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Young man climbs over 60 floors of Aria Resort and Casino to protest COVID-19 mandates

Senior Reporter

Just as Nevada got a taste of freedom after the lockdown, mask mandates went back into effect Friday, this late June. Not many are happy with the reinstated regulations, but very few attempt to push back against the retrogression. However, a 22-year-old man named Maison Des Champs took it upon himself to make a statement, quite a shocking one too. After losing his grandfather to suicide during the lockdown, he began to protest against the government’s infringement on freedom. This Tuesday, Des Champs climbed 60-some floors of the Aria Resort and Casino’s exterior to send a message.

Young man climbs over 60 floors of Aria Resort and Casino to protest COVID-19 mandates
Not an actual image of the protest climb. Image: pixabay.com

Risky urban climbing with purpose

Nevada has called for people to mask back up this late July. In accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, face coverings are now required in indoor public spaces in 12 of Nevada’s 17 counties that have high COVID-19 transmission rates. Vaccinations are being forced indirectly, workers have to pay for weekly testing if unvaccinated, and even those with a jab have to muzzle up. Every day people don’t have sufficient powers to stand against the government in that regard, and disobeying the law leads practically nowhere at this point

Thankfully, there are still some who have a backbone tougher than diamonds and sturdier than spider silk. A young Las Vegas man named Maison Des Champs shook up the media after completing a risky 60+ free climb on Aria Resort and Casino’s exterior to protest Nevada’s COVID-19 mask mandate in his grandfather’s honor.

Last year’s lockdown took a severe toll on people’s mental health, as an essential aspect of humanity was ripped away from individuals across the globe. The lack of socialization and the inability to engage in everyday life activities resulted in countless suicides, addiction spikes, crimes, and more. Amidst the involuntary 2020 entrapment, Des Champ’s grandfather took his own life. The soul-crushing event prompted the young man to honor his beloved family member by taking a stance against Covid-related sinister infringements.

Des Champs endured mental warfare throughout his lifetime and knows better than most what it’s like to constantly wrestle with suicidal thoughts. As opposed to his grandfather, Des Champs made it through the oppressive lockdown period without giving in to the self-destructive ideas. By the grace of God, he discovered an outlet that strengthened his spirit - climbing.

“I would like to refrain from further detail, but I will say the only thing that kept me from doing it was God. When I signed up for college, I did it to make my parents happy, I didn’t expect to live through the summer. Luckily that summer I took a job in Yosemite National park and I discovered the beauty of the mountains and the joy of rock climbing...Like many other people, the lockdowns caused me to re-examine my mental health, I luckily pulled out of it, but unneeded damage was done. Later in October following the lockdowns and just To make matters worse my grandfather committed suicide. It was hard. Not just because of his passing, but because of the way it happened,” he shares on Instagram.

Finding an outlet with a healing aspect amid mental struggles is an effective way to evade destructive actions. But what’s even more powerful is using the newly acquired release to combat corruption. The young man went full force and took a stance against the freedom-choking mandates. Not only that, but he is encouraging Americans to stand up for what’s right despite the government’s upper hand advantages,

“...Like many others, I have lost a loved one, and like many others, I would like to see life get back to normal. No more mandates, no more masks. People are suffering. Politics have gotten in the way of not only freedom but public health. Staying inside should be a personal risk assessment, why should someone who is young and healthy be forced to risk their mental health just so they can hide from a cough? Enough is enough. We as Americans must stand up for personal freedom and stand up for mental health,” Des Champs added.

While the US is still far behind other countries when it comes to tossing people in jail for such “disobedience,” individual social media accounts are being blocked, reported, deleted on a daily basis. Those who dare to speak about the underlying horrors of the pandemic events face harsh public criticism and are labeled as “conspiracy freaks.” With that said, Maison Des Champs is walking on thin ice to fight for justice, and it is worthy of recognition.

Aria Resort and Casino’s exterior meets lionheart

Maison Des Champs spent a year preparing and scouting before completing a mind-blowing, 60-some story rope-less climb up Aria Resort and Casino’s building. The 600-foot building was located on the Las Vegas Strip, where the audience’s presence would be certain on any day of the week. This Tuesday, Des Champ’s action statement against Nevada’s COVID-19 mask mandate took place at about 5:30 am.

Half an hour into the climb, an individual inside Aria Resort noticed the young man - immediately reporting him to the police. Sure enough, police arrived at the unforgettable scene and waited for the climber at the top of the building as he was only 30 feet away from the goal. Sure enough, he was arrested and booked on misdemeanor counts of trespassing not amounting to burglary and disorderly conduct and released by noon the same day.

Thanks to the said audience, the incident was captured on video and became viral across social platforms. What’s more, is that Des Champs used his phone camera to record a 1-minute message right as he was climbing, which shows the reflection of his face in the building’s window and a glimpse of the distance between him and the far-away ground. The gorgeous sunrise illuminating the sky was a cherry on top, to say the least. The hero posted the video on his Instagram four days ago, which has now reached 11,955 views.

“...We have to say enough is enough,”
 Des Champs proclaimed in the video.

In the minute-long clip, he also mentioned that the climb is conducted in order to raise awareness of another protest at 8 am on August 14, outside Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino on the east side of the Strip. Although the upcoming protest won’t involve any activities of this sort, he strongly encouraged the viewers to join in order to fight for the cause.

After being arrested, the young man stated that he was aware of the potential risks and went through with his plan, expecting that not everyone will be on board with what he is doing.  However, he went through with the climb regardless of the aftermath. When asked why he took the risk, he confidently replied with: “Because this is important to me.”

The expected criticism

While Des Champ’s Aria Resort and Casino climb received thousands of supportive comments across social media platforms, especially from the young, free-spirited fans, the event also prompted a considerable amount of anger and judgment from offended viewers. Some were furious with the concept of the protest, while others were angry with the “promotion” of reckless acts. Media reports also had side-eyed input on the happening, claiming Des Champ’s impulsive behavior is setting a bad example.

Las Vegas Police Department Captain, Dori Koren, was present on the rooftop during Des Champ’s arrest. Later after the incident, Koren posted a Tweet with the captured footage along with the following statement,

“Yesterday, our officers faced another unique challenge…this time being an #UrbanClimber ascending 60+ floors. This reckless act is extremely dangerous & very illegal. That’s why our team was ready to rescue & arrest the suspect.”

While the protest climb was an unbelievable statement, it was, in fact, dangerous. Des Champs reassured the public that his next protest wouldn’t involve suchlike moves. Nonetheless, the young man is eager to continue pressing on with the anti-mandate movement.

WARNING

While Des Champ’s story displays a passionate concept and an outstanding example - climbing buildings without safety repercussions is illegal and extremely dangerous. One minor slip-up can lead to certain death. Urban climbers suffer fatal consequences despite years of experience. Do not, under any circumstances, attempt anything of this sort. However, attending and supporting the protest outside Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino on the east side of the Strip on August 14 is an effective way to effectively support the cause.

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