Spring Spray-A-Thon Part I

Well, I’ve been putting off putting stoke-to-internet over the duration of the Spring, and figured that since the calendar now says it is summer time, I might as well begin writing things up.


I last left off with Shane’s injury on Iron Messiah.  To say that the loss of my primary big route partner to serious injury wasn’t a huge loss would be a tremendous understatement.  My stoke was in shambles, my training regimen quickly reduced to ‘maintenance’ level and generally was sort of adrift.  The good news was that a few friends were coming in town to climb – Ben and Roger, and they would be staying with me.  Both are two mega stoked climbers (#twostokedbros) and very solid climbers to boot.  Hearing their tales at the end of each day was always amusing and inspiring, and we finally made plans to climb that Friday, along with one of my regular local partners, Jon.


The initial plan was for two teams – Jon and I as well as Ben and Roger – to go for a lap on Cloud Tower and maybe play on neighboring Crimson Chrysalis if we had time.  Ben had an elbow issue that was acting up, so he decided to take Jon up another Red Rock classic in Ginger Cracks, while Roger and I climbed Cloud Tower.  #twoteamsoftwostokedbros


An early start was in order and delivered us to our desired routes just as those on the Vegas 9-5 grind were just getting their days started.  Roger had been dreaming of doing this route for quite some time and was super psyched, so I lead the first 3 guidebook pitches and let him have the rest.



Roger following the guidebook 3rd pitch, 2nd pitch as we did it.



Roger artfully onsighting the 5.12- crux of Cloud Tower



Roger throwing up the horns before pulling the super fun 5.10 roof



Final mega classic pitch, and if you guessed it…Roger is cruising


We finished the route very quickly thanks to Rog cruising away.  Moving fast on ‘big’ routes is super fun and definitely fun with someone who is as perma-stoked as Roger.  Last Fall, climbing that route took my partner and I nearly all day….less than half day affair this go round.   Once we got back to the deck, high fives were exchanged and lunch was quickly consumed.  We hung out at the base of Crimson for a while, letting the conga line dissipate a bit and waiting for our friends.  We thought we saw them pretty high on the route and we were getting a bit antsy to go climb more….so we started to get everything ready to go, when up walks Ben and Jon.  They had a super fun cruise on Ginger Cracks, so the party wall was to commence, up we went!  At least for a few pitches.  I think we did the first 3 or 4 pitches and then rapped…winds were picking up, feet were hurting from being in shoes all day, and folks were beginning to rap the route.  For as many times as I have driven the Red Rock loop and seen headlamps up on Crimson, I’ve always been happy to not be epicing.



Crimson Conga


A pleasant hike out rewarded us with ice cold beers at the car and an amazing sunset with great company.  If a fun day of climbing in the mountains and beers with sunset and good friends isn’t enough for you to feel really good about life, I’m really not sure what more you can ask for.



Jon, Roger, and Ben from L to R



Cloud-10 was alright, but I’m damn near at 11


That evening we went back to my house, cooked up some dinner, grilled some carne, drank beers and had a fire in the fire pit.  Travis came over and joined in after he got off work….great times.   Ben and Roger left the next morning and I was left to clean up after some teenagers egged a number of houses in my neighborhood.


Excitement was starting to build a bit again for a trip to Indian Creek coming the following (long) weekend.  Climbing legend Jim Donini and his friends were kind enough to offer up a few spots in their camp site to let Jon, Travis and myself stay with them, so we took them up on the generous offer.  Donini has always emphasized that at the end of the day, climbing is all about the hang…needless to say, a man who values the hang as much as he does certainly chose a site that gets an A+ for that aspect:



My tent, the Sabbatical Wall in the background (I believe)



Donini Camp



Not a bad place to hang out

Asking Jim for beta was crucial in honing in on the right aspects for the temps…he suggested our first full day that we visit the Optimator Wall and warm up on some 5.10 route called Neat right at the top of the approach.

His beta was spot on, except that I was like a moth to light on some 5.11- route to “warm up” on…not exactly the 5.10 I was hoping for, but a fun route.



Weston making some tenuous moves






After a quick lap for all three of us on this route, we were off to the crag classic – Annanuki



Weston starting up Annanuki



More Annanuki









Quite pumped while getting lowered




Travis following Annanuki  –  his first 5.12

Once we were done with Annanuki, it was time for Jon or Travis to lead something.  Off we went to Supercrack Buttress where Jon got to hop on 3AM….



3AM Crack




Travis and Jon getting ready to get things rollin’



Jon leading 3AM





Afternoon thunderstorms curtailed our session and back to camp we went.


Our second day in the Creek, Donini suggested the Reservoir Wall.  The Donini Abides, and we abided by his beta….



Travis starting up the 5.10 “Warmup Hand Crack” – quite good!



Beautiful Wingate Sandstone.  And Travis in the shade.




Travis leading Warmup 5.10 Hand Crack

After laps for all around and smiles on our faces thanks to this amazing route, we were off to “Middle Crack,” a stout 5.12- fingers to off-fingers crack.  This route starts on one of the cooler perches in the Creek, with fantastic views all around…








Reservoir Life



A freedom lovin’ patriot gettin’ ready to unleash some liberty on that tharr crack




Beautiful and difficult

It ain’t a desert  trip ‘til yew got mud on yer helmet, HURR HURR HURR



Powerful finger locks down low lead to steep off-fingers jamming up high (not visible)




Crank crank crank



Getting quite hard….taaaaaaaaaake



Jon belaying Travis on TR




That view.



Jon’s shoe shot


Next on the docket were a few mellow climbs around right of Excuse Station and No Excuse…can’t recall the names, but they were a blast!



Jon leading


Getting artsy




Me getting my lead on during the Golden Hour



More Golden Hour Glory








Not even mad.


That night we went back to camp and had a great time.  The next morning we all woke up quite beat up and decided a quick visit to the Incredible Hand Crack would be appropriate, since the Scarface parking lot was completely full – and I was a bit too beat up for the route I wanted to try on that wall.  I guess it’ll have to wait until the Fall!



Weston starting up the boulder start





Weston leading Incredible Hand Crack




Steep section and above were more like “incredible thin hands crack”






Following this route, everyone had smiles on their faces and were a bit tired and we took our show home.  Shane’s presence was greatly missed on the trip and Donini & Angela’s hospitality legendary.  All in all a good trip, but there definitely was a missing piece to the crew.  Next up…the trip to the Valley in May and my birthday weekend.


Thanks for reading!