Well iv been back in the land of freedom again
L.A, Yosemite, Bishop, Las Vegas,
The Warrior, Red Rocks
One evening while I was cooking up some burritos in Vantastic, Prairie read a tantalizing route description out to me: This Route climbs the mighty corner system on the northeast arete of cactus flower tower, one of the finest natural lines in the area. It goes up a series of unusually smooth corner/cracks which provides sustained and physical climbing. The nature of the climbing, along with the arduous approach an long decent make for one of the more adventures routes in red rocks, rack 0.5-8 inches = wide!
Next day I find my self sipping on some weird drink with some special seeds in it, apparently they’re good for you, looking up at the said route on mountain project. We couldn’t find much out about the route apart from the rack which made this “adventures” route seem all the more exciting!
On the chosen morning Prairie got her legendry fried eggs and bagels on the go while I packed my bag wondering if we’d need 2 number 4’s?? I had already striped down the rack eeek!!! Then the expected frown as we discussed which power bars to stuff into our pockets these so called treats just remind me of suffering every time a bite is taken. Saving the day jolly ranchers(hard boiled sweets), Prairie takes 1 for every pitch I might have just taken the biggest hand fully I could!
The approach goes quickly until we hit the gullies then following are noses and having to pull some 5,5 moves grabbing trees and pulling our bodies through the undergrowth covered in spiky holly leaves we make it to the base of the big chimney which allows us access to the upper pitches! At this point I’m a little nervous as I can now see how wide this thing is!
Pitch 1 the chimney; holey shit this thing is nasty like getting hold of three litres of white lighting when you were a kid and seeing how much you could down with your mates. You just know the more you down the worse the consequences and this pitch was no exception! At one point I contemplated bailing, to be honest, I was freaking scared: no gear, wedged in by a bad knee bar. I new Prairie would run up this. Not to let pride get in the way or anything. Time to take a bite of toughen up and get on!
Prairie swiftly runs up the pitch grabs the rack and is off again when I reach her. We both look up at a beautiful corner, it’s been gouged out by an ice cream scoop! This pitch is supposed to be the “money” pitch! Well its 10c (E1ish) can’t be that bad can it?? After 12 knee bar moves, turning around 360 degrees twice my shoulders are firmly wedged in the scoop-Ok! Fumbling around with a cam, I get it clipped. The next section takes me 20-30 minutes of hard core swearing and squirming until I finally come across my first solid fist jams, as I look down at my gear sling I see I have no pieces left! Ahh yes sweet revenge as I’ve hosed myself this time by not bringing enough gear, I did the same trick to Prairie the previous day! As the fist jams kept coming I got inventive with my gear. I finally ran up the last hand jam section to the belay with blood and sweat oozing from me like jam from a donut!
looking down the corner
Prairie puffs a little on this pitch as she has tiny girl hands, she is soon contemplating what to do on the next pitch! When she sets off jabbering away to herself I chew down 5/6 jolly ranchers suddenly I hear whooping from up above and what seem like a tree falling down the cliff- I wondered what waas going on? Ooh smelly, sticky, amazing, tricky, no gear come softly to my ears when I reached the same point I find myself standing on a big pile of bird guano the size of a traffic cone. I step around a massive pile of twigs one could only assume to be an eagle’s nest! Luckily they weren’t home!
The last pitch, the CRUX, as I lay back up the corner to where the crack fizzles out I get the topo shouted up to me “ move from the crack and go to a bolt on the face” oh right the bolt 20feet up there “nice” luck I had a mastercam number 3 with only two lobes in the crack as my last piece! I decide to venture out onto the face of pancakes which looked like a ticking time bomb, a scene out of Indiana Jones picking the right stepping stones as I’m 3 feet away from the bolt I rush a little as I’m totally bricking it on a big run out with shit gear and my foot hold has just snapped! Not good! Prairie asks me a question which I just ignore and ask her politely to well ….shut up! I find another foot and get the thing clipped with relief, a little apology gets sent down to the belay! The next 30 feet are more of the same but better bolted followed by the hero move as I reach over the lip of this big roof cut my feet loose an swing out to see are bags 1000 feet below, this was totally worth the adventure!