After that whole Bozeman climbing icicles adventures, I met up with a friend in Vegas to rock climb at Red Rocks. I would say our stay was defined by brief sporadic bursts of luxury and then utter hobo shenanigans.
I was domestic for the period of time when we used Swartz's stove. Notice the improvised wind-guard out of my jacket.
|Spotted: me cooking.|
|Swartz cutting the rope, and I'm ready to give it a quick burn.|
|Notice the halo|
Notice the fairie wings making an appearance (this first round of photos are from the time when it was actually still warm during the day). Me on some 5.12 at sunny and steep.
We sport climbed, we trad climbed, we did not boulder. We lived in blissful ignorance that the weather was about to take a turn for the cold and snowy.
Swartz being very patient while belaying me on some overhanging 5.12 thing.
|Still in faerie wings|
I lied. We did go bouldering. We climbed one boulder.One massive boulder.
Trad climbing is sometimes scary and sometimes involves cold, awkward ring-locks.
|The awkward ring-lock climb.|
|Leading my first ever crack climb. Psyched. 5.10--Triassic Sands|
Then the nights started cooling down, and we woke up to this:
Not exactly climbing weather. Oh wait, I forgot that it also rained for a couple days in between. The search was on for alternatives to rock climbing on wet, crumbly, sandstone. I suggested we get married or lose our life savings at a casino. Ted wasn't too psyched about either of these propositions.
|Climbable? Not Climbable? Probably not.|
|At least the views were good.|
We ate copious amounts of mango salsa (buy one get one free: who can pass that up?) and Strawberry Cream Mini-Wheats. We could be sponsored. But actually.
|A Dostoevsky novel, Honey Jack and MiniWheats (the Whiskey belongs to Ted)|
- stealing milk from those thermoses at Starbucks and ruining their profit margins for the day
- using a salsa container for a milk bowl (who doesn't want some spice in their cereal?)
- using a plastic spoon from Baja's for my morning bowl of cereal, because I didn't bring utensils on the trip
- using a plastic bottle of aquafina as my 'water bottle' for the trip's duration
- sleeping on a dog bed for 10 nights....
- washing my hair in the Starbucks sink
- shaving my legs in the bathroom of a Mexican restaurant....that I didn't buy anything at
- stealing wi-fi from Panera and abusing their free tea and coffee refills while coding a program for my ice core project (duration=6 hours; miraculously didn't get kicked out)
- volunteering to cook elaborate pancake breakfasts for the other climbers in the campsite.... if I ate for free.
- making quick friends with other campers so as not to pay for my own campsite-----chipping in by acquiring expensive bundles of firewood.
|Caught in the act|
We ended up spelunking in a random cave outside Las Vegas during one of our off-days.
Rappelling down a 160 foot shaft of darkness.
|Good bye sunny world.|
Tunnels lead to large caverns full of stalagmites, stalactites and limestone formations. Then more tunnels leading to more caverns and so on...
There's no one "way" to navigate the network of tunnels. You just poke around until you see a slot big enough you think you can fit your body through. Then you try the squeeze tunnel on for size; sort of like trying on skinny jeans at the store: it's not pretty, but you can usually pull them on or pull through in this case.
|Making Ted nervous with my underground bouldering antics. I call this a C2 for a "Cave 2" grade.|
It felt like we were part of Planet Earth's "Cave" episode.
Helmets were essential to prevent nasty head injuries.
So we got about 400ft underground in 4 hrs before deciding we should start following our orange spool of yarn back up to the surface.
|Wondering how far below the surface we are.|
|Ted ascending up to the surface.|