Monday, January 10, 2011

Red Rocks Rampage

Whether because of the new guidebook, the crowds and restrictions in Hueco Tanks, or just word of mouth about development potential a swarm of strong climbers have flocked to Las Vegas this season to take down new classics in the side canyons and washes known until recently as only sport climbing or trad destinations.

It was roughly a year ago that most of these new classics such as Americana Exotica and Book of Nightmares were developed, as well as numerous other moderates. it seemed to be the silver age of development in Las Vegas thanks to big time contributors like Pete Lowe, Craig Berman, and Andrew Spencer. I was lucky enough to ride the tail end of this development boom, just months before Tom Moulin's guide was published.

This season strong climbers are racing to repeat new and old classics and scout new ones. Natasha Barnes recently claimed the FFA of Americana Exotica, while Matt Wilder managed a flash of the problem. Long standing Pete Lowe FA's such as Book of Nightmares and Lion's Share are now seeing more ascents as well. Ethan Pringle added a proposed V12 sit start to the existing Lion's Share dubbing it Hungry Hungry Hippos.

With all the strength in Las Vegas right now it will be interesting to see if Andrew Spencer's line Scare Tactics, located just on the other side of the boulder from the classic Bubble Butt will see a second ascent.

Despite the new guidebook and development boom the potential for development in Red Rocks and the surrounding Calico Basin is immense. I used to leave my house with the goal of finding at least one new boulder every session. It is great that there are now more eyes looking for hidden sandstone gems in the desert. That was the aim in the first place.


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