Here is a trip report/beta based on a couple real short trips to Red Rocks. Hope there is a bit or two that could be of help to others. I also want to thank everyone on the news group who gave advice for our trip.
To give you an idea of the kinds of routes to follow, I can only lead 5.10 on a good day.
South Face, Mescalito
For a trad day we did "Cat in the Hat" 6+. Due to our small rack and lack of trad experience, we decided to do something well within our abilities. This was a very fun 5 pitch climb. It was in the sun, so it was a little hot. Pitch 1, 3, and 5 are very nice. Near the top you get a great view of Red Rocks and Vegas off in the distance. There are also these little black sparrows or something that zoom by your head at 100mph, the first of which startled the !@#%^ out of me on lead. You could lead this climb with 1 quickdraw, 1 hand and 1 fist sized SLCD, and a moderate amount of passive pro (we had size 4-13 BD nuts + 2 tricams + 4 camalots and never came close to a gear shortage). If you are interested in doing this route I can give a couple good tips for not getting lost, as it does wander a bit. Also, beware there are many knobs and cracks that your ropes can get caught in when pulling them after rappelling.
Dog Wall - a very quick approach to a sport area, sunny.
Looked at "Walk the Dog" 5.7, which looks like it would take stoppers (no bolts). This looked ugly so we skipped it.
Did "Cat Walk" 10a and "It's a Bitch" 10b. Both high quality, short, sustained routes on slightly more than vertical rock. Unlike many other cliffs at RR, the ratings here are solid, even stiff, so while the routes are well protected, you need to be fairly solid 5.10 climber.
Panty Wall - a little bit more of a scramble and hike than most cliffs at first pullout. As the name suggests, there are good routes for wimps like us! Sunny.
Walked to the rightmost side of the cliff to look at "Thong" 5.7, "Buttfloss" 5.10 TR, and "Cover My Buttress" 5.6. Not too inspiring, I would skip these routes. The 5.6 looked the best. Walked to the top of the 10, there were huge loose blocks of rock at the top, and I couldn't see where to place the friends for the anchor.
In the middle of the wall we did "Silk Panties" 5.7. Way over bolted, but a good face climb. The very last route we did was a well bolted face just to the right of "Panty Line". It is not in the guidebook (the one we have anyway), so it was fun to jump on it not knowing how hard it would be. It was probably only 7 or 8, and very high quality. We didn't have time to try the thumbs-up "Panty Raid" 5.10, which does look scary, as the guidebook suggests.
Up the gully to the left about 100 yards (note: 1 yard in the guidebook ~= 1.5 or 2 yards) is another set of climbs on a separate cliff that is less than vertical. "Panty Prow" 5.6 is a scenic arete climb that's good. From the anchor of "Panty Prow" you can TR two 5.10s, "Victoria's Secret" 10, and "Panty-Mime" 10c. You can also lead "Panty-Mime" (PG). These two routes were surprisingly good, unexpected gems of our trip. Unlike many of the sport routes at RR that are basically keep cranking to the next over chalked positive handhold, these climbs had a little of everything. There wasn't much chalk at all (when we were there at least). You had to do some crimping, some balancy standing up with bad handholds, basically good footwork was a must.
I would highly recommend *Panty Wall* if you are looking for good moderate sport routes. The relative lack of chalk and other climbers add to the appeal too. If you are going there, feel free to email me for tips on the approach (we ended up scrambling up 5.4 80' off the deck, but found a much easier way than the guidebook suggests).
The Gallery - the well-known wall visible from the parking lot, home of "The Gift". Sunny.
We tried three of the easier routes on the left side of the Gallery, "Gelatin Pooch" 10b, "Sport Climbing is Neither" 5.8, and "Buck's Muscle World" 5.9-. It may be because I was particularly tired the day we went there, but the routes didn't seem that great. Of course the difficult routes on the right side are supposed to be great. You can probably do better elsewhere for moderates.
Black Corridor - another well-known, high traffic sport area. Shady all day long, except for maybe an hour!
Not much new to say about this area, except that I agree that the ratings are soft. I got out of my league on "Nightmare on Crude Street" 10d and flipped upside down. There are many good 5.9 - 5.10b face climbs here, definately check it out.
Wake Up Wall - Shady wall with short approach.
Did "XTC" 5.9, pretty much a grunt climb. Not too great. The 10b looks slabby, and the rest of the wall is harder. We saw people on the guidebook recommended "Just Shut Up and Climb" 11b, and it looked awesome!
Mass Production Wall - a little bit of a hike to another shady wall with bolted sport routes. The ratings are a little soft here too. Everything was of high quality.
"Some Assembly Required" 10c. Good route. We waited for a guy who looked to weigh about 230-250 lbs to finish it before we got on. Although he rested on a couple bolts, his effort was truly inspiring. He reached the anchors and proclaimed "Fat people *can* climb!" As they lowered him, he told us to watch the second bolt, that he fell on it twice, "but it hasn't broke yet." He proceeded to screw the hanger down a few twists on the way down!
"Parts is Parts" 5.8, "Battery Powered" 5.9, and "Trigger Happy" 10a were all good too, particularly "Trigger".
I also led "Hit and Run" 5.9, and realized the third bolt was chopped. I panicked when I looked up to the next bolt and was looking at a 30' grounder. It also wasn't apparent whether to go right or left up to the next bolt. It looked like there was a seam to the left, so I had guy watching us toss my small stoppers to my belayer. After 3 tries he was able to throw up a perfect toss, and I caught them, yes! It turns out left is the way to go, and futhermore it's a decent finger crack that really negates the need for the next two bolts, the crack takes nuts just fine. Moral of story: always bring small nuts along when leading.
Eats ---- By pure luck, or the will of the climbing gods, we dropped in on a place called "East Side Mario's". It is awesome New York style Italian food!! For $8-10 you can get killer pasta dishes with bread + soup or salad, all in proportions that could probably feed 2 people. We went there 2 nights, and each server was among the friendliest and most attentive I've ever seen. We particularly recommend the Chicken Tetrazinni, one of the best meals me or my partner has ever had. To get there: going east on Charleston towards Vegas, go past Desert Rock Sports (Buffalo Ave), take a right on Rainbow, about a mile to Sahara, left on Sahara, it is 100 yards on your left next to Chevy's Mexican.
ZZZZs ----- We heard it got *real* windy in the campground. We flew in, so to alleviate the amount of stuff to pack, we stayed in downtown. We got a 2 bed room in the "Las Vegas Club" that came out to $8 per person per night. I think you can get really cheap rooms this time of year. We did miss out on meeting climbers at the campground :(
Summary ------- It's a great place to climb! I hope to return soon and do some more sport routes and try "Frogland" and "Dark Shadows". In particular, I would like to check out *Tuna & Chips Wall*, *Tsnumani Wall*, *Truancy Cliff*, *Magic Bus*, *The Hall of Fame*, and *Boschton Marathon Rock*, so if you have any suggestions on these, it would be great to chat with you.
In general the ratings are 1 to 2 letter grades softer than say, Yosemite or Joshua Tree. For easy routes for weekend warriors like us, *Black Corridor*, *Panty Wall*, and *Mass Production Wall* were the best.
The rock is the hardest sandstone I've ever seen, and routes with this black iron sheen were particularly good. The climbers we met there were super nice, including the locals at the Desert Rock Sports shop, and particularly Dottie at the climbing gym (thanks!)
For some reason, people seemed to look at us in horror upon finding out we didn't have a full set of TCUs and that we wanted to lead an easy trad route. It kind of freaked us out, and I thought we might find nothing but a series of tiny horizontal cracks on any trad pitch we attempted. More than one person said "Tri-cams?! No, you won't use any of those here". It turns out that "Cat in the Hat" sucks up the passive gear, and the most helpful person we met, Dottie, bolstered our confidence that a number of the trad routes can be led adequately with mostly passive gear.
Finally, I never thought I would say this, but I love tri-cams! I gave in and bought a .5 and 1 after hearing so many great things about them on this group, they are real cool. Also, I can now see why people endorse using a rappel glove, I still have a big blister on my right hand.
Happy Climbing, Ted Pederson