American Alpine Institute

  • American-Alpine-Institute
Courses offered every day, September 1st through mid-MayAs the fall temperatures and wet weather start to overtake the more temperate rock climbing areas in the U.S., rock climbers begin their annual migration to the desert southwest in search of the sunny skies and warm rock found there for most of the winter months.Our season in Red Rock gets started towards the end of September and will continue through the spring, well into May in most years. The shortest days of the year (December) can be brisk in the deeper canyons but there are plenty of sunny options for climbing in the many cragging and lowland areas at Red Rock.
Introduction to the Area

Red Rock Canyon National Monument is unique in North American climbing. No other area offers such extensive climbing in a beautiful desert environment while at the same time enjoying the ease of access and amenities of a nearby metropolitan area. Only 20 miles from downtown Las Vegas, Red Rock rises in a 3000-foot wall of red, pink, and cream colored Aztec sandstone.

The cliffs form a north-south trending barrier over ten miles long and are cut perpendicularly with many major canyons and innumerable smaller ones. When you are climbing, the only sign of human impact is an occasional glimpse of the narrow access road, so while you are close to civilization, it feels like you are deep in a desert wilderness area.

On the walls of these canyons and on the towers and summits which lie between them, you will find some of the longest and best non-granitic climbs in the country.

The exceptionally hard, high quality sandstone of Red Rock offers long continuous crack lines and steep, exposed face climbing on fine desert varnish. The canyons and cliffs of Red Rock have retained a true wilderness feeling. There are very few established trails in the area and most of the approaches involve easy cross-country travel, often up isolated, narrow canyons lined with juniper and shaded by the many-hued rock walls which rise above.

In addition to hundreds of one-pitch sport climbs, Red Rock boasts an unusually large number of very long, high quality routes of moderate technical difficulty. Many fine climbs of grade III or IV in length lie in the 5.6 to 5.8 range. Some of the harder routes with a difficulty of 5.9 or 5.10 can only be described as desert classics. To take full advantage of the fine climbing these superb, long routes have to offer we recommend a maximum client to guide ratio of 2 to 1.

How to Register for a Rock Course

Because we run so many rock courses and because we are so flexible about dates, we don’t publish a course schedule. To register, simply call our office and discuss the dates that you want. If you want to climb with one or more other climbers, we will work to match you up with others who are at a similar level of experience.

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