Once again this year, I went to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show. Last year
I only got a single morning of climbing and a terrible afternoon stuck waiting for
delayed planes. This year, I figured I'd get two full days of climbing and miss the
rush to get out of the city by flying late. I was wrong and you'll see why.

As it turns out, the sales team who I work with are all poker players. The first thing we did when we got together
in Vegas was find the poker rooms. Here, I'm showing off one of the only profits that the team made: I won money
for the first time in Vegas - $100! It's all about the Benjamins!

This is my sale guy Joe Yi. I took this picture because he very rarely has a beer in his hand.
And I'm not just saying that because his wife might find this! Joe's a great guy actually, and he's good fun to work

A better picture of Joe and Scottie Sudderth, our guy in Texas.

The troublemakers - Les, Dave Hanrahan (now married ladies, so tough pajamas), and myself. I think
we're at the Nine Fine Irishmen in New York, NY, here.

Les and Scott. The rumour was that Scottie didn't want to get a room in Vegas because he waited too long
and he didn't want to have to pay $350 a night. His solution to this was to bunk with Les (his boss).
Naturally, we all made wicked fun of him and passed along the word that Scottie was looking for a raise.

A great picture of Evil Dave Hanrahan.

Dave and the crazy dancer at the Nine Fine Irishmen.

Les and I chilling out in the casino.

My friend Jeff Hemphill flew into Vegas to climb with me. Of course, he also wasn't expecting it
to snow in Vegas. But, even though we couldn't climb, we still got out and hiked around in Red Rocks.

A great sign at the trailhead of the Red Rocks trails.

Snow is sort of odd in southern Nevada since it's still fairly warm out. It's a little tough to
dress to the right layer. This was my effort.

This shows how often Vegas gets snow. These are cacti covered in snow.

Jeff, looking at the backside of White Rock Springs. I'm pretty sure the "White" in the title was not
referring to snow.

A view back towards the city that doesn't sleep. What we learned is that it may not sleep, but when it
snows, the city definitely creeps to a standstill.

Very snow-covered canyons. We were not to get any climbing in here.

Instead, we went back to the city and found the roller coaster at New York, NY. This picture
is immediately before I was asked to "please get off the roller coaster and place your
camera in a locker, sir." The moral of the story is wait until you leave the platform before
you snap pictures when on a roller coaster.

This is in the Mandalay Bay casino. Jeff was giving me the tour and somehow this happened to be a
major spot.

Instead of hanging out in Vegas another day, Jeff and I headed north to try our luck in Zion
National Park, about three hours north of Vegas, in Utah.

On the way to Zion, we found a small abandoned town called Virgin. Naturally, we pulled in for a closer look.

Apparently Sunday mornings are reserved for the big hangings.

Not sure what goes on in the Virgin jail, but it made me smile. Hotel Virgin behind it is also amusing.

As we drove into the Zion National Park (be advised in summer you can't actually drive into the park
just due to the sheer number of tourists there), we were completely awe-inspired. This is a view
into one of the many side canyons that jut out from the main Zion Canyon. The park is open to
private vehicles from Nov 1 to March 23, and the rest of time you're stuck on the shuttle buses.

Jeff, obviously thrilled with the view. Zion is an ancient Hebrew word meaning a place of refuge or sanctuary.

Since this area typically only gets around 2 inches of precipitation in a month, Jeff and I's visit to Zion is
rare in that we could see quite a number of waterfalls coming off the cliffs here.

Another great shot of the side canyons, this time with me in the foreground.

Normally, this waterfall wouldn't be much more than a trickle.

At the far end of Zion Canyon, near the Temple of Sinawava, Jeff found himself a shower.

Jeff lathering up.

The name of this rock is the Great White Throne. I thought it was appropriate to get a pic of Jeff
when he's not bowing down to the Great White Throne.

Similar to the shapes found in Arches National Park, the rock at Zion erodes to show the arch structure
within it.

Jeff and I decided to take a short hike up to Angels Landing. The trails are incredibly well-maintained,
prompting me to wonder if they had been resurfaced (seriously, the trails were paved in most places).
My thought here is that the trail had been redone to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act,
but I would NOT want to be pushing a wheelchair up that high. This picture is showing some of the
water all over the trails.

About now Jeff was reminding me how happy he was that he had a Gore Tex layer on (I didn't). Sheets and
sheets of water were coming down the rock.

This is a neat part of the trail called Walter Wiggles. These are some serious switchbacks dug into the
rock, and then paved!

Once we got above the switchbacks though, the trail sort of petered out. From here, it was more like
mad scrambling across wet slippery cliff sides. Thankfully, there were chains on some of the sections here.

Jeff, enjoying some of the security afforded by the chains. I can't even imagine being on this trail
in these conditions without the chains.

Jeff and I at the top of the West Rim. The Angels Landing trail heads off along the top of the ridge visible
to Jeff's right. Nice job on getting the camera centred Paul!

This shows a bit of the trail. From the left side, it drops about 2000 feet to the valley floor.

This is straight down on either side. This was also as far as Jeff and I made it. We decided that
we'd leave the ice-covered rock for another day.

At this time, my boots were completely saturated with water, the trails were getting worse, and it was time
to turn around. My thoughts at the time were, "Hmm, if we don't turn around, Jeff might fall off the
cliff, and then there's no way that Lisa, his fiancee, is going to make me cookies." That sealed the deal.
We turned around then.

View down into the canyon from the top of the West Rim.

Jeff, getting rained on as we're hiking out.

Nice view looking back into the canyon from the top of a waterfall.

Jeff wasn't altogether too thrilled with having to run through the shower. I said,
"Jeff, I'm wearing a fleece and you have a Gore Tex shell on. Suck it up."

So he did.

This is the Great Arch of Zion that is visible as you climb out of the park to the Mount Carmel tunnel
and towards the East Entrance into the park. For more information on Zion, please visit the
National Park site HERE or the Winter Visitor's Guide HERE

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