Man.  What a trip.  My last trip to Red Rock was maybe 2 or 3 years ago and I was like…eh…. but man.  I’m so glad I attended the Red Rock Rendezvous with team Trango this past weekend.  I had so much fun!!

The highlight of my trip was doing my first “big” route – Cloud Tower 11+.  I had previous climbed a 3 pitch route with my bro Adam Sanders last time I was in Colorado – “Outer Space” in Eldorado Canyon.  Just like that time, doing “Cloud Tower” I was given the “client” treatment by Adam as well as teammate “Chris Barlow”.

Chris Barlow on the Crux Pitch of Cloud Tower

I was given point on the first two pitches – both 5.8 which I linked.  I was really happy with myself being a predominant sport climber that I was able to link these two pitches climbing them both efficiently and quickly!  I was sparse, but safe on the pro, and managed to get the right size pretty much right off the sling every time!  The climbing on these first two pitches were excellent and what I was told “typical” for a Red Rock long route.  Lots of jams up this 2-3″ dihedral with a plethora of face holds, though both cruxes of the route (at least what I thought were the 5.8 cruxes) involved foot jamming.

After belaying both up, Adam got point on the third pitch.  The first half of this pitch consisted of gauley scrambling which leads to a magnificent 5.10- pitch of 1-2″ crack climbing and a leftward AWESOME traverse to a bolted belay anchor.

The crux pitch then follows:  A techy, thin (but adequate to protect) tips crack up a beautiful dihedral.  The crux pitch involves two separate cruxes, a balancy, techy “GO FOR THE GOOD HOLD” move over some decent pro and a bolt, then a really really thin tips section with delicate smears and thin locks….once again, good protection: lots of small cams and nuts.

Chris Barlow on the Crux Pitch of Cloud Tower

I was quite happy to flash the crux pitch on top-rope and was super stoked to watch Adam onsight the pitch, then also shoot images of Chris red-pointing the pitch (he had previously sent this pitch on another trip.)

I was on point again and I feel like I was given the most elegant pitch, the 5th pitch a 2-4″ 5.10 crack which climbs out a small roof about 20 feet off the belay.  The crux involves a smooth, no-face-hold section of 4″ crack involving both lay-backs and putting both feet in the crack!

The 6th pitch is basically a 40 foot – NO PRO pitch that involves climbing a wide crack, through a chimney to the belay for the final pitch.  I won’t say much about this pitch, but leave it to the excitment of the reader when they climb this one…its easy trust me…but a #4 big bro would go a long way 😉

The 7th pitch (11c) is really an after-thought pitch.  From the belay of the 6th pitch, you can just rap off..but, you step through this cave and what do you see??? A freaking INDIAN CREEK SPLITTER CRACK!!!!  It was awesome.  Unfortunately, I did not send this pitch and had to lower off, though I have all kinds of excuses, the main one being that the sun was just brutal.  If you reallly run up the route, you can get to this pitch while its in the shade (the whole rest of the route IS in the shade), but taking photos and with a party of 3, by the time we got to this pitch, it was full on sun and I just got baked.  Both Adam and Chris crushed it though.

And that’s it??? RIGHT???? WRONNNG>>>>> Stay tuned for my next blog post title “Oh Grasshopper Why Wouldn’t You Just Come Down” or “Cocoa, You Always Pulled for Me, but Why Could n’t Grasshopper Just Give Me the Tug?”  FYI Grasshopper and Cocoa were the names of the two ropes we used.  See the last picture…

Chris Barlow on the Final Pitch (11c) of Cloud Tower

Chris Barlow on the Final Pitch (11c) of Cloud Tower

The next day…why Grasshopper wouldn’t pull.