John and I were back at the car eating after 10 hours on the move. It was sunny and warm and we had our shirts off, grateful to absorb the warmth. I looked at John and said “you know, warm wasn’t a theme of today.”
“That would be a great name for a blog post.”
“That is very true.”
We’re in Las Vegas, it’s sunny, and by looking at the weather forecast you would think warm, but not in the precise location that we had elected to rock climb today. The route was called Inti Wantana- something about the hitching post of the sun- but we must have missed the hitching part. John flew down from Portland yesterday to enjoy some warm sunny rock climbing because he and I didn’t get to do any while we were at Smith together about a month ago. The guidebook says the 5.10c crux is on pitch 2, but John and I agree that the crux is really nailing the supposedly 1.5 hour approach. We left the trailhead at 6:40, and although we were excited to find the route 3.5 hours later, it was at the back of a big dark corner in the bowels of Mt. Wilson. We were cold leaving the ground. I was cold leading the crux. We remember being approximately warm once at some point on pitch 4.
The sun dropped behind Mt. Wilson by the time I finished leading pitch 6, and our willingness to continue climbing 5.9 face holds for another 6 pitches dropped with it.
We had bagged the crux, had some fun getting used to the particularities of Red Rock stone and gear placements, and knew we still had some gnarly downclimbing to finish before we got back to the car.
Strangely, bailing off the route didn’t feel so bad to me. I got to lead the crux, got some good mileage placing gear, figuring out Red Rocks routes, approaches, and descriptions, and getting used to multi-pitching with a really solid partner. It was a great day out in every way, except we weren’t warm and I think John and I thought we were supposed to be. Maybe tomorrow…
By the end of the day we were still worked, and had moved for a long time when we got back to the car close to 5pm, and that’s what counts.