Desert Rock Sports is the total package, or, rather, a part of the total package. This niche climbing shop has been the epicenter for Las Vegas climbers for more than 25 years. Current owners Travis Graves, Mike Lorenzo and Steve Mallory met at the store years ago while Travis was an employee. In 2005, the three of them partnered to purchase the shop, as well as the adjacent indoor climbing gym, and Red Rocks Climbing Guides service – an extension of Jackson Hole Mountain Guides. Between the shop, the gym and the guide service, they can outfit, educate and introduce climbers, new and old, to an enormity of world-class climbing just down the road.
The shop is relatively small – picture a 1,200-square-foot shoebox. “It harkens back to the niche climbing shop,” said owner Travis Graves. The ceiling itself is a display zone for much of the climbing merchandise. Encompassing the worlds of camping, backpacking and canyoneering as well, the store is brimming with clothing, packs, ropes and everything from ‘biners to stoves to portaledges. The little free space they do have hosts a leather couch, coffee table and wi-fi, just enough for traveling climbers to suss out weather conditions and gather beta on the area. “It’s a very intimate environment,” says Graves. “It’s very much got that 80s and 90s grainy, climber feel to it.”
The shop prides itself on stocking all sorts of gear. If a product has anything to do with climbing, chances are Desert Rock Sports will have it. Living so close to Red Rock, as well as Zion, climbers of all disciplines have access to otherwise obscure tools for big wall, aid, or other highly specialized canyoneering enthusiasms. “We’re definitely a specialty niche store with lots of hard to find items,” says Graves.
Twice a year Desert Rock Sports helps sponsor events for the climbing community. Every fall they set up their annual Halloween bouldering competition for those who like to stretch their tendons to the limit. And in the spring, they put on a similar climbing competition – a slide show and BBQ that benefits the Access Fund, as well as the Las Vegas Climber’s Liaison Council, an organization dedicated to ensuring climbing access, encouraging stewardship of the environment, and cultivating a sense of community in a world-famous climbing destination.
Not bad for a self described “old school” climbing shop.