Editor’s note: Jonathan will be instructing at the Red Rock Rendezvous this year!
My first ever climbing trip to Vegas was during the Winter of 2010/2011. I came out for what I planned to be a couple week stay, but was lured into several month stay by the plethora of amazing climbing, fun city vibe, and the relentless sunshine.
During my first few weeks in Vegas I wanted to sample it all; the sport climbing, the bouldering potential, and the towering multi-pitch walls. I asked around to my friends about what was a token classic Red Rocks long route. Answers ranged from Levitation 29, Epinephrine, Rainbow Wall, and of course ‘Prince of Darkness, among others. The ‘Prince‘ seemed like the best suited option for us – especially considering that we were coming off a pretty serious weekend on the strip and still certainly fighting a multi-day hangover. Black Velvet was a relatively short approach, and this route is well known for its ease in route-finding and clip-up nature. Sounded perfect.
The day of we packed up and I hastefully snapped an iPhone photo of the topo as we meandered out the door–well past the 7a.m. launch time that we had conceived a day earlier. Looking at the guidebook I assumed that we would easily make up time on the route, and anyways, these winter days are only getting longer (read: hardly).
Legs exhausted from hours of dancing, we approached at a grannies pace. Negotiating some unnecessary bushwhacking, we did eventually make it. I was not surprised to see parties climbing up high on our target route as we approached, but I must say that I was at least a little surprised to see parties lined up at the base, as though we were taking numbers for Rebel Without a Pause over in the Black Corridor.