Red Rock – Day 12 and departure

Unfortunately, Day 12, our last full day was not a climbing one. This is because it rained the day before, which means that there’d be no climbing in Red Rock. Why? Because soft sandstones get damaged easily when it’s wet. And it takes time for it to dry. How do we know if it rained in the area? This site:

And what to do during the drying-off period? Plenty of things to do in the area. After all, it’s Las Vegas. A lot of options on this site:

Paul and I decided to check out the nearby Hoover Dam. It’s only 45 mins drive and a fantastic place to kill some time. I have been there before, most recently in 2010 (or was it 11?) during our trip around Nevada and California. It’s been so many years since, that I was happy to go again. So was Paul.

Calvin and Clare decided to stay back and rest. Calvin’s ankles were hurting and they wanted to take it easy. As a matter of fact, they decided to actually cut their trip short and forgo the 2 weeks in Joshua Tree and re-booked their return flight for Monday.

We also had a house guest – Paul’s Australian friend Brendan drove overnight all the way from San Fran to spend some time with us. Since he actually had to do some work that day, he stayed in the house as we went for that quick trip to the famous Dam.

We also had a house guest – Paul’s Australian friend Brendan drove overnight all the way from San Fran to spend some time with us. Since he actually had to do some work that day, he stayed in the house as we went for that quick trip to the famous Dam.

Below: view form the Bridge

The whole thing was as impressive as I remembered. Logistically speaking it’s very easy to get to when you have a car. The attraction is free to walk around – there are a couple of clearly marked free pull-outs for stopping by and seeing the structure from afar. The best view is from the Callaghan-Tillman bridge, a huge bridge that was just being finished when I was there last time.

The car park is clearly marked, and you get to walk the entire length of the bridge for free.

From there we drove through the dam itself, on the other side, and pulled out on the lakeside. There are a couple 10$ parking lots to stop at (presumably for those who want to go to the visitor center and see the thing from the inside?).

There are different tours available. They range from 30$ to 10$ as of the writing of this blog, but best info can be found on the government site: We decided to skip it.

If you keep driving past the dam a bit you can find free pullouts with magnificent views of the back of the dam and the bridge you just walked on.

Below: back of the Hoover Dam and the Bridge.

We had our lunch there (Desert Bagels are the best!) and decided to drive back home (via the Dam).

There is another viewpoint (via side road) a couple hundred meters past the Dam, on the right, that will give you a great view of Lake Mead, view of the marina, and some info regarding how it all got to be. Fascinating Story. Totally worth checking out.

Below: View of the Lake and the Marina .

From there it’s only 45 mins back to Vegas. Just be vary of evening traffic. It can be bad!

This wasn’t the end of the excitement for me though. I asked Paul to drop me off to the South Point Casino, for their daily 6.05pm 100$ tournament.

This give Paul and Brendan the opportunity to catch up (since they haven’t seen each other in a couple of years), and me the chance to redeem myself, after I didn’t do so well in the last 3 tournaments (cashed once, and went out near bubble twice)

The game took almost 7 hours and it was a full-on battle with 103 players, that finished with a 3 way ICM chop.

The vast majority of amateur poker tournaments don’t actually finish with clear winners, usually, at some point players decide to stop the game and split the prize pool according to the number of chips they have (via the aforementioned ICM formula). In bigger tournaments, that have actual trophies to award, they either finish the game just for it or award it to one of the players.

In this case, South Point gives a nice poker chip token, which both of my opponents decided to award to me. I think mostly because I was visiting and they were local, so they’d have many more chances to win more of those. (and they already owned a few each – both were local pros) Nice lads. Nice gesture. I wish I could actually battle for it a bit, but nobody wanted to sit there for 2 more hours 🙂

Below: the awarded trophy.

As usual, Paul showed up to pick me up, which was very nice of him, and we headed home. Long day!

Luckily there was no need to get up early, as the checkout time wasn’t until midday.

We had breakfast, packed, and left. Calvin and Clare booked a place for the next few nights on the other side of town, while Paul and Bren had a place on the north side (it turned out to be a total hole, so they decided to re-book for a more reputable hotel on the Strip).

Below: Paul after finding his missing puffy jacket. It will be handy for his layover in New York!

We spent the last day looking for new accommodation for Paul and Bren, but also went for a last short hike and drive through the loop road.

Below: the world-famous Red Rock Canyon monument

As I’m writing these words sitting outside Gate D9 waiting for my flight back home I can only be happy with the way the whole trip turned out. We did fantastic climbing (Paul and I did around 40 climbs) in a world-class area with legendary co-climbers. Calvin and Clare are not just very accomplished climbers (being on the rocks for over 50 years!) but also the nicest people ever! Than you team!

Next month Calvin is being awarded Lynam Award – and I can’t wait to sit in that auditorium and watch and listen to him talk more about his climbing life achievements – hopefully, he’ll wear the lucky Vegas socks I gifted him (the rest of the crew also got a pair! ).

Also, the rumor has it (it took a lot of wine to get that out) that Clare’s new book will be available sometime next year. Can’t wait for that as well!

For her most recent book, “Uncoiling the Ropes”, visit the Mountaineering Ireland store, or any decent bookstore in Ireland! A fantastic read!

This entry concludes the Dal Riada Red Rock 2023 trip. In some weeks I’ll move it to the Club’s official website, so it doesn’t disappear, and hopefully, future generations of climbers can learn from our experiences in this beautiful part of the world.

PS. For gambling tips please contact Calvin @ the casino near you!

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