We arrived on Friday night, with heavy duffel bags full of climbing and camping gear. After checking into the Tropicana and getting rid of our bags, we went for dinner and to check out the city at night. Vegas is pretty amazing to see at night and as it was my first time there, I was quite entertained. The casinos were pretty disgusting for the most part, but I knew what to expect. The next day we walked through the whole strip which took us a big part of the day, then dressed up fancy and went to an expensive buffet - the buffet ended up being unimpressive but it was fun to blend in with the casino population for a night.
The next morning we got our rental car and slowly headed towards Red Rock Canyon, hoping to get some warm climbing done. We stopped to get food and supplies and then went to check into the campground, which was very nice. After getting most of these tasks done, the better part of the day was gone, but we went to check out the park, which consists of a 13-mile long one-way road. We stopped at one of the pullouts and tried to find a two-pitch climb which we had the time to do, but couldn't find it. Getting lost and having difficulty on the approaches became something we got used to in the following days. After scrambling and hiking around, we made it back to the car and continued the drive, noting the trailheads in our book, so that we wouldn't have to waste time the following days. We had some more ambitious plans in mind, but given the short days and chilly weather we decided on going for Cat in the Hat (5p, 5.6) the next day.
After waking up and making some tea and breakfast, we proceeded towards the Cat in the Hat parking lot. After reading the guidebook in detail, I was sure we've got the approach nailed. After half an hour of hiking, we scrambled over some large boulders which still matched the book description, and with our noses under the route, I still wasn't sure if we were in the right place. We hesitated for a bit and then I headed up the first pitch, which ended up being correct. The climb went by fairly quickly, and is definitely one of the best 5.6 climbs I've ever done, specifically pitch 3. We chilled in the sun at the top, after which we headed back down - Parisa's first multipitch rappel, which was also uneventful.
The following day we felt like doing something completely in the sun, which was hard to find. In the end we settled on the Great Red Book, which consists of two pitches of 5.8... however, in fine tradition, we got lost on the approach. The multitude of forks in the canyons makes for exciting routefinding sometimes. Now that we've got some experience under our belt, the next trip there will be easier in that regard. 3 hours later (on what should have been a 30 minute approach) we got to the base of the climb, but it was still completely in the shade, due to the position of the sun. We traversed right and found a sport climb on the face, which was completely in the sun, and ended up fooling around there for a few hours. Afterwards, we went back to the car and drove to Bonnie Springs where we had a room for the night. The place was pretty awesome and the staff extremely friendly. The next day, we had to return the car and get catch our plane back to Calgary, where -30 temperatures awaited us. We were completely lucky with the weather in Vegas, with blue skies each day - the day after we left, the forecast was for snow! We'll be back...