• Red Rocks (Sept '14): Triassic Sandslove car

sTePh aBeGg's
Climbing & Photography

Navigate my website via the tabs above or sitemap below.

1. Trip Reports

        • • Squamish climbs (The Grand Wall, Ultimate Everything, Borderline, Angel's Crest, Rock On, St. Vitus' Dance, Squamish Buttress, Diedre, Snake, Sunset Strip, Milk Road, Great Game, Wonderful Thing About Tiggers, and more)
      • • Red Rocks (Sept '14): Triassic Sands

Recent Trip Reports & Pages

• Red Rocks (Sept '14): Triassic Sandslove car

Recent Trip Reports

(most recent first)

Upcoming Adventures!

• Red Rocks (Sept '14): Triassic Sandslove car

Upcoming Presentations/Workshops

• Red Rocks (Sept '14): Triassic Sandslove car

"Splitters and Choss Piles: The various rock types in WA climbing areas" 

When: March 13, 2018 @ 7:30-9pm

Where: Backcountry Essentials, Bellingham, WA

Bellingham Mountaineers Winter Speaker Series

• Red Rocks (Sept '14): Triassic Sandslove car
Presentation Description: In this edition of the Bellingham Mountaineers Winter Speaker Series, climber Steph Abegg and geologist Doug McKeever will join forces to discuss the variety of rock types that are most commonly encountered in climbs in Washington. Steph will provide photos illustrating the various rock types and the quality of climbing they afford, while Doug will detail about the various compositions, origins, and locations of the different rock types.

Washington Weather Forecast for Climbers

(Click image)

• Red Rocks (Sept '14): Triassic Sandslove car

My friends Luca and Ephrat have created a wonderful mountain weather matrix which shows the 5-day NOAA point forecast for various locations in the US. As they are Californians, they mostly have various climbing locations in CA. Since I cannot run .php on googlesites, they have generously created one for various climbing locations in WA. This is very handy for seeing multiple weather forecasts all at once to help choose the weekend climbing destination. Gone are the days of obsessive refreshing of a slew of NOAA point forecast tabs!

Quick Link to Night Photography

Here's a quick link to my page on night photography, which gives lots of photos as well as a technical discussion on the physics of night photography.

Contact Info

Hi! My name is Steph Abegg. Please see my Who is sTePh? page for more details.

I am happy to discuss route beta or sell photos on request.

I am also always looking for good climbing partners and destinations.

Email: [email protected]

• Red Rocks (Sept '14): Triassic Sands

• Red Rocks (Sept '14): Triassic Sandslove car

  <-- Map of summer 2014
     (click to enlarge)

Partners: Dow Williams (Climbs 1 & 2) / 

Joanne Urioste & Kenny Rathcke (Climb 2)

Rock Type: Aztec Sandstone

Elev: 4,000-6,000 ft

RED ROCKS Sept 2014

Climb 1: Triassic Sands (5.10b, 5p, 730')

Climb 2: Climbing with Uriostes

• Red Rocks (Sept &#39;14): Triassic Sandslove car
A short and special trip to Red Rocks.


Dow is good friends with Jorge and Joanne Urioste, who put up several of the classic routes in Red Rocks in the 70's, scoping the canyons for long and beautiful lines. Perhaps their most well-known route is the grade IV, 1600', 5.9 Epinephrine, 

which has become THE classic Red Rocks route—I still remember the sustained 600-ft chimney when I climbed Epinephrine on my first trip to Red Rocks in 2007. (When I asked Joanne how the route got its name, she told me that while working on the route, Jorge had had an allergic reaction to something on the route and had to go to the hospital to get a shot of epinephrine.)


f you skim any short list of must-do Red Rocks classics, you will notice that about half of the routes are Jorge and Joanne's—

Cat in the Hat (5.6, 6p), Olive Oil (5.7, 7p), Frogland (5.8, 6p), 

Crimson Chrysalis (5.8+, 9p), 

Refried Brains (5.9, 4p), Epinephrine (5.9, 13p), 

Black Orpheus (5.9+, 8p), 

Sour Mash (5.10a, 6p), 

Dream of Wild Turkeys (5.10a, 7p), 

The Nightcrawler (5.10b, 5p), 

Gift of the Wind Gods (5.10, 10p), Levitation 29 (5.11, 9p), 

Woman of Mountain Dreams (5.11a/b, 17p), Ixtlan (5.11c, 3p), and many many more. (Great route names by the way!) 

Anyway, Dow thought I would enjoy meeting Jorge and Joanne. Jorge and Joanne live on the outskirts of Las Vegas (the Red Rocks side of course). Joanne was eager to get out for a day of climbing on the upcoming weekend. So Dow and I made a quick two-day trip to Red Rocks. The plan was that Dow and I would climb a route on Friday (Sept 5), visit and stay with Jorge and Joanne that evening, and climb with Joanne on Saturday (Sept 6).

So on Friday, Dow and I drove two hours to Red Rocks and climbed Triassic Sands (5.10b, 730', 5p). Dow had climbed this route several times before, but it was one of his favorites of the grade, and also completely shaded, a must on a day where temperatures were pushing the triple digits in Vegas (fortunately, the climbing temps in the canyon were comfortable, at least in the shade). Indeed, Triassic Sands was superb climbing up an elegant crack system rimmed with varnished sandstone jugs. My only complaint is that the route is too short—I wanted about three times as much of it, it was so good! After climbing Triassic Sands, Dow and I arrived sweat- and dirt-covered at Jorge and Joanne's doorstep, where we were invited right in and enjoyed an evening of dinner and interesting conversation. Jorge and Joanne are really cool people and have a lifetime of great stories to tell. The next day, Dow and I climbed with Joanne and her friend Kenny Rathcke in Red Rocks; we helped them put up a few more pitches on a new route the Uriostes were working on in Black Velvet Canyon (a couple of months later, they completed this new 2100 foot climb). It was a really fun day in great company doing some adventurous climbing with a lady who knows Red Rocks about as well anyone. Although he did not climb with us on this day, Jorge still climbs too. Jorge and Joanne are truly inspirational, and it was a gift to get to meet them.

This page gives a trip report for Triassic Sands, as well as a few photos from our time with the Uriostes.

UPDATE: About 6 months later, in March 2015, I made a blitz three-day trip to Red Rocks to climb with Dow. I stayed with the Uriostes, and Dow and I spent a day climbing in Black Velvet Canyon with both Jorge and Joanne. (Click here for the trip report.) This was definitely a climbing trip I will never forget.

Triassic Sands

(5.10b, 730', 5p)

(on Ixtlan Buttress on Whiskey Peak at the head of Black Velvet Canyon)


This long, elegant crack system is one of Red Rocks' oldest and most classic routes. 

It was the first “real” rock climb of significant length at Red Rocks. It was originally climbed as an aid route in 1972 by Joe Herbst and Larry Hamilton, as a warm-up for the Salathé Wall. Along with Jorge and Joanne, Joe and Larry were two of the most productive early Red Rocks climbers, and together accounted for a number of serious routes including both the Rainbow Wall and the Aeolian Wall (in fact, Joe had been along with Jorge and Joanne when they put up Epinephrine in 1978). 

The first free ascent of Triassic Sands was in 1979, again by Joe Herbst (and others). Apparently, this route is most often done by climbing the first three pitches and then rappelling. However, this misses out on the excellent fourth pitch (which you can also rappel from) and tagging the "summit" if you continue even higher. I like to get to the top of things, so Dow and I went all the way to the top. From there, the descent is an easy walk-off. The route is north-facing, so it is a good choice for a hot day. The climb is mostly 5.7-5.9 climbing, with just a couple 5.10ish moves. My only complaint about this route is that it is too short—if Pitches 1-4 were repeated and stacked on top of each other about three times, then this would be one of the best climbs of its grade in North America. 

10:15 - leave parking lot

10:55 - base of route 

11:20 - start climbing

2:17 - top 

2:55 - back to packs at base of route

3:50 - parking lot

~ 40 min approach, ~3 h climb, ~40 min decent, ~5.5 hours rt
• Red Rocks (Sept &#39;14): Triassic Sandslove car

Sept 6

Climbing with and staying with the Uriostes


The Uriostes are really great people and I enjoyed the opportunity to get to know them a little.



• Red Rocks (Sept &#39;14): Triassic Sandslove car   


• Red Rocks (Sept &#39;14): Triassic Sandslove car   


• Red Rocks (Sept &#39;14): Triassic Sandslove car   


• Red Rocks (Sept &#39;14): Triassic Sandslove car   


• Red Rocks (Sept &#39;14): Triassic Sandslove car   


• Red Rocks (Sept &#39;14): Triassic Sandslove car   


• Red Rocks (Sept &#39;14): Triassic Sandslove car   


• Red Rocks (Sept &#39;14): Triassic Sandslove car   
Photo descriptions:
a. Joanne getting ready to climb. She's 62 and climbs 5.10+. I've never met a more gung-ho and adventurous 62-year-old woman than Joanne. Except maybe my mom.
b. Kenny Rathcke, who joined us for the day. It turns out I had met Kenny the previous summer when climbing the Incredible Hulk. Really nice guy.
c. We spotted a tick.
d. I also spotted a tiny red-spotted toad hopping around on the canyon floor.
e. Such great climbing at Red Rocks. This photo was taken when I joined Joanne and Kenny and Dow to put up a few new pitches on a new route that the Uriostes were working on in Black Velvet Canyon. The Uriostes completed this 2100 ft route a couple of months later.
f. The great sandstone cliffs at Red Rock are made up of the Aztec Sandstone. This formation, about 180 – 190 million years old, is comprised of lithified sand dunes that formed in a vast desert that covered a large part of the southwestern United States during the Jurassic time. The massive cross-bedding is a result of the shifting wind direction across the Jurassic dune field.
g. Jorge and Pepper. Jorge was a professor at UNLV for several years. I imagine he was a favorite professor for many students. He's 78 and he still climbs too.
h. Jorge and Joanne's son Danny. Like his parents, he's a climber and a really fun person.