It’s 3:30pm on a Friday afternoon, and I’m in Valley of Fire State Park taking a shower. That shower was direly needed (ha! the joys of dirtbaggery), but it also means I am running late - late for the ultimate climbing festival that is Red Rocks Rendezvous. I love climbing in Red Rocks, yet in the past I always avoided being there during Rendezvous time: you see, I’m not much of a crowd person; the idea of climbing and partying with 1000 of my closest friends that I haven’t met yet never seemed all that appealing to me. This year is different, thanks to a generous invitation from The North Face via the Gear Coop: here I am, on my way to a weekend full of people and celebrations after I spent the last several weeks in mostly solitary places. I’m a bit skeptical, but forward is the only way to go at this point.
And with that, I arrive freshly showered at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park just south of Red Rock Canyon. The park has exploded into a massive tent city; I am lucky to snatch one of the last parking spots for Eddie the Van. I make my way down to the main lawn area to say hi to the North Face team as well as a gaggle of Gearcoopers that have come out from Costa Mesa to partake in the climbing and general revelry. Before I know it, I find myself drawn in twenty different directions - turns out there is a familiar face around every corner. All a sudden my Saturday outlook has exploded from ‘no plans’ to ‘too many options’: Do I want to head out with TNF and the Gear Coop for a bit of multi-pitch? Or maybe go cragging at Calico Basin? How about some bouldering instead… and then thereare those anchor placement and safe bolting clinics at Spring Mountain Ranch that would be really useful; the idea of a group trail run sounds like fun, too! Or slacklining, or acroyoga, or… !
In the end, the decision is an easy one: the promise of a highline in Calico Basin leads me to ditch any climbing-related plans for Saturday. I only just started slacklining two months ago and keep falling off even the easiest groundlines, but the idea of highlining is incredibly appealing to me. Since I know lots of climbers but very few folks that rig highlines, this is too good an opportunity for me to pass up.
And just like that, one thing leads to another; all a sudden it’s 2am on Sunday night as I am dancing on Eddie the Van’s roof with a pirate and his girlfriend, long after most Rendezvous-goers have left to start their travels back to their day jobs. This is after two days jam-packed with slackline practice, hijacking a big-wall clinic or two, lots of sweet sunshine, even more free beer, awesome food, and lots of badass new friends. As the icing on the cake I walk away with a ton of shiny new toys from The North Face (who as one of the main sponsors of #livethatvanlife not only invited me out to the Rendezvous but also equipped me with an impressive amount of gear), loads of RRR swag, and to top it all off one of my high lining photos scored a $100 Mountain Hardwear shopping voucher in the #RRR16 photo contest.
On Monday morning Eddie is one of the last cars in the parking lot, and I slowly pack to start making my way back up north. I am looking forward to a few days of detox and solitude, but I leave Vegas with a huge smile on my face and glowing with happy memories. I have a feeling that this will not have been my last Red Rock Rendezvous…