After gearing up to climb rocks rather than ice we went to the First and Second Pullout crag areas of the Red Rocks Canyon. This area is mainly equipped with bolts although some routes are traditional or mixed climbing.

Red Rocks

The fascinating desert sand stone of Red Rocks canyon. The cliffs at this picture are part of the First and Second Pullout crag areas.

We were kind of late due to all the shopping, so we just went to the small crag Dog Wall close to the parking lot. I wanted to start out easy as this was my first climb on sandstone -- and my first rock climb graded after the American 5.xx scale. I looked in the guide book and at the rock and decided to climb Cat Walk (5.10a). It was a vertical face climb, which is what I am best at, and according to the grade conversion scale my calculations were with a French grade 5a, which is well within my limits.

Elvira in front of some of the spectacular looking sandstone, which had a great feel to it when climbing.

When I got to the anchor I felt terrible - it was much harder than anticipated! Man, I must be in bad shape, was my first thought. However, I wouldn't believe it and thus immediately jumped on the neighboring route It's a Bitch (5.10b), which was even harder as indicated by the grade. I hadn't climbed rock, but only ice, for the last couple of months, and was almost depressed that I could only just get to the anchor of a French grade 5 climb.....

The Panty Wall - one of the best sports climbing areas that we tried. A climber is seen above the tree.

...until I realized that I had been converting the american grades to the UK rather than the French grades! Thus the routes I had just onsighted were French 6a+ and 6b, respectively. I immediately felt a lot better :-)

A look back at a route on the Panty Wall. The great holds on the varnished black rock are clearly visible.

We spent the next days at the Magic Bus and Panty Wall crags, which both sported excellent climbs. We were extremely lucky with the weather and it almost felt absurd to climb in T-shirts and shorts instead of insulated soft shells as we had planned. It felt very nice though :-)

Hans leading a route on the Panty Wall. The higher mountains containing the long multi pitch routes are seen in the background.

The Panty Wall stood out as exceptional with many excellent routes on beautiful red sandstones with a black varnished rock surface providing excellent holds. I lead most of the routes, but Elvira was also warming up and led some of her hardest climbs yet.

Elvira leading "Cover My Buttress" (5.4) - one of the few traditional climbs on the Panty Wall. A great corner with a friends eating crack. A great beginners route!

In particular two routes stood out as excellent for me -- the traditional Panty Raid (5.9+, French 6a) and the bolted Totally Clips (5.11a, French 6c+), which I both onsighted. Maybe I was not in such a bad shape after all.....

Unknown climber leading "Viagra Falls" (5.12a) on the Panty Wall.


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Last update: 14-10-2006

© Hans Bräuner-Osborne