Zach Lerner: Pro Team in Vegas

Once again, the annual Mad Rock pro-team climbing trip did not disappoint. Like previous Mad Rock team trips, several of the globe’s strongest boulders converged upon a world-class bouldering destination for several days of climbing, shooting visual media, and refining Mad Rock’s latest and greatest creations. This year’s locale: Red Rocks, Nevada. This year’s roster: veteran comp killer Rob D’Anastasio, resurgent crusher Peter Dixon, new-school power house Michael O’Rouke, French champions Melanie Sandoz and Guillaume Glairon Mondet, new kid on the block Sean Bailey, and myself.

A considerable amount of time goes into evaluating and refining Mad Rock gear. After many internal revisions, we, the athletes, get to take the gear through the paces. From climbing shoes to crash pads, we get the opportunity to make sure the latest models are up to snuff. For me, the standout shoe for performing on the hardest boulders Red Rocks had to offer was the Shark 2.0 due to its sensitive yet precise toe and heel. Close runner-ups were the Redline and Mad Rock’s newest model, the Pulse. Also on this trip we got the opportunity to test Obe Carrion’s new crash pad design, the Stomping Ground. The perfect balance of cushion and coverage, I can’t wait to get my own.

Heading into Black Velvet Canyon.

Red Rocks as been receiving a considerable amount of hype recently, and I have to say it didn’t disappoint. Local Andy Raether of Menagerie Climbing was gracious enough to tour us around. The standout feature of bouldering here are the “lines”. You walk up to a boulder and think, “I want to climb THAT.” There’s a ridiculous amount of potential here and I expect the area to keep increasing in popularity. The highlights of the trip for me were watching Peter snag a sneakily quick ascent of Reflecting Pool, V13 and Guillaume making extremely quick work of every V12 around. Oh, and getting my ass up Wet Dream to finish off the trip wasn’t too bad either.

Adios Vegas.