Justin Roth - "Pro" Blog 3

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Just Another Day in the OfficeVegas, Baby, I thought as I boarded the plane in Denver. Ticket in hand, camera in tow, and a bag full of rope, draws, and clean undies in the checked baggage compartment below, I was ready for the sunny sandstone and the hordes of adoring readers I’d encounter while repping the mag at the fifth annual Red Rock Rendezvous; March 28-30 — one of the biggest, most laid back climber events of the year.

I planned on skipping the casinos cause there’s nothing less fun to me than losing money playing a game I don’t understand, but everything else Vegas is famous for was on the agenda. Well, not the hookers, of course (I have a girlfriend)... and also not the nightlife (no dancing with sequin-clad divas on the elevated glass patio of Ghost Bar and doing body shots off the torsos of hammered spring breakers, I promised myself—not this time). But everything else.

To briefly recap: the online retailer Mountain Gear (mountaingear.com) put on the event, inviting climbers to party, mingle and check out some of the outdoor industry’s latest wares. Professional guides and climbers offered clinics in everything from bouldering, to setting up toprope anchors, to climbing photography for attendees. Food, beer, dyno and slackline competitions, slideshows, beat boxing, and music from a DJ in a giant solar-powered flying saucer were also offered to entertain. The event was smooth and successful (there was even enough food for all the hungry climbers who eat like they don’t know where their next meal’s coming from) all the way up till Sunday when, just after the pancake breakfast and eating contest, a gusty cold front laced with rain rushed across the outdoor venue, blowing huge tents, folding chairs, and small women about. People packed up their stuff, lest it be scattered to the boreal regions.

Kevin and I, faced with an empty event grounds, headed to the nearby Red Rock Casino (redrocklasvegas.com). I slipped a dollar into a game where I pushed buttons and watched glowing icons dance around the screen pointlessly until my hundred pennies were exhausted. Bored after 15 seconds of “high rolling” we took in the movie “21” (sonypictures.com/movies/21), about MIT students drawn by their smooth-talking professor (Kevin Spacey) into a Vegas card-counting scheme. (The theater was packed by tourists hoping to pick up some tips on how to beat the system.)

In the morning I zombied through the maze of barriers to the security checkpoint, feeling as if I’d died and awakened to a purgatory of eternal airport wandering—waiting in lines, drinking Starbucks, and surfing the free Internet until some divine being decided my ultimate fate. Of course I really just swept through the line, boarded the plane, and jetted home. From air there were perfect views of the mountainous desert surrounding Vegas, the red valley-ed vistas of Utah, and the snowfields and razor-backed mountain peaks of Colorado. Not bad.

Sunny in cool in Boulder today; just another day in the office.