Las Vegas Red Rocks is a vortex that WeighMyRack keeps getting sucked into. It started on a long Thanksgiving weekend two years ago as an escape from the Seattle rain. Just 5 months later, in March, we arrived again to attend our first Red Rock Rendezvous climbing festival. It happened to be the 10th year anniversary and the number of excited attendees, the clinics taught by an impressive roster of pro’s, and the incredible support from the industry all came together in a well-organized and lively event.

That first year, WeighMyRack went to some captivating clinics. Andreas learned about rigging for climbing photography from Petzl’s main climbing photographer Jon Evans. On the classically overhung Cannibal Crag, sponsored Petzl climbers lapped 5.12’s the entire day, while the clinic participants got in position to snap some excellent shots. For kicks, the athletes also took huge whippers for the camera.

Cannibal Crag Red Rocks      Cannibal Crag Red Rocks

This is a good time to note almost all the photographs in this post are by Jon Jonckers, including these taken at the Cannibal Crag.

Alison had the pleasure of joining the aid climbing clinic run by El Cap Pirate Ammon McNeely. A teacher at heart, Ammon was incredibly helpful and encouraging as he guided aid-newbies through the ropes. Added bonus: Ammon brought a haulbag full of gear that he commonly uses on El Cap routes for participants to dig through, and cheerfully answered any questions, including the most basic: “What’s this?!”.

Ammon McNeely Aid Climbing Red Rock Rendezvous

That first year WeighMyRack joined the rest of the non-local attendees and pitched our tent in the large free camping field. We happened to score a campsite near the front gate which inspired us to set up a sign covered in free stickers. In the midst of so many campers it was also easy to find willing takers for our first round of Grab your Nuts and Go t-shirts.

Tent area at Red Rock Rendezvous
Our rogue marketing in 2013. In 2014, the same area was sectioned off for paid sponsors.

In addition to a multitude of clinics, there are a myriad of events at night. The biggest hit is the dyno comp (MC’d by the dynamic Moses Alanis from Metolius, seen in the photo at the top of this post). Even if you’re not a dyno expert yourself, you can’t help but cheer on the finalists as they launch themselves, mostly for your entertainment.

The booths chock full of climbing gear seem endless as you walk around the transformed State Park. To keep the excitement going, almost every booth has a game or competition to win free gear (hint: start practicing your rope coiling skills now!).

Omega Pacific Quickdraw Competition Red Rock Rendezvous
Contestants race the clock to put together Omega Pacific quickdraws

And, often touted as the best part of the festival: free beer, thanks to New Belgium. It’s a common occurrence to walk toward the beer truck and pass by a handful of pro climbers you never thought you’d have the chance to meet. The free beer also contributes to the lively bidding during the Access Fund auction, a great cause to support.

New Belgium Beer Red Rock Rendezvous

Going to the Rendezvous festival is a great excuse to come to Red Rocks. It can be a little windy, but it’s totally worth the clinics, food, friends and skills gained. If not for the festival activities, come for the stoke and the world class climbing. The level of energy is unbeatable with so many enterprising climbers experiencing new thrills. I hope this festival continues far into the future as it’s a great way to increase the positive vibes between the experienced and the next generation of stoked climbers.

Red Rock Rendezvous 1

    Red Rock Rendezvous 2

All photos by the talented Jon Jonckers (except Ammon and tent photos, by WeighMyRack).

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Alison Dennis

Alison Dennis

Alison (she/her) runs WeighMyRack from her 17' travel trailer. She is currently touring the US and would love if you contacted her to meet up to talk about climbing, climbing gear, or if you have any fun and/or ridiculous adventure in mind.

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