Max and I decided to spend New Years Eve in Bishop. We spent the day climbing at the Happy Boulders–which I haven’t been to in years! I came really close to sendingThe Hulk (reachyyyy V6) with some weird beta and Acid Wash Right (V9)…but I didn’t.Max sent Kill On Sight (V11), Acid Wash (V10), Toxic Avenger (V9/10), and The Hulk(V6). He also sent two climbs that are on Urban Climber’s top 100 list, Atari (V6) which is #71 and Heavenly Path (V1) which is #16. His goal is to do all the climbs on the list. He has done 45 so far.
Red Rocks and Las Vegas - Natasha Barnes
We drove out to Mammoth to the natural hot springs for the countdown to midnight with our friends Randy, Sarah, Sander and Caitlin. It was 15 degrees outside when we got into the hot spring but it was nice and hot! We spent the evening soaking and watching shooting stars.
The next morning we made the 5 hour drive to Las Vegas. I was so tired of the food in Bishop–which isn’t very vegan friendly–that the first thing we did when we got to Vegas was go to Whole Foods. I feasted on hot bar food, green juice and kale chips. I was very happy to finally eat some REAL food!
There is no other place in the world like Las Vegas. We didn’t camp a single night but instead used the Kayak app on my iPhone. If you ever go climbing in Vegas this is the beta. We booked a new room everyday and we got rates at really nice hotels like Tuscany Suites and The Rio for $22-$50 a night. We split the room four ways with our friends Jason Candler and Sergey Maslov. It work’s out to be cheaper than camping in most cases. Word to the wise…DO NOT STAY AT CIRCUS CIRCUS. We made that mistake one night because we wanted to be closer to the strip but it is GHETTO, smells like cigarettes, has paper thin walls, not that cheap, and there are crime warning signs everywhere. Never again. Our best room was at Tuscany Suites. Huge room, kitchenette, newly built, nicely decorated, clean and very cheap at $22-$27 per night.
The trip turned out to be more about hanging out, being outside and being on vacation than a serious climbing trip. I didn’t send much, Monkey Bar Right (V6) and Mr. Moran(V7). Max sent Desert Rain (V10), Vigilante (V10), Progressive Guy (V10), Prune Tang(V10) and Tapatio (V9). A pretty mellow trip.
We had a pretty slow pace the whole trip. The routine pretty much went like this; get up around 9am, take a shower, get ready to go out by making some Bustelo in the hotel room, finally leave the hotel around 10 or 10:30 and drive to Whole Foods, buy breakfast from the hot bar, eat breakfast, sit around for about half an hour deciding where to climb before finally driving to the boulders. While our trip wasn’t very productive, it was a much needed and well deserved break from our usual pace.
For our last night in Las Vegas we had some big plans. We got a nicer and more expensive hotel room on the strip at the Monte Carlo. We dressed up and went gambling in the casino with Paul Robinson, Alex Kahn, Paul Dusatko, Emily Dudley, Jason and Sergey. P-Rob, Max and Sergey entered into a poker game that had a $100 buy-in (ugh). Max and Serg lost all their money in about an hour while Paul only lost about $10. After gambling we met with our friends Jonathan Siegrist and Marisa Aragon Ware at the Marquee to hear Dirty South DJ. We danced until 3am! It was amazing fun partying with JStar and Marisa! Afterwards we headed to a strip club called Crazy Horse 3 (what? it’s Vegas). I never knew this but apparently you can haggle with taxi drivers or limo drivers and find ways to get into strip clubs free or get a free ride there or some kind of discount. What a crazy and interesting place Vegas is. I won’t go into detail about what happened there. It was my first time to a strip club and it was a weird and interesting experience that turned out to be pretty fun, not only for obvious reasons but also because of the people watching and conversations to be had there. We didn’t leave until 6am when the sun was starting to come up. It was one of the craziest nights I’ve ever had! Las Vegas is a weird place. One minute you are out in the middle of nowhere in the desert on top of a rock and the next you’re in a smoke filled casino or walking down the strip with hotels and lights surrounding you. I had a really good time on this trip but like the saying goes…THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME.