Tuesday, April 23, 2013

2013 Red Rock Rendezvous Round-Up!

I have attended Red Rock Rendezvous every year since 2003. This year was the ten year anniversary of the event and there is no doubt in my mind that it was the best. Mountain Gear, the event organizer, pulled out all of the stops and put together an absolutely perfect climbing festival.

There are two aspects to the Red Rock Rendezvous. The first is the educational aspect. Mountain Gear brings in nearly sixty climbing instructors, guides and professional climbing athletes to teach clinics in Red Rock Canyon at a highly reduced rate.  These programs include everything from multi-pitch climbing with an AAI guide, to learning big wall climbing from someone like Conrad Anker, to learning how to belay from the likes of Beth Rodden. This is a place to not only learn things, but also to  come into contact with America's climbing royalty.

The second aspect is the front-country party aspect. A great deal of the event takes place at Spring Mountain State Park, a state park inholding within the Conservation Area. The space that we use at Spring Mountain Ranch is perfect for camping in the grass and partying at night.

Following are some photos from climbing around Red Rock during the event:

AAI Red Rock Rendezvous Staff - From Left to Right (Click to Enlarge)
Cliff Palmer, Jeremy Wilson, Andrew Yasso, Chad Cochran, Mike Pond, James Pierson, 
Ian McEleneyMike Powers, Richard Riquelme, Tad McCrea, Paul Rosser, Mark Cionek, 
Ben Traxler, Alasdair Turner,Ben Gardner, Dustin Byrne, Erin Smart, Dustin Byrne, 
Quino Gonzalez, Jason Martin

The shadow of two climbers on Sidewinder (5.7)

Climbers on Jabba the Hut Rock

 A climber on Soup Nazi (5.10a)

 Climbing a 5.6 crack in Moderate Mecca

Pulling through a 5.8 roof.

Leading a 5.6.

Back at the Spring Mountain Ranch, there was a lot going on during the day:

AAI Guide Erin Smart on the bus headed to the crag. 

The AAI Booth with Mt. Wilson in the background. 

Mt. Wilson in the morning

Camping at Red Rock Rendezvous 

A climber practicing aid work on the artificial climbing wall at Spring Mountain Ranch

Slacklining is always popular at the event.

Slackline Trickery

 AAI Guides Alasdair Turner, Richard Riquelme and Mark Cionek

AAI Guide James Pierson wearing goofy belay glasses.

AAI Guides Doug Foust, Andrew Yasso, Ben Traxler, Cliff Palmer, Richard Riquelme, 
Dustin Byrne, James Pierson and Erin Smart

On Friday night, there is generally a small party with a slideshow. However, on Saturday night there's a huge blowout.  This year was the most fun ever because there were so many activities. There was a dyno comp, a tug-a-war, and a "quick-draw rigging competition." In the quick-draw competition, competitors raced to set-up ten draws with carabiners. Whomever set-up the draws first won them.

One of the competitions was built for AAI guides. Mammut set-up a "rope-coiling" race. Competitors had to coil the rope "backpack style," put it on your back and tie it off with a square knot.  There was a competition for both men and women. AAI guide Erin Smart won for the women.

The men's competition was much more contentious.  I took an early lead with a time of 47.9 seconds. Later, AAI Mike Powers beat me with a time of 47.7 seconds. This time was beat by a Red Rock Rendezvous athlete who brought the time down to 40 seconds, but had sloppy coils. After that, I went again and brought my time down to 42 seconds. Neither the athlete, nor any of the other guides beat my time...  So I won the rope!

Contentious Moments in the Rope Coiling Contest 

The author (Jason Martin) on AAI Guide Tad McCrea's
 shoulders moments after victory

Another innovative aspect of the Saturday party was the photo booth. The North Face set up a photo booth on site where people could come and get their pictures taken together.  The following is a group shot of some of our guides taken at the booth. To see more of these photos, click here.


Attempted to describe from left to right:
Ian McEleney, Dustin Byrne (top left), Jason Martin (big head), Mike Powers (above big head), 
Andrew Yasso (middle), Erin Smart(bottom middle), Doug Fous (above Andrew), 
James Pierson(Andrew's right), Ben Traxler(top right), Ben Gardner(bottom right)

Red Rock Rendezvous has already been planned for 2013, the dates will be March 28-30.  And as always, I can't wait to go back next year...!

--Jason D. Martin


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