For the past three years, the final stretch of summer has been marked by one event: Outdoor Retailer’s summer market in Salt Lake City. I’ve attended for the past three years, and it’s become one of my favorite weekends. OR Show is the perfect cacophony of business mixing with pleasure, free beer interrupting meetings, reuniting with old friends, and partying with the industry.
I road-tripped out to Salt Lake City with Laurie from Outdoor Women’s Alliance – we took the Wyoming route on the way out, and the southern path along I-70 on the way back (to accommodate some much needed camping after the convention). The first night celebrated old friends with a dinner hosted by Columbia Sportswear, and then it was time to get down to the dirty work on Thursday with meetings and coffee dates. Broke up the hustle of appointments with free tacos and shirt screen-printing at the annual outdoor mini-festival held by Keen – and then it was quickly back to work.
On Thursday evening, one of my favorite people in the industry, (the man, the myth, the legend) Billy Brown surprised me with an extra pass to the advanced screening of Reel Rock’s Valley Uprising film. Spoiler alert: it was awesome. I’m one of the first people to get all crotchety and jaded about Yosemite Valley, but this film was so powerful it actually made me want to return to the park to climb. Definitely a must-see when the final cut is released!
By mid-morning on Friday, I was totally over the convention center. I didn’t schedule any appointments that afternoon, so my dear friend Adriana scooped me from the Salt Palace to go do a little climbing in Little Cottonwood Canyon with new friends Mary (go check out her photography right now), and her boyfriend Carlo Traversi.
But first, behold Adriana and Steven’s epic climbing set-up in their garage:
When Adriana and I tossed crash pads on our back and headed towards the trail, I realized something really not okay: this was the first time I had been bouldering outside since my trip ended in late January. Whoa, dude. Never again! I foolishly left my climbing shoes behind, and borrowed a pair of rentals from the climbing gym that were not up to par – oops. Thankfully, Mary lent me her Dragons (which I am now totally in love with).
There were no sends for me that day, but just being back in a boulder field sussing out beta and cheering on my fellow climbers felt oh-so-good. We projected a sweet V4 called Twisted for a few hours before everyone had to retreat back to the convention center downtown.
I reluctantly returned to the Salt Palace to finish up my last day at Outdoor Retailer, and made a few more rounds of socializing before it was time to head out to Park City for the Psicobloc climbing competition finals. Adriana hooked it up with all-access passes for Mary and I, and the three of us had a great time tailgating in the parking lot and cheering on the competitors. The energy at the event was palpable – I loved it!
The next morning, I capped off my visit to Salt Lake City at the #hikerchat meet-up hosted by Teton Sports and Backcountry Tees. We feasted on burgers, chased pups, and did a little SUP in the park pond before Laurie and I said our goodbyes to the crew and hit the road towards Moab. Naturally, I couldn’t leave town without a visit to In & Out – how is that special sauce so tasty?
Thanks to a recommendation from Beth of 3Up Adventures, Laurie and I decided to camp at Sego Canyon near Moab for the evening. We drove quite a few miles down a well-maintained dirt road past petroglyphs and abandoned ranches to the mouth of Sego Canyon. The perfect campsite beckoned us to pitch our tents under a beautiful tree, and we both slept like babies once the sun went down.
The next morning we woke up, munched on a few tortillas, and packed up camp. The drive back to Denver took forever thanks to the predictable weekend traffic along I-70. I love living in such an active, outdoorsy state, but it’s such a pain when everyone is trying to head back to the city from the mountains on a Sunday evening. It took us over an hour to travel 17 miles!
Now it’s back to Denver city life for a few days until I jet out to Miami on Friday!