing and I hope I will be in a good frame off mind for the trad routes that Jen and Mark have in mind. They are experienced trad climbers and I am a meagre sports climbing geek. I am tentative about this trad climbing stuff only through and simply by inexperience. I get the concept and have sent a couple of easy trad climbs but I want to have a go. Red Rocks is a mecca of awesome sandstone walls with many and varied routes across all styles of vertically silliness. It will be awesome!
I have also got a few tourist sights to take in; the Grand Canyon being one and I am very excited to see Hoover Dam. The big ticket item though is Zion National Park. I have dreamed of seeing this place since I started climbing eight years ago. Zion is the “Stairway to Heaven”. Routes there reach for the skies. A route that I would love to do at some stage in my life is called “Space Shot” and a place called “Angels Landing” only give credence to this place as a gateway to the stars. I am sure it will impress.
We have so much fucking gear its insane! I am not going to list it all as I will definitely run out of space. Mark likes to be ready for anything and I am sure thats what we will get. I need to get to REI tomorrow to get some shoes I can crack climb in. I only wear those blousey sports muppet shoes and the last time I used them I delaminated the top off them.
We arrived an hour late and had long wait to get off the plane. My generous host patiently responded to my texts letting her know of the delays. Finally I got my bags and Audrey met me and we headed off to her place……….Thanks heaps Audrey…….you’re a true gem 🙂