Keepin it real-reflections from the Red Rocks Rendezvous
24th Mar 2011Posted in: Blog 0
Keepin it real-reflections from the Red Rocks Rendezvous

Who have I become???  As I sit on the floor of the Vegas airport, plugged into my laptop, I reflect on a beautiful sunny day in Vegas that I very nearly allowed to slip by sitting on the computer and not getting outside…despite having numerous partner options, a car and a well rested nights sleep in a hotel.  What have I become?  I’m bummed about the minor nuisance of a delayed flight home to Calgary, my skin is clean, I have no bruises or cuts and I even am wearing a new shirt I bought on my drive down Charleston.  Its not like I’m embarking on the 26 hour drive back, tired, in my overstuffed truck ready to pull over sometime around midnight at a rest stop that looks reasonably “safe” to try and get a few hours in before continuing the solo drive back north.

Red Rocks was pretty much the birth place of my outdoor climbing career.  I stumbled upon a group of friends heading this way at the end of my 4th year of University at Lakehead and the 4 of us crammed our way into a truck and made the long drive down.  At the time, camping was still free in the dust bowl across from the gypsum mine and groceries were selected on a price and necessity basis, not a preference and  health choice, and there was really only one choice for beer..PBR.  Climbing days were filled with maximizing pitches, although at the time, not being very efficient, this probably didn’t equate to too much climbing after all! Evenings were also maximized with free shows on the strip, and saving pennies for an all you could eat buffet.

the crew 1996


Since that trip, I have returned to Red Rocks, countless times.  Great memories with Kim C, climbing classic long routes, working for NOLS and St Lawrence University and many many other trips with friends.  The past 4 years I have also been coming for the Red Rocks Rendezvous on behalf of Outdoor Research.   This is a pretty amazing festival that hosts over a 1000 climbers, a big party and many clinics over the weekend.  This is also when I started to ask myself…who have I become???


Marc, Kim and I (Lilla taking picture) after Epinephrine

Kim on Levitation

The weather was, well, not good. It was cold, with some rain and a great deal of that never ending wind. Lisa and I sat in the Jeep waiting for the bus to unload with our “climb like a girl” group and thinking there would be no way anyone would show up in weather like this.  When the bus unloaded and everyone filed out, I found myself amazed.  Why would anyone “choose” to climb on a day like today?  Happy smiley people exited the bus, some even in shorts, and all of them ready and eager to get on the rock!  When did I get so jaded??? Rest days used to be the bane of my existence…what would I ever do on a REST day??  If I spent more then 3 days not climbing something, I would quickly go into my Jeckle persona and be a rather unpleasant person to be around. There was always something to climb when the weather was bad…some over hang, something super easy…and if nothing else, the gym.  How could I have strayed so far from this passion to question the motives of these super psyched participants??

Having dinner with another OR athlete, I watched him work through the free chips and salsa on the table despite being already served his meal.  There was a method to the madness…it wasn’t that he LOVED chips and salsa…it was more that he knew that could fill him up enough, so that he could save his meal for dinner.  A “true” climbing addicts money saving ways.  Hey, if you can live off of one meal for a whole day, then maybe you can extend your climbing trip by one day?? Maximizing on the free samples at the Coffee bean and tree, accepting any other campers leftovers and giveaway food offerings, photocopying the guidebook in the library and fitting 10 people onto one campsite is the way of the climbing addict. I can’t seem to motivate towards the crag these days without a double Americano from Starbucks!  What have I become….?

These days I work full time guiding.  I love my job.  I am one of the luckiest people alive!  A good friend of mine reminded me the other day when I complained of the temps and conditions, that I sound tired and not myself. She reminded me of the passion I used to exude.  Today as I headed out to get a few pitches of climbing in, it hit me again.  I love climbing.  I may love it in a different way then I did when I first started, but I still really love it.  Touching the cold rock today, searching for the next hold, feeling gravity pull as I went above the bolt (reminding me how out of shape I was), the urge to continue upward was still enormous.  I needed to know what that next hold was like…i needed to figure out how to move my body to reach it…I wanted to hold on long enough to get to the chains…I wanted all these things as much as I always had.

I guess all passions wax and wane…psyche comes and goes with changing seasons, workload, partners, and being in and out of shape. Thanks to all those who reminded me this past weekend at the Rendezvous how good I have it, to be able to climb everyday… and to never take an encouraging partner, a warm piece of rock, a sunny day or a free meal for granted:)



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