Monday, April 11, 2011

Red Rock Rendesvoux

A few weeks ago we all loaded up and headed for the warmth and sun of Las Vegas, a welcome excursion from the cold and snow at home. The Red Rock Rendesvoux is a rock climbing festival down at Red Rock Canyon. We'd ridden our road bikes out there but never climbed, so were excited to get on the rock and also learn some new stuff in the clinics we'd signed up for. but have a quick precursor story. Those who know me know that Annie's a lucky girl - not just because of my looks and figure, but because of my nurturing and put her first nature as a partner - you know, husband of the year type thing all the time. How do I do it - how great is it for her being married to me you ask? Let me give you an example from this trip.

We pulled into the festival around 7:00 pm after hitting the road right after the kids were out of school. The day before leaving, a friend called, and as this small world is wont to work, was also going to be in town while we were down there. I told him I'd give him a ring when we got there, and if things worked out, we'd try and get together for some go fish and old maid.

So where was I - we pulled into the festival base camp out past Red Rock Canyon around 7:00 pm. It was overcast with a little bit of wind, but warm relative to what we'd left in SLC. We got the tent set up, got checked in for our clinics the next few days, met some folks, and had everyone tucked in around 10:30 for the night. All things you should get done before heading out with your friends if your husband of the year type material. So once the kids were down and Annie confirmed she was good for the night - I left to catch up with the old friends over some cards, which may be second only to riding bikes as a means of catching up with people. They were staying at the Palazzo so that was the meeting spot. By the time we packed it in, there had been no "Hang Over" type absurdities about the night, we'd had fun, most didn't leave any poorer, and we told lot's of stories and laughed a ton. I'd had a great time. Then, while walking to my car, I checked my phone and got that husband of the year feeling. There was a text message from Annie. It was short and precise "wind broke tent poles and blowing it down, getting cold, please come help"............. She'd sent it about 3 hours ago.

It was about a 30 minute drive back out there, went fast, and about got blown off the road a few times on the way out - the wind was absolutely ripping. I pulled in, found the station gate into the festival area closed, figured out a way in with the car, and saw the carnage. Tents against fences, tents ripped off half their stakes getting shredded, and some tents holding up pretty well.

I parked and ran over to our tent expecting to find 3 terrified fatherless kids and 1 pissed off wife. The tent had indeed suffered a few broken poles, but had stayed intact enough to serve it's purpose. Sidewalls were folding during the strong gusts, enough to hit you in the face while laying down, but they'd bounce back up and the tents integrity as a shelter was holding up for the most part, for which I was both relieved and grateful - Annie and all three kidlets were asleep. Blow up mercifully avoided, could have been real bad had the rain blown in while I was gone with the car - the only back up shelter we had. My wife is a saint.

Untitled from Jason White on Vimeo.

Wish I could say it got better for the climbing, but it didn't. The winds continued to rip, the rain would come on occasion, and it was cold - not the weather we had hoped for. Our clinics were good. I was taking a trad class, wanted to learn more about protection placement, equipment, and technique. Learned some cool things and discovered a new to me piece of equipment I'm fond of called a tri cam. My instructor was named Malcolm and the guy was a wealth of experience and know how. The guy had founded Trango, a small climbing gear company that he'd sold a few years back. He also climbed on a prosthetic leg. He'd lost the original to frostbite in an Alpine accident, a story you don't get to hear told by the victim very often. Needless to say I was fairly captivated by what he had to say and teach us, despite the poor weather. There were gusts that very nearly blew me off the wall while I was on my route - it was sketchy at best.

The festival was what you'd expect at a rock climbing gathering, a mix of hippies, vagabonds, hobbyists, blue collar, white collar, and just about anything else you can think of. The cool thing about rock climbers is there's no pretense, no ego's, none of the blowhard type stuff you get in some circles. The bankers eat dinner with the hippies and both say goodnight thinking the other one has parts of life figured out better than themselves - it's both a mellow but intense cross section of people - we dig it.

The kids did some hula hooping, slacklining, and tree climbing - they're not as soft as the adults, weather never even crossed their mind other than sand in the eyes. My favorite times with the kids are when we're out in the bush somewhere, living out of the tent, with nothing but their imaginations to dictate how we spend our day.

Not really much about the climbing to talk about - learned some stuff, but stayed off the rock when we weren't in our lessons. Had some climbing pics but can't find the camera I took them on. We headed into town for days 3 and 4, stayed at Mandalay where Kylie body surfed for about 6 hours straight one day. Kylie trying to teach Mom how to time the wave for the best ride - Mom's a little early.

Wasn't the great climbing trip we'd wanted - the weather has managed to conspire against us on each attempt we've made to get away from it thus far this year. Plenty of outings scheduled this year so hopefully our luck changes - great times being had either way though.


eber said...

somewhere Steve Dame is swatting hopelessly at that tent in his face.

if i'd have pulled that stealth run with the fellas, I'd have been grounded for a month.

if you ever want to head down to zion for a trad trip, let me know. i'd love to go.

eeeeeeeevilbanks said...

Ha ha---I was wondering if this story was going to end up on the blog. Good stuff man!

South County Ciclista said...

I am surprised there was only 1 text message instead of 1 every minute during the 3 hours.