I really love Vegas. Not the flashing lights, not the flowing booze, not the glamour and money. Not the slow desiccation of the Colorado river, the traffic near the strip, the hustle and bustle, or the slot machines in the corner shops.
I love the stillness when you drive only 20 minutes west of town. I love the soft texture of stunning red sandstone. I love the elements of the desert: beating sun transitioning to harsh, gale-force wind over the course of a day. Dry heat. Blue skies. Stoked people. Striped rock. Spotted rock. Boulders, sport routes, long trad lines. Stellar limestone if you reach a little further. Adventure waiting just beyond the city.
I flew to Las Vegas with my good friend Cynthia for seven days of climbing in Red Rocks at the end of January. This was an incredible experience for me. My previous visit to Red Rocks was three years ago, and Cynthia hadn’t climbed there for 14 years. Climbing has changed a lot since those trips for both of us, so returning felt fresh and exciting.
This was also my very first girls trip.
I love climbing with women. Laughter, try hard, support, sun-bathing. Days out with my girlfriends are often the most fun and the most memorable. Being able to fully support each other, coupled with that incredible, uplifting feeling of being supported. Cynthia is one of the most supportive women I know, so boarding a plane with her and taking off for a week-long climbing adventure was a no-brainer.
While we were down there, we had the opportunity to climb with so many other badass, inspiring ladies. Women were pushing themselves everywhere. It was empowering in a way that is hard to put into words.
Women making art. Women whipping repeatedly due to a deep-seated desire to not give up. Women trying again and again and again. Women cheering. Women connecting. One day at the crag, the ratio was 8:1, women:men. Every single person was pushing their personal limits. I was SO deeply inspired and motivated by these women.
There was something especially meaningful about travelling with Cynthia for this trip. We took full ownership of our experiences. We were responsible for every choice, every piece of our adventure. We depended only on each other.
Of course, I love climbing with all people, women or not. We met/climbed/hung out with loads of wonderful humans during our week there. There were so many moments that reminded me that the climbing community is small, and the climbing community is special. We connected with friends from home (Mika and Tristan) people Graham and I had met throughout our travels (Alan, Shaina, Sarah, Sanni), friends from the internet (Irene), friends of friends (Will, Leici, Bill) and many more beautiful souls.
Red Rocks is such a fun place to vacation. The weather is (usually) reliable, the rock is inviting and forgiving, the people are awesome, the Ubers are inexpensive. We had cold, bone-chilling windy days, and hot, try-to-avoid-getting-nauseous sunny days. It was a perfect spread.
I feel a little bit braver and a little bit bolder now. Psyched to plan the next trip! xoxoxox