A weekend in the desert filled with climbing, partying, and learning from the top athletes in the sport? What’s that, you say? A pancake breakfast, too? Yes, your dream climbing getaway does in fact exist.
For the last 13 years, Mountain Gear founder, Paul Fish has made it his company’s tradition to bring together thousands of climbers from all over the world for the Red Rock Rendezvous —an annual celebration of climbing set amidst Nevada’s gorgeous Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area.
And for good reason, this climbing event (the largest in the country) completely sold out. With over 1200 participants at this year’s festival, the #RRR16 felt like the Coachella of climbing—the must-attend event attracting an impressively diverse mix of climbers with enough food, beer (thanks New Belgium Brewing!), music, and shenanigans to keep a village of climbers stoked all weekend long.
Quite literally, the site of the festival’s events—the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park—turns into a mini climber settlement for the weekend; covered with RVs, tents, and some of the coolest built-out climber vans you’ve ever seen.
Uniquely, the RRR also serves as one of the best climbing festivals for beginner climbers, or those ready to transition from the gym to the crag. From complete first timers to seasoned veterans, like Hans Florine, Alex Johnson, Ethan Pringle, and Peter Croft (to name a few)—the Rendezvous welcomes and embraces climbers of all levels.
Not only does the RRR offer an array of one-on-one entry-level clinics with top athletes and guides, but you can also participate in more specialized workshops, covering topics like offwidth, self-rescue, and big wall climbing techniques.
If you didn’t catch your favorite pros in a clinic, you more than likely crossed paths on the trail or at the Saturday night BBQ and dance party, powered by the funk jams of Polyrythmics this year.
And let’s not forget about the awesome event sponsors, who gave out plenty of swag, hosted feat-of-strength contests (including a lock-off battle), and let climbers demo their gear throughout the weekend.
Maybe the coolest aspect of the Red Rock Rendezvous though, is its direct impact on the climbing community. Beneficiaries of the event include Access Fund, American Alpine Club, American Safe Climbing Association, and the Las Vegas Climbers Liaison Council—meaning funds, including from the silent auction, go towards conserving our treasured climbing areas, such as Red Rock.
Since the first Rendezvous took place in 2003, Paul Fish has made it a mission to create the best event for climbers.
I don’t care if it’s the biggest climbing festival out there, but I do want it to be the best.
Whether you come to complete your ticklist of Red Rock classic climbs or to brush up on some new techniques, you’re guaranteed to leave the Red Rock Rendezvous with new friends, new skills, and an elevated stoke that will surely get you to your next rock adventure.
All photos: Natalie Siddique