Friday, February 22, 2013

ACFAS Conference and Red Rock, Las Vegas

Being the president of our school's student chapter of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgery got me a ticket to the annual scientific conference that the national organization holds every year. This year it was held at the Mandalay Bay Conference Center in Las Vegas, NV. The conference went from Monday to Thursday with the following Monday being President's Day.  So naturally it makes sense to stay the additional Friday to Monday and climb in Red Rock...naturally.

The conference festivities consisted of lectures, an exhibitor hall, various leadership meetings and tons of food. The lectures were on various surgical topics starting at 7:30am and continuing on until  6pm or later. Evenings were spent at various dinners and mixers, doing the whole networking thing.

Top of the Stratosphere.
Limo ride. 
View from the 64th floor.
Red Rock Canyon

While down there I was able to hook up with some family and friends and do some climbing in Red Rock, just outside of Las Vegas. That place has a lifetime of climbing available.

Derek(L) and Mondo(R) climbing on the "Ultraman Wall". I believe that this was their first outdoor climbing experience and I doubt that it will be their last. We did two long crimpy slabber routs. They were amazed that the climbing shoes would stick to such tiny ledges. When I asked Derek earlier if he had any climbing shoes his reply was, "Do you really need them?" Both of them  made it to the top! Mondo even logged it with the Contour.

I met up with power couple Spencer and Annie Weiler who drove down from Salt Lake City to climb for two days over the President's day long weekend. They do it every year.

Spence did all of the planning and our first objective was a 5 pitch route call "Adventure Punks" that went at 5.10d. Throughout the climb the phase "spicy meatballs" was used to describe various sections including the  poorly protect 5.9 start that Spence lead. He offered me the first lead but the first placement was a bit too high for my comfort level. When he brought out the Elvis leg mid-route I knew I had made the right decision.

Annie leading the 3rd pitch.  

Nothing like a tiny belay ledge.
Start of pitch 2. Always greatful for a Piton. 

Annie and I following Spence up pitch 2. 

Me, doing the chicken arm deep in the wide off width!!!!
Spence and I have been pulling adventures together for ages and we have this nasty habit of biting off a bit more than we can chew. You could maybe say our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. Monday's objective was a 7 pitch route called "Warrior" that went at 5.11a.

The climb is on the shady face of the dark red strip of rock on the front center peak. To get there we had to scramble/shwack up a bunch of 5th class rock. It most definitely took us 2hrs to get to the climb just as Mountainproject had stated. 

One of the many 5th class scrambling/bush swacking sections of the approach. Kind of looks like it should be part of the official climb.

Me climbing up a mossy face to the start of the climb. Moss makes rock slippery. 
When we got to the base of the climb there was a couple from Mammoth there with the lead half way up the 1st pitch, forcing us to hang out in the cold for an extra 45min.

The first pitch was a 5.9 chimney pitch. I decided to take the lead.
During my lead on the first pitch I was able to place the huge #6 cam that we had been hauling around for two days. When Spence and Annie climbed up to me their feet were numb. The group above us from was making some pretty crazy noises trying to get up their pitch. We looked at the next pitch from our tiny belay ledge, and the culmination of cold toes, the difficulty ahead and it being mid afternoon we made a group decision to bail. Note to self. When climbing in the winter, don't do routs in the shade.

We rapped off of all of the junky sections of the approach, but it still took forever. 
Spence and Annie headed back to the inversion of Salt Lake and I spent the next 6hrs sitting on the floor of the Las Vega McCarran Airport studying for my surgical rotation OSCE the next morning at 7:30am. It was great to get on the rock again. It has been to long.