Southwest Roadtrip (Part III): Red Rocks and Vegas
Red Rock Canyon was on the way between Zion and Joshua Tree so we were keen on getting in some climbing there. Also, Adam’s cousin offered to meet us in Vegas so we decided that would make a good base for climbing as well as celebrating the new year.
Valley of Fire State Park
On our way into Nevada, we stopped at Valley of Fire State Park which was just an hour outside of Vegas. We did a short 1.5 mile hike called Fire Wave. It was listed as the best hike in the park and known for its white, pink and red zebra striped sandstone. While it was a pretty hike, it was nothing spectacular compared to what we had already experienced on the trip. It did make for a nice stop to stretch our legs and get in a little exercise on the drive though.
Red Rock Canyon
The canyons and cliffs of Red Rock are renowned for some of the longest and best sandstone climbs in the country. We had planned for a full day of multipitch climbing on a classic Red Rock route, but unfortunately a series of events led us to not having the right guide to climb with.
At the last minute, Dan came to the rescue and took us out for a fun day of Red Rock climbing. We started at the Robinhood Wall and climbed Physical Graffiti but as the wall was in the shade, the rock was cold. I could barely feel my fingers or toes and I even wore socks in my climbing shoes! We decided to leave the area and chase the sun to a warmer part of the canyon.
The Hamlet wall was spectacular. It was my first time sport climbing which I loved as it is a lot faster than trad climbing given the routes are bolted. Additionally, the sun shining on the red rocks that afternoon made for some extremely picturesque climbing.
New Years Eve in Las Vegas During COVID
Given COVID, we were nervous to do too much in Las Vegas but staying at the Vdara the strip made for a perfect base for Red Rock climbing. The restaurants were at 25% capacity, so we dined out each evening and enjoyed dinners at Chica, Zuma, Heritage Steaks and breakfasts/lunches at Egg Slut and Din Tai Fung.
We kept NYE pretty chill though. The four of us went to Heritage Steaks at the Mirage for dinner. We then walked back to the hotel which was an interesting experience as The Strip was closed to traffic — There was tons of police cars lined up on the street and just pedestrians walking. It was hard to describe – a pretty cool experience to walk along The Strip with so much space and of course, it was fairly quite for NYE. We spent the rest of the evening having drinks in our hotel room and playing Dr. Mario before ringing in the New Year.