Red Rocks is an amazing area in which to climb. With thousands of established and well maintained climbing routes, there are plenty of places to go, plenty of routes to absorb the climbers that flock to this area in droves, and plenty of places to play. There you can hone your skills, relax in some lofty perches with inspiring views and foster that love of getting on rock.
With a little research ahead of time, it is not difficult to find climbing crags in the Red Rocks area that can meet the variety of ability levels in your group AND keep you in the shade or in the sun. On hot days, shade helps to keep the rock “sticky.” On cold days you are wearing puffies, and the sun helps to keep fingers with feeling in them. The desert is strange that way… it can be very cold in the mornings and evenings and very hot at mid day and in the afternoon. It’s a place of extremes.
The Red Rocks sandstone formation is really unique to climb. Its crags are often incredibly airy places, perched high above the desert floor up steep gullies with the most amazing views of the landscape.
Where the black varnishing happens on the wall , there are flakes to catch and pull on with your fingernails and finger tips and to wedge your toes against for purchase.
Where the rock has eroded through the washing and sandpapering of erosive flash floods, often at the base of routes, but also high up cliff faces, the routes help you practice your slab techniques. On slab, you’ll work on your balance, your trust issues… and remove fingerprint ridges from your finger tips, leaving them smooth as a baby’s bottom!
Where the huecos develop, there can be fun overhung bits, great places to do knee bar rests, and fun underclings to use.
Perhaps the most fun feature that develops on the Red Rock rocks is the crack. Cracks can be very wide and make stemming up a “chimney” super fun. Cracks are awesome for the trad climber’s placement of gear, and for using fingers and fists to climb the otherwise impossible flat & smooth cliff faces. Cracks can also be fun, when they run diagonally, to pull back on or walk up on, on a route.
The Red Rocks area was incredibly fun, fascinating, challenging and inspiring to explore… whether it be on two wheels, two feet or on a rope. I loved our time there, hanging with some fun, kind, inspiring people, pushing my outdoor climbing level with so much learning, and experiencing a place like no other.
I’ve come away with great respect for the rock and for the geological processes that sculpted and created it with such beautiful artistry. And I’ve come away with smooth fingertips….my phone will never recognize me again…. and a wonderful pattern of little bruises all over…. but I seriously loved it there.
Many thanks to our wonderful group of climbing friends for nurturing along the weakest link and showing her a great time! And those of you that couldn’t make it this trip, know that you were missed!
In the following posts, I’ll show you some of the beauty of these crag sites, and the fun stuff we had to climb.
Not all of these photos in my Red Rocks climbing posts are mine. Some of the credit goes to Chris Schell, an amazing rope runner and inspirational, very experienced trad climber … and to Greg Funk, a most determined climber who can power up walls like nobody’s business with skill and an impressive amount of sheer force of will and determination! It was an honour to climb with, and be inspired by you both! Thanks for letting me share your pics!