Las Vegas Isn't a Gamble for Climbers
The Las Vegas area, famous for its glitz and gambling, also offers some of the greatest rock climbing in the world. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, covering nearly 200,000 acres only a few miles west of town, has a couple of thousand climbing routes, mostly on sandstone. You can spend anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days on a route. There’s plenty of bouldering too.
Bolting is legal in some areas and illegal in others, so get to know the area before you start out. The federal Bureau of Land Management has its own guidebook to the area, but there are others on the market.
Remember where sandstone gets its name. Even the best of it can get crumbly, especially when it’s wet.
Boulderers also should take to heart the name of Boulder City to the southeast of Las Vegas. That’s the nearest town to Keyhole Canyon, where the annual Keyhole Classic Bouldering Competition is held in the fall.
Then there’s Arrow Canyon, a limestone slot canyon about an hour north of Las Vegas near the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. In addition to a range of grades from 5.8 to 5.12, it also features a couple of caves.
You don’t even have to leave town to find sport climbing. In Lone Mountain Park there’s a spot called Urban Crag. It’s limestone too, and recommended by the Bureau of Land Management as an alternative when the sandstone at Red Rock is wet.
Here are a few things to remember if you go:
* Even in the relatively gentle spring and fall, this is still the Mojave Desert. Take plenty of water with you. Also remember that Sandstone gets weak when it gets wet, so don’t climb for the first day or two after a rainstorm. The bigger the storm, the longer you should wait.
* There’s a lot of Native American rock art in the area. Don’t climb within 100 feet of it.
* It’s a popular place, so the routes nearest the access roads are likely to get crowded on a nice day.
* Last but not least: when you’re done climbing, you don’t have to travel far for food and entertainment!
Labels: climbing, hot spots, Las Vegas