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willstrickland

[TR] Red Rocks - Levitation 29 2/26/2008

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Trip: Red Rocks - Levitation 29

 

Date: 2/26/2008

 

Trip Report:

No pics, so this will be short.

 

This one had been on the list for a long time. I thought it lived up to the hype with great climbing on good to excellent rock in a nice setting. The routes gets sun basically all day, so plan accordingly. Although I'm in in poor sport climbing shape (not much enduro stuff here in JTree), it went pretty well. My partner Chris led the crux pitches and took no falls. I fell once on the crux pitch.

 

After warming up for a day including the stellar Out of Control (maybe my favorite RR pitch to date), we figured why not try it and called in for a late exit ( the closure was still at 5pm during Feb). Turns out we didn't need it. Left the car at 8:20 and was at the base at 10:00. Approach is reasonably easy to follow, lots of cairns eventually put you on a long ramp system that leads all the way up to the wall from the left. The "eagle" mark on the wall used for reference is not super-obvious, but the crux pitch of Lev29 is, and appears as an angling splitter high on the wall.

 

First pitch is high quality with varied climbing including some funky drop knee stemming on chocolate varnish. Getting to the first bolt was a little eye opening for breakfast. Mixed gear/bolts. P2 was one of the two .11 pitches with a gym-climbing like crux complete with a fun move matching a heel hook to a hand while pulling a small roof to a bomber fingerlock. Closely spaced bolts protect the crux here. P3 follows a long 5.8 crack system with a few bolts and was a lot of fun. P4 starts on a .10b face on varnished edges over a small roof for 4 bolts or so, then continues up an easier crack system with gear interspersed with more bolts.

 

P5, the business, .11c. This pitch is sport bolted with something like 14 bolts in about 100ft. You are following a crack system, but it's more like face climbing than anything. After about 35ft or so you enter a shallow diherdral that forces you out onto the left face for some pulling on patina edges (crux). Milk the rests before and after this section, the moves aren't hard but do become pumpy and endurance is the real crux here. I didn't take advantage of the rest before the crux sequence and fell at the end of it, hung for 30sec and finished the pitch still way pumped.

 

p6 is more bolted face on patina edges. I was still so gassed from the previous pitch that ratings felt meaningless. Various guides call it between 10b and 10d. After 6, the rock quality deteriorates quite a bit and you go from mostly great varnish to sandy white rock with some slabby moves, 10d. I would recommend skipping these last pitches and rapping from the top of p6.

 

Other notes: We did this a few days after a rain and there were only two bits of chalk on the whole thing. It made for a nice change where you weren't just playing "connect the dots" like on many super-classics.

 

Gear list calls for stuff to 3 camalot, and although I did place the 3 once, I wouldn't take it again as there are plenty of other options within a foot of anywhere you might use it.

 

We spent a little under 5hrs climbing and rapping, and were about 8hr car to car including about half an hour eating and laying around after rapping and were pretty leisurely on the approach and return.

 

This is probably the best long route I've done in Red Rocks. Highly recommended.

 

Gear Notes:

Single set of cams to #2 camalot, wires, lots of draws (15), plus a couple of shoulder length. Single 70m rope allows you to rap from top of p7, but knot the ends when rapping the 4th pitch as you will barely make it on a 70m.

 

Approach Notes:

Guide says 2hrs, we took 1h40m both on the approach and the return.

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Interesting how one's experience differs from another's. P7 was my fave, possibly the recent rains before your ascent made it more gritty. The last two slightly grovelly pitches were totally worth it for the stellar walkoff, which was brush free and included views into the wilderness behind the canyon.

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After warming up for a day including the stellar Out of Control (maybe my favorite RR pitch to date)

 

Hey Will,

Have you climbed Running Man?

My favorite RR pitch.

 

Where is Out of Control?

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Good work on the route. Funny thing, when I did it some years ago the crux pitch had like two bolts to it, and you would definitely need a #3! The entire route is classic four star.

 

btw - Running Man is so awesome!

 

:yoda:

 

 

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Where is Out of Control?

 

It's across from Dark Shadows to the west of the brass wall. American Ninja is another really cool climb over there.

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Hey Pax,

 

I have been up Running Man, following, and still fell twice. So I wouldn't really say I "climbed" it, more like dogged up it. Was doing ok and then just ran out of gas at about the 3/4 mark. Fantastic pitch,and my partner Chris's favorite there. Reminds me how poor my pitch length endurance is. Can't be a move on it harder than .10+, but it doesn't really let up. Did it last year year, didn't get back to it this year.

 

Out of Control is just a beautiful thin hands to off fingers splitter for most of the pitch to a short bit of wide/flare and a cool roof. Even though it's not on the primo varnished rock, the climbing is incredible. A little Indian Creek at RR.

 

Probably a good point Drederek, everything seemed a bit sandy after the rain. But, I've also heard similar sentiment from others (about rapping after the .10 pitch that's above the crux pitch). Seems like the walk off would take quite a long time (does it take you back to the base?), we were stoked to be rapping instead of walking.

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Seems like the walk off would take quite a long time (does it take you back to the base?), we were stoked to be rapping instead of walking.

Sounds like a great trip!

 

My two cents is that the upper pitches and walkoff are both enjoyable and highly worthwhile, although I can see skipping them if you are in a hurry.

 

Logistically, walking off doesn't take much more time than rapping (~3 hours for the walkoff vs. ~1 hour to rap the route + 1.5-2 hours to hike out after rapping). The walkoff takes you to the base of the ramp although not the base of the climb. Of course, if you bring all your non climbing stuff with you on the route (which consists of only your approach shoes if you travel light) there is really no need to return to the base. I was able to fill my water bottle on the way down each time I have done the walkoff (March, April, & May in different years).

 

 

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