December 31, 2012 – Jan 1, 2013
For our final day of climbing, we drove through the Mojave Desert and into Nevada to Red Rock Canyon, which is a National Conservation Area near Las Vegas. Before we even got to the wall, we took in the stunning natural beauty all around us with sweeping vistas and multi-colored rock formations. We wanted to climb on Iron Man Wall, which had only been bolted within the last few years, so it wasn't in the guidebook yet and proved difficult to find. But eventually we did find it and put up a few nice climbs, including Ferrous Wheel, which has a 5.10d overhang and was among my favorite named routes of the trip.
There's a strange rule within the scenic loop we were climbing on that everyone has to be out by 5:00 PM or get a big fine. There's a number you can call to ask for permission to stay later, but we couldn't get through. Because we still had to pack everything up, walk for half an hour to the car, and drive more than ten miles through the loop, we had to stop climbing at 4:00. It was one of our lightest days of climbing, but after nine straight days, I didn't mind too much.
The walk out and subsequent drive around the loop gave us some more amazing views, and I found out that there are over 1000 climbs in Red Rock Canyon, some of which are 2000 feet high. One day was definitely not enough time to visit, so I'll have to come back someday. Even if you don't climb, it's a great side trip if you're in Las Vegas, and one that I think gets overlooked often.
After dinner we began the long drive home. This time there wasn't much ice or snow to deal with, so the drive went quicker. After thirty short hours we were back in Madison. We rang in the new year somewhere in Utah and got to hear the Badgers lose the Rose Bowl along the way. It's easy to summarize this trip by saying: Lots Of Climbing. But I think it was also about constantly meeting new people, some of whom I'm sure I'll be in touch with years from now. It only lasted eleven days, but I still think I'll be talking about this trip for a long time.
Many of the photos of the trip were from Gokul's and Zoey's cameras. Thanks for sharing your pictures!