Austin Hoyt: The Road to Red Rocks | Part One
This is part one of a two-part series from Ranger Ready partner, Austin Hoyt, detailing his trip to Nevada to attempt some of the most difficult climbs in the country.
My Dad and I had been planning this trip for months. The plan was to drive to Red Rock and attempt some of the hardest climbs there, including a few climbs I wanted to get on for sure: Squoze v14/15, a really hard compression test piece and The Nest v15 - it looked like one of the best boulders in the world, so I had to get on it.
Our camper packed and ready to head out on an epic climbing trip
On February 13th, 2020, my Dad and I packed up our camper and started the drive to Nevada. We started from our home in New York and had originally planned on doing the drive in two and a half days. But, as most road trips do, plans proved to be fluid. The first night we spend in Ohio, which wasn't bad at all. We had done this drive before so we knew where we were going and how long until we would reach another gas station or rest stop. We were pretty psyched to have driven that far since we got a pretty late start. Day two of driving we were hoping to get to Albuquerque, New Mexico. I knew how much driving that would be, so I took the morning driving so my dad would be able to drive later when it's dark. However, 30 minutes into me driving my dad fell asleep and I was in a complete white out! The wind was howling, and it was my first time towing a trailer, so it was a bit funky. I pulled over and ended up switching out with my dad to play it safe – we wanted to actually make it to Red Rocks!
Pulled over in a white out – this picture does it no justice!
We slowly realized that our goal of making it to Albuquerque was a bit of a stretch and started to rethink our plan. The new plan was to find a place to sleep in Missouri and then make the final push all the way to Nevada. The next morning we woke up super early and got right on the road. We stopped in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to get some propane for the heater and some water for the camper so we could use the bathroom. We moved quickly knowing that a major storm was incoming, but as we were getting back on the highway the weather took a turn – again! – and it started to sleet hard. The roads were slick, we even saw a bunch of cars spun off the road, so we decided to play it safe and spend one more night on the road and make it to Red Rock in the morning.
The next morning, after a few hours on the road, we made it to Vegas! We got to our campground and set everything up as fast as we could. I was itching to climb because I had not been on any rocks for three days – a rarity for me - so we made plans to go for a night session later that night, but after about an hour I couldn't control my excitement anymore, so we packed the truck and went into the canyon. The first stop was Black Velvet Canyon to try Squoze. We got there as the sun was setting and conditions were just perfect. I was so psyched I didn’t even warm up, which I later would regret. I was able to repeat the stand start pretty quickly. It wasn't too hard, so after that I started to siege the bottom moves, which are the hard ones.
Checking out Squoze with a crux right hand move on the first night in Nevada.
Surprisingly I was able to do them all about the first try except the crux right hand move (pictured above). I was close on it, but it felt super hard. I had a few really close attempts, but at the end of the night I was still unable to do it and my left hand started to hurt a bit due to the small nature of the holds. Heading back to the trailer I felt a bit defeated - it felt a lot harder than the year before. My dad reminded me that I didn't even give myself the best chance to do it - I was so excited that I got right on it, didn’t warm up correctly, and probably should have chilled out the first night to acclimate to everything. We were at elevation, the rock is 100% different from the East Coast rock I am used to, and I had been in a truck for almost 3 days. I told myself that I would get a good night sleep, eat a bacon, egg, cheese and avocado sandwich for breakfast, and start fresh the next day and get on that boulder!