the adventure continues:- Red Rocks Canyon, Brian………”Just Shut Up and Climb” and the 5.12a “Pain Check”!

I woke to the sound of Audrey asking me if I would like a coffee and I responded happily with a “yes please”. We were heading out climbing this morning and had decided to go to Wake Up Wall, no hang on Sunny and Steep…….oh no hang on back to plan A. I had been communicating this detail with friends as they were nine miles away at their motel.

The view of Red Rocks from Audrey's balcony.
The view of Red Rocks from Audrey’s balcony.

Unfortunately they missed the last text because they had already taken off to go and climb at Sunny and Steep. Audrey and I had to wait for some people that were coming along to climb with us and they were running late, so we faffed around until Brian and his daughter arrived. We then headed out to Wake Up Wall at the second pullout. Arriving at the cark park a little later only proved to me what a tourist area this place actually is. The Red Rocks Canyon Recreational Area is a hive of activity from the time the park opens at 6am until the last car leaves at night.

The reason they call it Red Rocks.
The reason they call it Red Rocks.
............and again!
…………and again!

Finding parking proved to be a little difficult, but we finally got it sorted out and our packs were on and were were off to the crag. The hike in had a sense of urgency about it, at the time I was thinking, thats just Audrey’s nature 🙂 where as I am in relax mode and there is no great sense of urgency to rush anywhere. I want to take in the sights, sounds and smells that are new to me. Staring at all these sandstone and limestone formations was truly amazing, for the first time. It was a sight to behold and truly beautiful to see.

The Red Rocks formations are a “Keystone Thrust”. The Keystone is part of a series of thrust faults which ran through much of western North America and through the Red Rock Conservation Area. The movement of this fault forced the older grey sedimentary rock over the younger red rocks, forming the multi-coloured landscape that can be seen in the mountains today. The thrust is exposed over a distance of 13 miles along the Red Rock escarpment.

With our harnesses now tightly strapped on and the ropes being tied in. We all start the climbing for the day. The first route is 5.10a (20) warm up and Brian is on belay. This is a really nice way to start the day. The name of the route escapes me for the moment. While Audrey coaches Kylie up a 5.8 (16) slab. All of a sudden I hear the statement “I don’t have any quick draws!” I think “Did I just really hear that?”…………I’ll leave the sorting that out to Audrey, there is nothing I can do about it right then. I climb on and warm up in the Vegas sun.

My awesome host and
My awesome host and “Good human”….the delightful Audrey Sniezek.

Brian and I are off to a good start and he starts putting on his best Australian accent and making crack pot bad statements in his Aussie accent……it is really funny to listen too and I laugh continually throughout the day at this. He is really curious to know about my place of origin and what the climbing there is like and the beaches more importantly as Brian and his family live in Los Angeles.

Today they have travelled to Las Vegas to have Audrey coach his 5.13a (28) climbing twelve year old. The dear little thing has issues leading and Brian thinks she should just  not be having these issues and just get on with it. Audrey and I spoke about this and I said I’d take care of Brian for the day……..(no offence Brian) while she tried to defuse the Kylie’s leading issues. I also climbed the slab the Kylie was on after she had finished it.

Kylie leading and Brian observing quietly........
Kylie leading and Brian observing quietly……..

The next route was a 5.11b (22) called “Just Shut Up and Climb”. this was a little steeper than the first route and it was a great route to be on. it reminded of a route back home called “Moan Groan Dial Tone” established by Phil Lawlor. It took me two shots to tick the route, but overall I was happy with my achievement. I noted to myself that I should be celebrating my achievements more, I was not good at this and I should “Git it on!

Cool, calm and slightly injured......but still doing the dance.
Cool, calm and slightly injured……but still doing the dance.

Audrey put the draws on a 5.12a (24) called “Pain Check” apparently solid for the grade and I was sort of keen to give it a shot. I have been having some very limiting thoughts about my climbing of late and I am really in need of a review of my attitude. I got in the route and got the majority of the moves on my first and only shot. I figured out my beta for the crux sequence after the caring Americans spewing forth any amount of ideas on what would work for me based on what they had done……….hahahahaha, given the height difference I politely asked for them to not provide me any further input. I went back to my original process and nailed the first crux move and pull through to the next sequence. This was not as hard as I thought it would be, it was just making the commitment. I got to the top happy and feeling like I have achieved something both mentally and from a growth point of view.

Yours truly on the bold and testing route
Yours truly on the bold and testing route “Pain check” 5.12a (24)
Kylie, Brian, Audrey and me!
Kylie, Brian, Audrey and me!
Audrey and I............doin' tha' selfie.
Audrey and I…………doin’ tha’ selfie.

At the end of the day it was great to go and eat at BJ’s eatery and devour a burger and two margaritas. I sent my friends a message as we had not heard from them…..they responded with a “Fine considering we went to a crag that we didn’t want to go to and you guys didn’t turn up!” I apologised but it seemed to not matter. I contacted them daily to see what they were doing. In the end I simply decided to look after myself and I made my choices and owned them.

Sometimes things need to change to allow us to grow. The name of the last route of the day summed it up for me succinctly……..”Pain Check”. I didn’t tick the route, but I ticked the box and was moving on.


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