Thursday night John played some Blackjack while I watched and learned some of the "tricks" and it was pretty fun, but yeah, Vegas is crazy. But everyone we have met has been pretty cool and they seem to know that the odds suck, and you're pretty much here just paying for the entertainment and excitement if you end up doing some gambling. I haven't met anyone yet who actually thinks the odds are in their favour or it's actually possible to come here and win a lot. So at least everyone knows they are in it to lose their money. :)
Friday we got up and had a ridiculous (though pretty tasty) buffet breakfast. Then we drove to Red Rocks and talked to the park ranger and then drove to the bouldering area. It was great. We met an experienced climber there who was very helpful. We set up the crash pads and climbed the "warm up boulder" which ended up being pretty huge and actually quite hard. You also get a lot more nervous since, even if a climb is easy, you don't have any ropes like you would in a climbing gym. Just you, the rock, and a pretty decent fall behind you. So, even if the climb is easy and safe, your nervousness can still get the best of you. So you need to keep focused and clear on where you are going, and not get too worked up. Also, the crash pads are there for safety, and your bouldering spotter is there too in case you actually need to be guided to the crash pads. But this is very uncommon, and if you are careful this should never be necessary. Anyway, (Mom, I know you are reading this)... it's just a bit adventurous, but in reality is still very safe. (Again, Mom this is for you)... when I went White Water Rafting in New Zealand it was muuuuuuuuuch more dangerous than just some light bouldering with crash pads. So don't worry, I'm being careful. :)
Anyway, that said, it was pretty scary but really fun. The "warm up boulder" was pretty intense, and I got up to the top after a couple of tries and then had to come down this crack/crevace in between 2 rocks!! John found this hard the first few times, but talked me through it and it wasn't too bad. You had to again get over the fear that you could fall, cause you really can't. You wedge yourself in between the rocks and slowly edge down, with no specific hand holds, but you are completely supported by the lateral pressure of your body and legs between the rocks. Pretty crazy stuff.
Anyhow that was awesome. Then some easier climbing and we went up this other weird rock that was at about a 60 degree angle, it was kinda nuts too but easier than the first one. Then we drove back to the conservation area, did the scenic drive, and went to look for some Cars toys at Wal-Mart and then for some Chinese food before heading back to the hotel. I tried some Blackjack last night (and set a very low limit of money that I was willing to lose... and which I did in about 20 minutes), but it was still fun and it was a fun entertainment kind of thing. Definitely NOT something I would really see myself actually getting into ever, but it's fun for the novelty of it anyway.
Then to bed at a decent time since we were pretty tired from climbing and all the adrenaline and excitement.
Getting the car packed with the bouldering crash mats
The Luxor hotel/casino
On the way to Red Rocks
Sweeeeet mountainy goodness
Siiiiick new Sigg waterbottle I got for climbing
John and his GPS
Getting out the climbing stuff
The mountain near where we climbed
Crazy crevace that we later climbed down
John reading the route maps
John on top of the warm up boulder
John trying to get down
Wedging yourself in between the rocks worked well
More intense climbing
Me on top of the warm up boulder!!
Me starting the climb down the boulders... I love this photo!!!
Me wedged in between the rocks, climbing down
Just about there!!
The moon was out
Sweet grassland around the rocks
Another one of me climbing down
John climbing the other side of the warm up boulder
Me taking more photos
Me sitting on another huge rock after climbing up it
John on top of the warm up boulder
Me sitting on top of the slab rock I climbed up
Another one of me just about ready to climb back down
John trying to figure out how to get down a rock
John packed up and ready to drive back
Awesome mountains on scenic drive
This "rocked" haha
Sunset on the mountains
Chinese food for dinner
The castle hotel at night