Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A weekend in Red Rocks

Andy Hansen nearing the top of "Suffering Cats"
Last weekend Zak and Beth came up to Las Vegas from Flagstaff to see the new place and to spend some time climbing in Red Rock Canyon.  Their visit created a great opportunity for our house to gather together and climb at the same crag for a day.  So on Saturday we all hiked the beautiful trail through Calico Basin into a crag called "Sunny and Steep".  As one would expect, the climbing here is in the sun for most of the day and the climbing terrain is steep and pumpy.  The crag sits on top of a very large flat sandstone ledge that provides ample space to sit back and rest while you watch others climb all around.  I started my day on a just-for-fun 5.8 called "Sport Chimney" and finished the day working 12a's until I was too exhausted to even hang onto my hat! (It blew away in the wind.)  The whole day was a blast and provided me with what seemed like endless great climbing, great views and great company.  But with all these lovely distractions I managed to forget one important thing... shooting some photos! Luckily my companion Andy Hansen was there to pick up the camera and get some climbing shots from the day. 
Andy Hansen shot this photo of me on "Gimmie Back My Bullets" 
So the next day brought yet another beautiful climbing day with friends in the Red Rocks.  We left the house and decided to check out a few different crags in the Second Pullout of the 13 Mile Loop.  We came to the conclusion that we'd warm up on a few routes at the "Sweet Pain Wall" and then move onto "Kitty Crag" and perhaps "The Sandbox".  All the climbing areas we had in mind were within a 10 minute hike of each other and each had something new to offer.   Sweet Pain is (mostly) shady crag with many good lines. Most of the routes range in difficulty between 5.10-5.12- but there are a few exceptions.  So after everyone warmed up on two routes the decision was made to wander over and check out  what "Kitty Crag" had to offer. 
Bethany Julka gives "Suffering Cats" a burn in the warm Fall sun. 
We knew we were at the right crag when we spotted the prominent finger crack/flake going 30 feet the left side of the wall.  It was then I knew that this line would not only be a really fun line to climb, but it would also be great to photograph.  So without much delay I started unpacking and I got harnessed up to climb the route just to the right of the aesthetic finger crack/flake that I wanted to shoot.  After getting to the anchors I hauled up my camera and rappelled into position to shoot.  The sun was hot and bright but still provided pretty pleasant light on the climber and wall.  It was a fun challenge to try and compose a shot by anticipating the climbers moves on a route I'd never seen before.  Overall the shots all turned out really cool, and I really glad we decided to check a crag I hadn't been to before.
Andy Hansen above the crux.
But considering I live here in the desert this could just be another standard weekend of climbing and photographing for me.  Although I've been here almost a month I've spent most of my time climbing rather than photographing.  So in the months to come I hope to spend a significantly more time shooting climbing in this beautiful place. I think some long multipitch photography sessions are in order...


Ian Reineking said...

Hey Matt,
Sounds like you are having a good time in Vegas. Its good to read of your eperiences and adventures. Its kinda funny when I read your blog its like you are narrating in my head. Does that mean I am crazy hearing voices or is it that your writing shows your personality and voice? Either way keep posting man and keep climbing. I am planning a trip out to vegas sometime in the next six months or so. I will keep you posted on that. The gym is strange with you and Andy gone. I work with a bunch of noobs all the time. We all miss you two around here. Ill talk to you soon brotha!

Matt Kuehl said...

Hey Ian, Glad you're reading the blog and that it "speaks" to you haha. It does mean you're crazy but perhaps thats just what my blog does to people. The climbing has been great here and Andy and I have been spending most days rotating between multipitch, trad, and sport climbing. You should definitely come visit us here, right now it still feels like mid wisconsin summer temps. Do your best to keep the gym old school/rad and lets catch up more one of these days. Later man!