Saturday, April 05, 2008

Parle Vous Rendezvous?

“This is a stopper and this is a cam, now go climb up there and look at how that gear is placed”.
Thus went my intro to trad climbing “clinic” at the Red Rock Rendezvous this past weekend. As it turns out, being a pro climber does not necessarily make you a great instructor. It does make you an excellent advertiser though, and it was clearly conveyed what company makes the best equipment. I will not mention names here because it’s been my experience that you never know who you might be having beers with down the road.

The top rope anchor clinic, on the other hand, was very well instructed. Kate Rutherford (see cover of April’s Climbing magazine), who clearly doubted her abilities to explain, did an amazing job. She covered RENE, taught us some great knots and was just a pleasure to be around.

Instructor and guide Paul Ivaska, of the American Alpine Institute, was also an exceptional instructor. Paul was part of the Uclimb event series that was associated with the Rendezvous weekend. Ivaskal, who claimed to be from “The Nissan Frontier, the back side”, was eerily mellow, but not in that burn out white kid with dreadlocks kind of way. He was super knowledgeable, humble, and created a comfortable, positive learning environment.

Taking place in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area outside Las Vegas, the Rendezvous was a great way to get out and learn some techniques from people who make a [likely meager] living climbing around on rocks.
The event also hosted gear demos, slack line and dyno competitions, tent destroying wind storms and tons of swag from some of the biggest names in the business. It was pretty entertaining to watch the Petzl booth next to the Black Diamond booth next to the Omega Pacific booth across from the Trango booth next to the Metolius booth, all working the crowds hard. I played with OP’s new Link Cam, which has an extra pivot point giving it an amazing range. It seems like a pretty good idea and it will be interesting to see if anyone else makes a similar product.

Silent and a live auction, as well as food proceeds during the event, benefited The Access Fund. I was shocked to learn from Brady Robinson, Executive Director, that only an estimated 1% of climbers are members of the Access Fund. That number is shameful, and if any climber reading this can come up with a good reason NOT to be a member, please let me know.

The only down side to the Red Rock Rendezvous, is that as a loyal customer, I felt a little adulterous for attending a competitor’s event. I’m still trying to scrub the guilt, and sand, from my skin.



Blogger powstash said...

Had I known you were there I would have hooked up with you for a climb or two. Then again, I was only there for Friday.

Great report. It's a great event, MG does a great job of putting it together. Glad to see you rockin' the goat while there!

4/09/2008 9:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Access Fund has done nothing to open Williamson rock in so cal after 3 years of closure. They have lost their way.
" if any climber reading this can come up with a good reason NOT to be a member, please let me know."

2/23/2009 1:44 AM


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