2010 was the year of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area for me.  Between February and October, I spent a total of almost three months climbing in its magnificent canyons and crags.  In the spring, when the summits were still snow covered and canyon’s creeks were flowing high, I was training for, then taking, the AMGA Rock Guide Course.  We did some excellent climbing including Olive Oil (III, 5.7), Dream of Wild Turkeys (III, 5.10a), Nightcrawler (II, 5.10c), The Walker Spur (II, 5.10b), and the full Geronimo (III+, 5.8).

Mike cruisin' up Olive Oil

Mike cruisin’ up Olive Oil

Art climbing on The Walker Spur

Art climbing The Walker Spur

The crux pitch of Nightcrawler

The crux pitch of Nightcrawler

In the warm and sweaty days of fall, I got in a little more training before taking my AMGA Rock Guide exam.  My friend and AAI co-worker Danny Uhlmann was also taking the exam and we completed a number of excellent climbs prior to its start.  We made the most of our prep time, climbing Risky Business into Dark Shadows (III+, 5.10c R) in Pine Creek Canyon, Rock Warrior in Black Velvet Canyon (III, 5.10b R), Community Pillar (III, 5.8) in Pine Creek, Gin Ricky (I, 5.10c) and Birthday Party (II, 5.6) in First Creek Canyon, and Solar Slab to Eagle Dance (IV, 5.10) in Oak Creek Canyon.

Danny find the first bolt on The Rock Warrior

Danny at the first bolt on Rock Warrior (60′ up!)

Hurting from the hanging belays of Rock Warrior.

Loving the belays of Rock Warrior.  The first five belays are all fully hanging.

During the exam, we climbed some more classic routes including Beulah’s Book to Arch Enemy (III, 5.9) in Oak Creek, cragging at the Trophy Wall/Wall of Confusion, Myster Z (III, 5.7) to Armatron (II, 5.9) in Juniper Canyon, The Gobbler to Dream of Wild Turkeys in Black Velvet Canyon (III+, 5.10), and There and Back Again (II, 5.8) to Eagle Dance (IV, 5.10c) in Oak Creek Canyon.

Great edge climbing on Dream of Wild Turkeys

Great edge climbing on Dream of Wild Turkeys

Ron aiding the bolt ladder of Eagle Dance

Ron finishing up the Eagle Dance bolt ladder.

I am proud to announce that I passed my exam with excellent marks.  I am available for guiding in Red Rock Canyon through the American Alpine Institute, an authorized concessionaire, from September to May each year.