I had a great time at the 2017 Red Rock Rendezvous


Original Post
Doug Foust · · Henderson, Nevada · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 45

It seems like MP has just turned into a place for people to complain about things so I wanted to share my thoughts on the 2017 RRR.

First off, I do want to apologize that the list of crags was not published in a timely manner. We don’t take the impact lightly and I know all of the AAI guides work very hard to help everyone at the crag access the climbs they want to get on.

I completely understand people who climb to escape the mass crowds and be in nature, but we need to face the reality that climbing has become a mainstream activity and many people are taking up the sport every year. I think the RRR is a great opportunity for climbers to learn new skills and make new friends. Where else can someone learn from qualified guides and climbers like Peter Croft, Arno Ilgner, Elaina Arenz, Anna Pfaff, Leslie Timms all in one place?

Personally I make less money working at the Rendezvous than I do if I was just taking out clients out, but it is really fulfilling to teach new climbers climbing skills, influence them on LNT principals, see old friends and make new friends.

A few of the highlights for me this year:

Friday - Taking a Vegas local and family man up his first multipitch climb – his stoke reminded me why I love climbing so much

Saturday - Helping people work to overcome their fear of falling in a learn to fall clinic.

Sunday – Sharing the meetup wall with a bunch of super nice climbers that weren’t part of the RRR and helping people with their sport climbing skills.

Dealing with the weather – When the rain hit Saturday, the organizers worked closely with the BLM and decided to stop all the clinics and call it a day. A lot of consideration went into what to do on Sunday and it was decided to not use crags that we felt would not dry out well enough and to do no climbing until 10:30 that day to let the rock dry out. I thought it was a good decision and used the opportunity to teach people about the impact of rain on sandstone and the local ethics of when is ok to climb. I think this is a benefit to Red Rock that we were able to teach a thousand or so climbers by both talk and example of how the rock should be treated when it rains.

I really enjoyed the RRR this year and personally interacted with hundreds of people that seemed to be having a great time. I hope other people choose to share their good experiences also.

Thanks to everyone that worked to make this a successful event: Paul Fish, Phil Bridgers, Jason Martin, Joe and Kathy from the BLM, The SNCC and all the trail guides, all the other volunteers and everyone else that took part to make this run so smoothly.

Cheers,

Doug Foust
AMGA Certified Rock Guide
American Alpine Institute Instructor and Guide
SNCC Board of Directors 2009, 2013-2016
14 Year Henderson Resident

JSH · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2007 · Points: 926
Doug Foust wrote:When the rain hit Saturday, the organizers worked closely with the BLM and decided to stop all the clinics and call it a day. A lot of consideration went into what to do on Sunday and it was decided to not use crags that we felt would not dry out well enough and to do no climbing until 10:30 that day to let the rock dry out.
Seriously? You missed the "7" digit of "wait 72 hours after rain". You taught who knows how many people to utterly disregard that rule, and call it a "good lesson"?

Dude. Imma stop here, but ... dude.
John Hegyes · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2002 · Points: 4,290
Doug Foust wrote:I think this is a benefit to Red Rock that we were able to teach a thousand or so climbers by both talk and example of how the rock should be treated when it rains.
I've wondered how many people attend the Rendezvous, but I would have never guessed A THOUSAND! That is insane. What an enormous impact! That is way more than what this land should have to bear. But I'm glad you had a great time, Doug.
Doug Foust · · Henderson, Nevada · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 45

JSH,

Valid question, but I'm not sure where the "72 hour" rule came from. I'm guessing from winter conditions when it can be cold and cloudy for many days in a row.

With warm temps, wind and sun the rock can dry out pretty quickly after a short rain.

They were actually quite a few people out Climbing before us on Sunday including a few locals that I have respect for. When my clinic arrived at the meet-up wall we did ground school for two hours while other people climbed so hopefully did set a bit of an example that the condition of the rock was being taken into consideration.

Also the organizers chose not to use some crags at all that we thought would not dry out quickly.

Deciding on when the rock is dry enough to climb is subjective and I believe the decisions we made were sound reasonable..

Doug

Doug Foust · · Henderson, Nevada · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 45
John Hegyes wrote: I've wondered how many people attend the Rendezvous, but I would have never guessed A THOUSAND! That is insane. What an enormous impact! That is way more than what this land should have to bear. But I'm glad you had a great time, Doug.
John,

Just curious, how many climbers do you think are in Red Rock during the weekend this time of year? I would guess 400+ on some days. Your thoughts?

Doug
BigB · · Red Rock, NV · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 5

I too, think it was a bad example that was set by the RRR re: climbing after Sat's rain. Pretty much taught them "your paid vacation" is more important then the 24hr(min) wait time that SNCC/BLM try's to promote.(which ironically Doug you were/are the president of....and I a member)

From SNCC website regarding rain...

3. Wait at least 24 hours after rain before climbing.
This usually applies to thunderstorms that drop quick heavy rain on rock that is already hot and dry as in summer. Much of the rainwater usually runs off and soaks into rock at the cliff base or on ledges and shelves. Most cliffs dry in 36 hours with plenty of sunlight. In winter you may need to wait three or four days for the rock to completely dry.

didn't even follow your own roolz.....

Weston L · · Summerlin, NV · Joined Mar 2010 · Points: 738

For reference, data from the DRI weather station at the Red Rock Canyon NCA Visitor's Center

data

Doug Foust · · Henderson, Nevada · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 45
BigB wrote:I too, think it was a bad example that was set by the RRR re: climbing after Sat's rain. Pretty much taught them "your paid vacation" is more important then the 24hr(min) wait time that SNCC/BLM try's to promote.(which ironically Doug you were/are the president of....and I a member) From SNCC website regarding rain... 3. Wait at least 24 hours after rain before climbing. This usually applies to thunderstorms that drop quick heavy rain on rock that is already hot and dry as in summer. Much of the rainwater usually runs off and soaks into rock at the cliff base or on ledges and shelves. Most cliffs dry in 36 hours with plenty of sunlight. In winter you may need to wait three or four days for the rock to completely dry. didn't even follow your own roolz.....
Big B,

Actually, I've never been president of the SNCC and am not currently on the Board of Directors. I served 2009, 2013-2016.

I've never been a fan of "rules" but guidelines regarding rain and climbing. The one that I think is the best guide is "if the ground is wet, the rock is wet" The ground was wet when we hiked in especially in shady areas. By the time we started climbing, the ground was dry.

Cheers,

Doug
jersey girl · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 405

I have no vested interest in the RRR in any way- just a person who lives here for now and wants to climb as much as possible.

So what are the benefits to the local community? Not a benefit to clients, nor to guides, but how does the local climbing community benefit? It appears as if the community is severely impacted- loop rd closed, locals displaced, etc. So why let this event take place at all?( seriously not trying to start anything)

Forever Outside · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 150

I started climbing 3 years ago and went to RRR in 2015, it was pretty fun, got to lead my first trad climb in an intro clinic. Also a guy broke his toe (on top rope) in the "Fall Safe" clinic I did that year too. Was pretty pumped to go next year.

In 2016 I went back to RRR and new rules included NOBODY LEAD CLIMBS, even in the "lead climbing clinics" the Donkey's in the area were screaming and mating all night near the campground, it was "funny" for a minute but ultimately gross and irritating. A good friend of mine was also helicoptered out of the park when she slipped on an approach and broke her teeth and ribs. I left on the fence about the event.

2017, I did not buy tickets and between the festival restrictions building over my last two attendances, the recounts of camping in a wind storm dust bowl, and the poor weather, I couldn't be happier with my decision to make my annual spring trip to RR on an "off weekend"

So in all, I agree this event is really aimed for climbers in their first or second year of experience, but regardless, I always had and have this gut instinct that Phil Bridgers, the festival organizer doesn't really have sincere interest in climbing (Does he even climb bro?!??) And whomever said the organizers do not profit from the event must be joking. Oh well!

enkoopa · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 0

I flew in 6 hours to climb the last week. Sunday morning (Our second last day) we got up at 430, parked outside the loop at 540 and hiked an hour in to Crimson Chrysalis. By then the sun was rising. We found standing water on a boulder, and the ground was most definitely wet. You could also see patterns in the sand from what was more than just a sprinkle.

We debated ethics for 10 minutes, maybe we could let it dry for 2 hours... and in the end, figured we didn't want to be "those guys" who broke off a hold on a classic. Turned around and hiked back to our car. Went back to our airbnb, grabbed a coffee, and cragged at Gun Club for a few hours.

This was after getting shut down Saturday because of rain, and also only cragging Wednesday because of forecasts (never ended up raining, but couldn't commit to 6 pitches).

It was by far the hardest decision I've ever made climbing.

jersey girl · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 405
enkoopa wrote:I flew in 6 hours to climb the last week. Sunday morning (Our second last day) we got up at 430, parked outside the loop at 540 and hiked an hour in to Crimson Chrysalis. By then the sun was rising. We found standing water on a boulder, and the ground was most definitely wet. You could also see patterns in the sand from what was more than just a sprinkle. We debated ethics for 10 minutes, maybe we could let it dry for 2 hours... and in the end, figured we didn't want to be "those guys" who broke off a hold on a classic. Turned around and hiked back to our car. Went back to our airbnb, grabbed a coffee, and cragged at Gun Club for a few hours. This was after getting shut down Saturday because of rain, and also only cragging Wednesday because of forecasts (never ended up raining, but couldn't commit to 6 pitches). It was by far the hardest decision I've ever made climbing.
Thanks for sharing this.I think it speaks volumes!
FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 15

You can see from this thread that there are differing opinions on how long to wait after rain. There are several variables (wind, sun exposure to the climb, how much it rained) involved. No hard and fast rules, as far as I'm concerned.

I like the "If the ground is wet" assessment.

Paul Morrison · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 0

Weston, could you post a link to that information? I searched the WRCC for it without success. Thanks.

Adventure Chumps · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 5
Paul Morrison wrote:Weston, could you post a link to that information? I searched the WRCC for it without success. Thanks.
http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?wfo=vef&sid=RRKN2&num=168&raw=0&dbn=m

I heard the organizers checked in with Mr. Woods and he said the rock was "good to go".
BigB · · Red Rock, NV · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 5

Well played^

Royal · · Santa Rosa, CA · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 105
enkoopa wrote:I flew in 6 hours to climb the last week. Sunday morning (Our second last day) we got up at 430, parked outside the loop at 540 and hiked an hour in to Crimson Chrysalis. By then the sun was rising. We found standing water on a boulder, and the ground was most definitely wet. You could also see patterns in the sand from what was more than just a sprinkle. We debated ethics for 10 minutes, maybe we could let it dry for 2 hours... and in the end, figured we didn't want to be "those guys" who broke off a hold on a classic. Turned around and hiked back to our car. Went back to our airbnb, grabbed a coffee, and cragged at Gun Club for a few hours. This was after getting shut down Saturday because of rain, and also only cragging Wednesday because of forecasts (never ended up raining, but couldn't commit to 6 pitches). It was by far the hardest decision I've ever made climbing.
Good for you, sir! I lived in Vegas for several years, I can't count how many times rain ruined my climbing plans. That's life though. It's an even harder decision when you've made a trip on purpose. Hiking some of the summits in RR is an excellent thing to do when it's wet. It'll help when you're doing a walk off in the dark too. If you want to climb rain or no rain one should head to a destination that isn't sandstone.
Fernando Cal · · Long Beach, CA · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 0
enkoopa wrote:I flew in 6 hours to climb the last week. Sunday morning (Our second last day) we got up at 430, parked outside the loop at 540 and hiked an hour in to Crimson Chrysalis. By then the sun was rising. We found standing water on a boulder, and the ground was most definitely wet. You could also see patterns in the sand from what was more than just a sprinkle. We debated ethics for 10 minutes, maybe we could let it dry for 2 hours... and in the end, figured we didn't want to be "those guys" who broke off a hold on a classic. Turned around and hiked back to our car. Went back to our airbnb, grabbed a coffee, and cragged at Gun Club for a few hours. This was after getting shut down Saturday because of rain, and also only cragging Wednesday because of forecasts (never ended up raining, but couldn't commit to 6 pitches). It was by far the hardest decision I've ever made climbing.
Me and my climbing partner drove 4 hours from LA to climb. Ended up going to the southern outcrops, and climbed one pitch due to rain. Then we stopped climbing. No questions asked. We then decided to go and hike around calico and drove to the park entrance only to find it closed due to "the large crowds" according to the ranger. We left. Drove back to LA (6 hour drive) the next morning. Rain happens. We knew RRR was going on, but we have jobs and schedules and we know there are many risks in climbing, including being shut down by rain. Going back in two weeks, lets see what noaa has to say!

[EDIT] I still had a blast.
frank minunni · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined May 2011 · Points: 36

This is definitely not an event for the locals. It's easy enough to tell just by listening to local climbers, including myself, talking about where to go for the weekend. Typically, it's anywhere but here. Unfortunately this event happens during our peak season, between the winter and the heat. This year it was washed out I guess. But in fine fashion, people are coming up with "reasons" that it's okay to climb after the rain. The ground was wet but 2 hours later it was fine. Really? Pretty amazing how easy it is to justify.

By the way, I have a new health care bill that will be just great.

Doug Foust · · Henderson, Nevada · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 45
frank minunni wrote:This is definitely not an event for the locals. It's easy enough to tell just by listening to local climbers, including myself, talking about where to go for the weekend. Typically, it's anywhere but here. Unfortunately this event happens during our peak season, between the winter and the heat. This year it was washed out I guess. But in fine fashion, people are coming up with "reasons" that it's okay to climb after the rain. The ground was wet but 2 hours later it was fine. Really? Pretty amazing how easy it is to justify. By the way, I have a new health care bill that will be just great.
Frank,

One of the overlooked secrets of the RRR is that usually on Saturday and Sunday of the event, the canyons are pretty empty(except for first creek) One year I climbed Bourbon Street on the Saturday of the RRR and we were the only ones on Whiskey peak.

Regarding the conditions on Sunday, those are my honest observations and opinion, not just a lame justification. I can respect that people disagree, but I still think the "if the ground is dry, the rock is dry" guideline was applicable on this day.

Cheers,

Doug
jersey girl · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 405
Doug Foust wrote: Frank, One of the overlooked secrets of the RRR is that usually on Saturday and Sunday of the event, the canyons are pretty empty(except for first creek) One year I climbed Bourbon Street on the Saturday of the RRR and we were the only ones on Whiskey peak. Regarding the conditions on Sunday, those are my honest observations and opinion, not just a lame justification. I can respect that people disagree, but I still think the "if the ground is dry, the rock is dry" guideline was applicable on this day. Cheers, Doug
According to others on this thread the canyons were wet on Sunday and the loop road was CLOSED for a bit. And even IF the canyons had been dry it's crap shoot as to whether they will be empty or packed during the RRR...a long hike for a crapshoot in Vegas- perhaps there are better odds on the Strip?

As for the "rain rule"....that clearly has been thrown out the window by most locals via my firsthand observations.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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