Crag-Bagging in the Valley of Fire!

Where: Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
When: December 2008
Partners: DB

On a rainy Sunday, DB and I headed to the driest place we could think of - the ever-charming Valley of Fire, a wonderland of orange and red and pink and purple and yellow and salmon crags, acres of slickrock and twisty canyons for the curious explorer. We'd play tourist, of course...but, well, some climbing shoehorned its way into the plan somehow (as per the norm).

White Dome:

Driving to the end of the road past Rainbow Vista and all to White Domes, we parked and decided to give White Dome itself a shot. Without any beta, we scrambled up a slab, eased past an acacia and then scrambled up a class 4 groove to gain easy slabs leading to the highpoint. Yeehaw! What a summit!

West White Dome:

After a leisurely nap on the summit, DB and I headed back down then crossed the parking lot to the base of what I dubbed 'West White Dome', the slightly lesser, but much more impressive, fin to the immediate west.

Gaining the northern tip of the fin, we scrambled up fun slabs, ramps and chimneys until we landed in a sandy spot below a couple of very aesthetic sub-crags. Hmmm, from there we scrambled up a short, easy face next to a cave then walked a short, exposed catwalk to a ledge. From the ledge, a short scramble put us on the narrow and hugely exposed summit ridge. Yahoo! Another awesome summit, this one better than the last!

Gibraltar Rock:

Eventually descending from the sweetness that is West White Dome, DB and I piled back in the truck and headed over to the park-named Gibraltar Rock, a striking, red block of rock prominently displaying itself along the White Domes road a short distance before its end.

Although lacking the sweet steepness and exposure of West White Dome and the pure aestheticism of White Dome, Gibraltar Rock made up for it with interesting route-finding in a rather convoluted environment of crags and cliffs and mini-canyons.

Finding our way into one canyon, we followed it up just far enough to exit right via a 40-foot class 4 wall that led us to another canyon. There, we followed that canyon up just far enough to exit right via a class 3 weakness that dumped us off on the meandering, bumpy summit plateau. Once there, we dropped in and quickly out of another little slot, scrambled up a short face and then walked to the highpoint. And again, yahoo and yeehaw! A third nice summit!