Red Rocks passed by like a dream. I was apprehensive about Vegas and the desert at first; lush Pacific Northwest landscapes feel like home and the idea of the desert sometimes pales in comparison for me against familiar greens and blues, against our flora and fauna and massive granite boulders.
I could not have been more wrong. Every day in Red Rocks showed me how absolutely rife with color and life the desert can be. Oranges, blues, reds, purples and greens at every glance. Cacti, desert hares, lizards and birds of prey. Massive sandstone highballs and holds that looked too perfect to be natural. I was in heaven.
Our first few days in Red Rocks were filled with new rock, new sends and great people we had run into on prior trips. It’s always funny and exciting to see friends that we’ve met in Joe’s Valley, Bishop the northwest or elsewhere. Even without the familiar faces, it was so fun to walk up to new boulders, talk to people trying them and all try to support each other and climb something challenging for us. I love how climbing allows for this incredible built in community, support and kindness wherever you travel.
However, after those first blissful days, we both got horribly sick and our climbing and vacation mentality suffered a bit. Unfortunately that sickness only intensified the entire trip. Even so, we took lots of rest days, tried to take care of ourselves and continued climbing in good spirits. I think my greatest success of the trip was simply showing up to the crag every day with a sore throat, throbbing headache and stuffy nose and still trying hard and supporting friends on new climbs.
Some of the favorites we did in Kraft were Pork Chop (V3,) Bitch Slap 5 (v9,) Scare Tactics & Scare Tactics Right (V8) and Vino Rojo (V6.) BUT, the absolute coolest part of the trip was the last few hours of our very last day. We ventured out of Kraft into Pine Creek Canyon and it was the most beautiful scenery I’d seen in such a long time. We both felt absolutely rejuvenated driving down the Scenic Loop and stopped multiple time to take photos. The hike to the boulder field was no different. By the time we made it to our goal, Jabberwocky V9, we were already plenty psyched. We found an incredible V5 to warm up on around sunset and used headlamps to session into the evening. Stefan and Marc sent quickly and Ashley and I had done all of the moves and were psyched to try it from the bottom. Then we realized the park gates closed about an hour ago and we were facing a 150$ fine if we didn’t make it out in time. I hated to leave the climb on our last day but…no thank you to that fine! We booked it out there, were relieved to find open gates and dashed on over to Frijoles Burritos to celebrate. It was a great way to end the trip with some amazing partners (plus Shark Bait and his “A-Wooooo!”s.)
After trips like these, I feel mentally and physically rejuvenated and ready to work hard in my personal life and climbing. After Stefan and I reflected on how we climbed and what we need to work on, I think my biggest adjustments would be technique and attitude. I give myself a little pass because of the flu, but I still feel horribly self conscious if I don’t immediately find success on climbs that I think I should do. It’s not uncommon for me to do all of the moves on a climb in an hour or less, but still not send. I think my technique on send burns falls apart, which could be attributed to forgetting about the climbing and only focusing on the idea of succeeding. Welp, that’s not cool. To counter this I am going to introduce some sport climbing with Stefan and my coach to hopefully work on some fitness, mental techniques to keep it together and lessen the anxiety on longer climbs. My #1 project this spring is a power endurance rig so I’m thankful this trip and a supportive partner helped me understand what I need to do better to work towards that goal.
On top of that, we made a burly training schedule for the power phase. Doing a trip in the middle of a training cycle might sound silly, but it did it’s job of being fun, a break on the body as well as showing us exactly what we need to work on for the spring season. Amidst some sport climbing action we are doing tons of campusing, hangboarding, limit bouldering, yoga, core workouts and fitness drills. Psyche is so high to get closer and closer to spring!
I’ll be doing a post soon on training specifics, fitness drills and everything in between. Hope everyone is staying psyched this winter and getting ready for a (hopefully) dry spring! ❤