Vegas Baby!

Justin and Ken woke up as we crested the final hill on Great Basin highway and coasted down towards the city. An ocean of gleaming lights spread out across the lowlands for miles in every direction, and at its heart, an unmistakable shimmering neon core – the Las Vegas Strip.

Las Vegas Sign Keychains 2011 Summer Vac by stevendepolo, on Flickr
image by  stevendepolo 

When I told people I was planning to spend 10 days in Las Vegas they would knit their brows and look at me with a mixture of confusion and distaste.  “Really?” they said, “Why?”  I guess the idea of me in a suit, martini in one hand, dice in the other, against a backdrop of glamour and sin doesn’t click for most people.  As it happens, it doesn’t click for me either.  10 days in Las Vegas and I didn’t gamble, never saw a cocktail, avoided the strip, missed all the shows, and failed to stay up past 10pm.  I slept in the dirt.

Just before we hit the city, we took an abrupt right.  Most cities have soft edges, becoming less and less dense, more and more spread out, until eventually they fade away into the rural areas that surround them.  Not Las Vegas.  It has edges so sharp it looks like a maniacal urban planner cut the heart out of some other city and dumped it in the middle of the desert.  We skirted the city’s edge, riding the dividing line between civilization and wasteland all the way to the west side where we turned right again, putting the lights of Las Vegas in the rearview mirror.  By the time we pulled over, the lights had disappeared around a bend in the road and the only evidence that Las Vegas, the world capital of whatever it is Las Vegas is the world capital of, was just over the hill was a single pillar of light from the tip of that casino that looks like a pyramid.

The campground was black, but you could make out the cliff walls where their edges blocked out the stars.  We had arrived.  We were just outside Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.  We had made it to my Las Vegas.

We quickly fell into a routine.  Wake up just after sunrise, climb until just after sunset, eat, sleep, repeat.  The 3 of us climbed for 8 days straight, making 150 attempts on 40 separate routes at 10 different crags and we barely scratched the surface of what Red Rock has to offer.  Sport test pieces, trad epics, and boulder nightmares are everywhere.  Steep or slabby, long or short, easy or hard.  There’s something for everyone and you owe it to yourself to make it there someday.  These are the pictures from my Las Vegas.


Family Night

Bring the whole family and meet other climbing families! First adult family member pays full price ($16 day pass), additional family members pay just $5.

5-10pm, 3rd Friday of each month

Crushing Tip #8



When someone asks how to up their climbing game, we almost always reply, “climb more, climb harder.” It might sound horribly trite, but it’s true. Here’s the reason we’re quick to suggust more pull time.

Climbing 100 laps on routes at your current redpoint grade is great… for getting good at your current grade. Progressing further requires more. If you want to get stronger you have to try routes that are harder than your current best.

Remember that even as you’re falling off things you’re learning valuable lessons about what does and doesn’t work on harder routes. Sasha D said the change responsible for the explosion in her climbing ability that allowed her to redpoint 14d was trying routes she used to think of as out of her league.


Crushing Tip #7


This month’s Crushing Tip might be the HARDEST one EVER! For climbers, taking a break can be tough. We’re just so ready to push the route, ourselves, and our bodies to the next level. But remember, rest is your friend.

“Once you’ve figured out the moves on a boulder project, it’s easy to get excited and try over and over again without resting,” says Jon Manz. Inadequate rest will pretty much guarantee that you will fall off, kick your chalk bag in frustration and tell me you hate climbing.”

Fix it! Here’s what to do:

Once you’ve transitioned to redpoint burns, try resting 1 full minute for every move you made on your last attempt. Long problems might require as much as 10 minutes, while shorter problems or attempts may only require 2 or 3.

Taking a adequate breaks between burns (as well as climbing sessions) will help your body maximize it’s climbing ability.

Crushing Tip #6

Repeat Ascents

We like to think of our routes as ways to teach good climbing movement. Getting to the top of a route means that you’ve started to learn the lessons of a specific route. “But just like good movies deserve repeat viewings and good restaurants deserve repeat visits, good routes deserve repeat ascents.” Explains Jon Manz.

Trying to climb routes faster, smoother, quieter, or with a different sequence are all great ways to learn something new from a route you’ve already “finished”. Alex Huber once said you haven’t really mastered a route until you can climb it both up and down. He just might be onto something.

What to do? This month find a handful of routes near your climbing level and… CLIMB. Put up a few ascents on each until, “you can climb it both up and down.”

Crushing Tip #5

Last month we talked about how a coach could help you set up a training program. Continuing that train of thought, Jayson Owens has another suggestion: “GET a coach!” He explains, “you can’t dramatically improve on your own. You have to climb with others.”

Basically, it’s important for you to climb with someone stronger and more experienced than you. Your new coach should watch out for and correct any errors you might be making. Having someone help point out climbing mistakes will help you crush more, faster.

What to do? There’s a few choices, you can buddy up with fellow Edgeworks member who are willing to climb with you. Also, if you’re up for it, there’s a more structured option: getting coaching through Rock Sessions or ProRock.

Crushing Tip #4

One of the best ways to improve your climbing is to find a mentor, a coach, who can help you set up your training schedules. Until you’ve got your own, you can take this Climbing Tip from the Edgeworks Team Coach, Jon Manz. “One important aspect of improving is to manage your training cycles,” explains Jon, “don’t focus on strength every time you train. Vary your work out.” Essentially, we have to establish training days to build important and specific climbing skills and muscles.

You should build a training pattern where you incorporate strength, power-endurance, endurance, and rest days into your weekly schedule. Try this out:

  • On day 1, focus on strength; hit up the bouldering wall and weights. You’re looking to increase your strength.
  • Day 2 is a power-endurance day. You’re going to head over to roped routes and climb at a consistently hard level (but not your hardest), while increasing your volume of climbing.
  • On Day 3, it’s all about endurance. Here’s where you focus on the traverse. Stay on the wall as long as you can.
  • Follow this cycle with a good rest day and repeat.

Crushing Tip #3

Are you serious about improving your climbing? Andy Davis has some advice: “Open up your hands and your mind will follow.”Frequently climbers get into the (bad) habit of over using their muscles. One example is bending your knuckles and crimping down on holds. Avoid doing this by “Open handing everything.” Andy explains that, “by bending your knuckles you’re engaging unnecessary muscle groups and increasing your chance of injury.”

Here’s what to do: While traversing, pay attention to your fingers and how much you’re bending your knuckles. The idea is to climb on your fingertips while keeping your knuckles flatter.


Open Handed – Good


Keep your hand open and knuckles flat. This will build up your slopper strength and increase your ability to climb hard.

Crimped Fingers – Bad


Having your knuckles bent requires extra energy and increases the likelihood of injury.