On the second day of the Rendezvous, S, L, K in Ohio and I all signed up for the same clinic. I somehow convinced them to participate in a trad-focused clinic called Get Up and Rock. With a name like that, it was bound to be amazing, right?
Get Up and Rock: “Basic trad techniques for ALL ABILITIES. This course addresses basic traditional skills for beginner to advanced level climbers. gear placement, cleaning gear” (Red Rock Rendezvous).
The other half of the group went to an Aid climbing clinic – returning super excited to put what they learned into practice.
The clinic was not what I thought… and exactly what I was looking for all at the same time. It just depended on which of our guides you happened to be hanging out with. (I wish I could remember their names, but I can’t, it’s been well over a year, so I’ll just refer to them as Guide #1 and Guide #2).
Guide #1 trad lead a route and set up a top rope for us. We were given the opportunity to climb the route at a slower than usual pace, taking time to inspect his gear placements. Some of the climbers who signed up for this clinic were very new to climbing and he took the time to make sure they had a good experience. For my climb, I did a mock lead. The guide provided a catch on top rope, and one of the new-to-climbing participants learned how to lead belay.
Guide #2 spent the time teaching us knots that are critical to trad climbing. Figure 8. Now tie it one-handed. Fancy! We tried it, it’s as hard as it looks. Figure 8 on a bite. Prusik. Double fisherman, tying two ropes together. Clove hitch. One handed clove hitch. Way easier than the one-handed figure 8. Guide #2 really knew his stuff and was a natural entertainer. Not only did he teach us the essential knots, he attempted to teach us to tie them quickly and with flair!
While we were on the trip to climb, our group really enjoyed the day “off” to learn new skills. L, K, and I spent some time comparing scrapes and bruises from the past few days. Our badges of honour. Laughing that, somehow, they seemed to almost match. At this point we were bruised, scraped, caked with desert sand and sweat, smelly, in need of a hair wash, and covered in chalk. We’ve never looked so beautiful.
We’d been travelling, hiking some of the most grueling trails we’d experienced to date (at the time), climbing hard, eating too much junk food, stuffing ourselves at all-you-can-eat buffets and sleeping too little. The rest day with a gorgeous view was just what we needed.