Fresh off a season in the newly developed Chaos Canyon of Rocky Mountain National Park, I moved to Las Vegas in the summer of 2002. I was in bouldering mode and quickly found that there were a plethora of tantalizing lines to be done.
At that time, Brian Bowman had already begun to explore the canyons. He would show me and other friends what he had found, notably: The Black Velvet Project, which later became Wet Dream; the slopey traverse, which later became Ride the White Horse; and others.
Ironic, considering the remote places we would go, I met Brian Bowman at The Pearl, likely the most widely known and climbed problem in Nevada. Both of us were out for a solo Kraft session. We each climbed The Pearl and then had an awkward moment wondering what to do next. I’m not sure what he was thinking, but I thought, “This guy seems all right; we should climb together.” So I blurted out, “Have you ever done that problem up there with the sloper?”
“Yeah, me either. Wanna go check it out?”
And off we went.
Of course, a good portion of the rocks we found were of poor to moderate quality at best. The block below Tunnel Vision (The Trailer Park) comes to mind where Brian, fully gunning for a big move, ripped off his only hold, rocketed back-first onto a talus block, and got up grinning from ear to ear.
My early experiences in Red Rocks gave me an impression that the place was ephemeral. Our bouldering forays were like journeys outside of the real world to a dream-like place that only existed while I, and the friends I was with, were there.
When I began to revisit obscure boulders, I was surprised that they were still there. Slowly, the surprise of seeing an obscure boulder has turned into comfort, like knocking on an old friend’s door.
This book is born from those early experiences, wandering about the desert for hours with crash pads, wading through scrub oak, navigating off a glimpse of the next boulder. We were fueled by imagination: it could be the next Midnight Lightning; maybe it’s a huge roof with a beautiful line of rad features or a delicate slab with exquisite water-sculpted varnish.
You never know until you go and look at it.