Apr 11 2012

Vegas

Tis the season for my annual trip to Vegas. Unlike most trips to Vegas of gambling and playing the different types of pokies games, watching shows, lavish hotels and parties, I venture to sin city for the Red Rocks Rendezvous climbing festival. If I want to play slot or table games, I can do so from the comfort of home using sites like the ones showcased on the Best Japanese Casinos Online website; I don’t need to make a special trip to Las Vegas to do this! All the showy aspects of Vegas are replaced with climbers, clinics, burritos, wind and dust. Instead of all nighters, it’s early to bed early to rise. It’s hardly the decadent buffet at the Belagio, but honestly I’d take being outside for fourteen hours over sitting in front of a slot machine any day. Perhaps I’ll find myself later in life pulling the seemingly soul and wallet sucking lever of the machine, but at this point in my life, I’m more than happy to walk briskly past them. I’m not sure if people ever get used to the sound of constant dinging, but I breath a sigh of relief when I’m outside in Red Rock Canyon.

This was my ninth trip to the Rendezvous, which is probably the west coast’s largest climbing festival, and one of the biggest nationwide. I’m always full of energy at the start of the festival, and tuckered out by the end, which is probably a good sign that good times are being had. This year I had the pleasure of climbing with some of the ladies from Zappos the day before the festival started. They are great supporters of Outdoor Research, and it was the least I could do to go play on the red sandstone of Red Rocks for a few hours. Most of the ladies had never climbed before, which made taking them climbing even more fun. Taking a first time climber climbing is like getting to show someone Disneyland for the first time – so much to show and say, but so little time.

I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much on a clinic day as my day with the Zappos ladies. They are some of the most enthusiastic new climbers I have ever met, eager to try anything and clearly going outside their comfort zone on the wall. Seeing their enthusiasm, or any beginner climber’s, is a great reminder to how much fun climbing is. After almost two decades of being a climber, things that have become mundane to me are the greatest thing in the world to them, not only giving them enthusiasm, but renewing mine. At the car, Natalie genuinely said to me, “best day of my life.” I’m pretty sure I had a smile plastered across my face for the next few days.

After the Rendezvous was over, I got to step into their world and take a tour of Zappos. It was a far cry from the vast canyon of orange, white and red sandstone, but it was an adventure in it’s own right. Unlike the typical American workplace of white walls encompassing a maze of grey cubicles, each Zappos room was a different color of the rainbow. Small cubicles were decorated like college dorm rooms, from casino themes similar to what you’d see at places such as คาสโนออนไลนไดเงนจรง มอยทน to beach themes, nothing was off limits. The CEO and upper management are thrown in the middle of the eclectic cubicle decorations, dawning a jungle theme of their own. Stuffy board rooms and secretaries are no where to be found. Instead a spontaneous afternoon basketball shoot off was happening in one room, and nerf gun target practice in another.

“You learn to work in any environment.” Sunday (one of my climbers and now tour guide) said while laughing. Simultaneously there were numerous tours of the company happening for the public, all while the employees were happily working away. It reminded me of a slightly smaller and more chaotic Google office. Perhaps that’s just because my visit coincided with the exuberant basketball shoot off.

As far as big companies go, it seemed like an awesome place to work; lots of freedom and flexibility mixed with energetic and happy co-workers, which is never a bad thing.

A couple days later I found myself back in Yosemite enjoying the wonders of my backyard. We have been getting some much needed spring storms, which have the waterfalls going and the dogwoods about to bloom. I’m off on another trip for a few days, but cannot wait to return to my home of granite, big trees and mountains when I get back.

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