*Disclaimer- Long entry ahead. When you’re short on consistent wifi, count on fewer but longer entries. It’s the quality and not the quantity that counts, right?*
It’s day two and as far as adventures go, Ali and I have not been disappointed. I’ve forgotten about the change in mountain time, so instead of the displayed time of 820 on the car dash, it is 920 pm and I am currently writing enroute from Ely, Nevada to Red Rock Canyon. On our first day, the drive down to Bellingham was fairly standard. It was after our stop at Trader Joes that we started experiencing funky weather. Our goal was to hit Umatilla, Oregon and camp there for the night. Our drive along the way included patches of intense monsoon like rain, naturally bringing traffic to a snail crawl. We found ourselves at our destination around 11pm, after having been driving since 330.
Ali enjoying her hot cocoa
At one of our rest stops enroute to Nevada!
Getting in some dance moves while she still can.
It’s a wee bit chilly…
Unfortunately, my very full hydro pack that was stored in my climbing bag exploded and as a result, all the contents inside became completely wet. One such item was my headlamp and let me tell you…having a cold and wet head band against your head is not a whole lot of fun especially when it was below freezing- more to come on that.
I have family who recently travelled to Antarctica (how amazing is that!?) and who camped one night there. When I first heard that, I immediately knew that that would be a bucket list item. Well. After my night in Oregon, I might not need to do that! Temperatures in Oregon started at a balmy -2C as I was getting ready for bed, and ended with me waking up to -4C. Unlike my last trip in which I lived out of a camperized van, I no longer have that luxury, and am now residing in a tent. The -7C sleeping bag and additional liner was no match for my first experience with damp, below freezing winter camping. I started the night off with two layers and woke up to a third layer, as well as a toque. I also woke up to a frozen headlamp and as it turns out, battery that had exploded in my headlamp, due to the water that had leaked in from the climbing pack.
Our brush with funky weather continued starting with a 630 am start to dark and clear roads, to sunshine and a sun rise in Oregon, to an intense snow fall through the Wenatchee Forest, back to sunshine briefly through Idaho, to fog and eventually back to intense snowfall and temps of -6, just outside Ely. Much to my relief, the snow has since ceased and the temps have creeped up from -6 to 7C.
Visuals of the weather we encountered enroute to Red Rock!
We eventually reached our climbing and camping destination around 130 am and started our search for a camp site. Unfortunately for us, because we arrived on a Saturday, it was incredibly busy and we were not lucky enough to secure said site. As a result, we spent the night in a “reserved” section of the camp grounds, much to the dismay and evil eye of a guide who had reserved a nearby site. Oops 😉 Fortunately for us, our luck turned for the better as we left in the morning to go climb, and Ali, with her sharp eye found us a newly deserted site. Hallelujah! We no longer had to feel guilty with our illegal camping style 😂
Red Rocks in all it’s glory 👌🏼
The first couple of days of climbing were amazing. The last time I was in Red Rocks I climbed in an area known as the Black Corridor. Lots has changed for me personally since I was there last, however, all the climbs have not. I climbed many familiar routes, and both Ali and I climbed hard and long for our first day.
Another view of Red Rock.
Back at it.
One of the many scrambles we encountered whilst walking to the crag.
All smiles here!
The Black Corridor revisited two and a half years later.
One of the best things about travelling and climbing is meeting the locals, as they are the ones to give you the down low on the best climbs, crags (climbing area) and rad food spots. We met one such local, by the name of June- a rad and friendly local crusher (someone who climbs hard). She gave us an extensive list of sweet climbing spots and it is through her that we discovered a climbing area known as Stone Wall and Sweet Pain. I had heard of Stone Wall the last time I had ventured out to Red Rock, but the last time I tried to find it, I wasn’t able to- all with good reason. The approach to Stone Wall is hidden and composed of a 5.5 scramble up boulders. If you didn’t know where you were looking, you wouldn’t know it was there. Part of our second day was spent wandering, scrambling and looking for this crag. It was difficult to find initially, but well worth the search. Our third day before the scheduled rest day will be spent at a completely new area, to both Ali and myself. My goals this trip is to push the grades and not let the mental aspects of climbing hinder me from attaining what can be physically possible for me- a never ending goal that eludes me. With two days of climbing down and four left to go in Red Rocks, the skies still the limit, let’s see what can be achieved.
Psssttt! Where did you say Stone Wall was!?