On Sunday night after all of the Rendezvous participants leave the festival grounds, Mountain Gear hosts a dinner for the athletes and guides. This is usually a pretty laid back affair where Paul Fish, the president of Mountain Gear, thanks those who helped put on the event. But this year something happened that was a little bit different. The usually laid back event turned into a series of competitive non-climbing climber games.
The centerpiece of the evening was a game called "Cups." In the game, a person must not allow his or her feet to pass a line, but they can crawl out from the line using wine bottles for hands. Once they stretch out as far as they can, they place one of the two bottles upright, then using the single bottle work their way back to the line.
The goal is to place a wine bottle as far out from the line as possible.
AAI Guide Mike Pond working backwards by bouncing on the bottle after making a placement.
AAI Guide Mike Pond helps AAI Guide Mary Harlan place a bottle by holding one foot.
This gave Mary a bit more reach than she would have had.
When we started, this game was somewhat subdued. It was simply a matter of, how tall are you and how far can you stretch? But as the game went on, teams got more an more creative.
In this first video, AAI senior guide trainer, Mike Powers, makes a very standard bottle placement.
In this second video, we start to see how the guides became a little more competitive and started to be a lot more creative. Here we see AAI guide Ben Traxler with the bottles, AAI Guide Cliff Palmer is holding his legs and AAI guide Richard Riquleme climbs across Ben's back to place a bottle as far out as possible.
This last video shows the extent and creativity that our guides combined with Mountain Gear employees went to in order to place a bottle as far as was humanly possible. In this video, Richard Riquleme, Cliff Palmer, Scott Massey, and Dana Hickenbottom, along with a Mountain Gear Employee hold another Mountain Gear Employee using sling material, while AAI guide Mary Harlan squirms across the guy in order to place a bottle waaaay out there.
This game was really fun, though it could certainly be dangerous. After we finished we imagined what might happen if one of those bottles broke, and we didn't come up with many positive outcomes.
Next year this will become an actual competition at Red Rock Rendezvous, though they will use bowling pins instead of bottles to create a little bit wider margin of safety. A room with thirty people in it come up with some spectacular and creative ideas. I can't wait to see what a thousand people with dozens of different teams will come up with for this game...
--Jason D. Martin