Alli Rainey: Two Climbing Festivals In Two Weeks
The first two weeks of July in Wyoming brought with them two climbing festivals – the Ten Sleep Climbing Festival first, followed by the International Climbers’ Festival in Lander. prAna ambassadors and Bighorn Climbers’ Coalition board members Alli Rainey and Kevin Wilkinson represented prAna (along with Petzl and Scarpa) at both events.
Ten Sleep Climbing Festival
2014 marked the 16th year for the Ten Sleep Climbing Festival – but it was the first year that it morphed from a grassroots, informal gathering of climbers somewhere in the woods up in Ten Sleep Canyon into a formal event and fundraiser for the local climbing organization (LCO). The year-old Bighorn Climbers’ Coalition (BCC) (www.bighornclimbers.org) – which just received its 501(c)(3) status, making it a federally recognized nonprofit organization – organized and held the climbing festival down in town at the recently opened Ten Sleep Brewing Company (www.tensleepbrewingco.com).
This year’s “Always free, always fun!” climbing festival fit in nicely with the greater town festivities, which include a two-day rodeo, fireworks, a parade (in which the BCC had a float), and two nights of dancing in the streets after dark. Held from 5 p.m. until about 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 5, the Ten Sleep Climbing Festival featured vendor tents (including prAna), a fantastic gear raffle with goods donated by climbing companies and local businesses, food and beverages for sale, and live music provided by the awesome band, Primary Source.
The brewery estimated an overall attendance throughout the evening at 300 to 400 people. For more on this event, check out the 2014 Ten Sleep Climbing Festival Report (http://bighornclimbers.org/2014-ten-sleep-climbing-festival-report/).
International Climbers’ Festival
The 21st annual International Climbers’ Festival (ICF) (www.climbersfestival.org) took place in Lander, Wyoming from July 9 through July 13. This multiday festival featured an array of events, including numerous presentations from climbers of note, climbing clinics, shoe/gear demos, and a trade fair with tons of fun games, gear giveaways and a dyno comp, among other goings-on – all for the incredibly low price of $55 per person for an all-access pass.
We staffed the prAna tent at the trade fair, talking to folks who stopped by about prAna, handing out stickers and catalogs, and donating the prAna items on display for prizes. The trade fair was hopping with activity, as always – tons of games and contests kept people excited and occupied, guided by the solid emceeing prowess of Timmy O’Neill. Entertainment highlights included the tug ‘o’war, the arm wrestling contest (in which Kevin demoed his previous experience as a competitive arm wrestler), and of course, the dyno competition.
On Saturday, we rallied at Wild Iris to teach a fall-safe clinic, assisted by another climbing athlete, Tyler Wilcutt. Our full clinic included 10 brave souls who impressed us with their willingness to trust, learn and fall! By the clinic’s end, everyone had taken numerous lead falls and safely caught numerous lead falls. Fear was replaced by excitement and joy as the potential to safely sport climb without being focused on the fear of falling started to become a reality. This is always such a fun clinic to teach, as participants visibly become more relaxed and at ease with both catching falls while belaying and taking lead falls in a relatively short period of time. Thanks to all the participants for their inspiring effort!
If you didn’t make it out to Wyoming for these two awesome events this year, or you missed one or the other, we sure hope to see you at both festivals next year. The 2015 Ten Sleep Climbing Festival will likely take place in the evening on Saturday, July 4, and next year’s ICF will take place July 8 through 12. Happy and safe climbing until that time!
~Alli Rainey, prAna Ambassador