Vegas is one of those places I can do without. As I sat in the airport Sunday night, headed home after a week in the sun, climbing in Red Rocks, I was amazed at the culture shock I was having. Having gone most of the last eight days with nothing more than the ring of quick draws clanking or the rack shaking, all the dings, bells and slot sounds were a bit maddening. But, to climb in Red Rocks, Vegas is a must. Even just to pass through for some of the best sport and trad on the planet.
I was in town to present the Gimp Monkeys Friday night and co-lead a trad clinic with my friend Mal Daly. Cyn and the kids and I arrived the week before to climb routes and enjoy the warm weather. We sport climbed for days and then to spice it up, added a long trad route, the first for both, to show them more than one pitch at a time. After the week spent climbing, we headed to the Red Rock Rendezvous. It was the 10th year of the festival, and it was awesome. The people and other athletes leading clinics were friendly and super stoked to be there. Friday evening I got to meet a hero of mine, Conrad Anker. As he gave a slide show after Gimp Monkeys, I was giddy talking to him and hearing his show. The Evolv stoke was high as my kids and Mychele passed out swag after the film, spreading the love and helping folks get ready for the next day.
The clinic days were filled with sunshine and laughs as we taught the new trad climbers the finer points of gear placements and just what that gear actually does. I thought it was sorta funny that as we talked about safety to these mostly newer climbers, both Mal and I sat before them, missing legs, and having bodies broken and busted by climbing! But in the same breath, we both spoke of our love for the sport and not being able to ever even imagine not doing it. One of the things I really like is working with new climbers. They have such a passion for climbing and are really only interested in the fun aspect of our sport. It rubs off on me and I’m always the better person for being near it. As day two came to a close, we snapped photos, exchanged emails, and all headed our separate ways, psyched to be back out in the hills, and already looking forward to next year.