ClimbingRace Ahead: 2014 Climbing Events

Race Ahead: 2014 Climbing Events

Blue Ridge Mountain Sports Boulder Bash
Richmond, Va., May 16-18

The sport of bouldering has become one of the top attractions at Richmond’s annual Dominion Riverrock Festival. The bouldering competition attracts climbers of the topmost caliber such as Sasha DiGuilian and Daniel Woods. The feature is a man-made 20-foot high and 30-foot deep bouldering cage made from metal, wood, and fiberglass. The steep angles and limited smearing make this contraption one of the most challenging competition bouldering walls in the country.

Beg, Borrow, and Steel
Oneonta, Ala., June

Inspired by climber Tyler Willcutt’s “idealist intention to ‘fix the south,’” Beg, Borrow, and Steel gives climbers a chance to compete for a cause. Alabama-bred, Willcutt created The ACTION (Alabama Climbers Taking Initiatives On Needs) Fund to help replace faulty hardware and bolts on climbing routes across the country. This event focuses primarily on the needs of his home state’s crags, but he’s known to pay out of pocket to replace aging infrastructure in some of the country’s most prominent climbing destinations. With belly flop competitions, inflatable jousting, arm wrestling, a lot of BBQ, and of course a lot of climbing, this event not only promotes Willcutt’s vision but also defines what it means to have a good ol’ time.

Slade, Ky., October

Held annually to help raise funds for the Red River Gorge Climbing Coalition, this fall event is quickly gaining reputation as more than just a bouldering and roped climbing competition. With daily yoga sessions, movie screenings, climbing clinics, local music, and delicious food, Rocktoberfest is three days of rockin’ good times all-around. All proceeds help the RRGCC to maintain trails, improve access to crags, and maintain parking lot conditions throughout the year.

Raleigh Rampage
Raleigh, N.C., October

Hosted annually by the Triangle Rock Club, the Raleigh Rampage is part of the American Bouldering Series and brings an energetic turnout of both climbers and spectators. Held at the new North Raleigh location, the 16-foot bouldering wall is littered with top-notch routes and problems that test even the strongest climbers.

Triple Crown Horse Pens 40 Competition
Steele, Ala., November 1

Three states. Three bouldering areas. One winner. That’s the way of the Triple Crown Bouldering Series, a competition that stages three different events in the top bouldering spots in the Southeast: Hounds Ear in Boone, N.C., Stone Fort in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Horse Pens 40 in Steele Ala. Often shortened to the HP40, this northern Alabama park is home to some of the oldest naturally exposed rock in the world.

What Happened to the ‘Vous?

Water Stone Outdoors co-owner Maura Kistler knows the history of the New River Gorge Rendezvous probably better than anybody else, with the exception of fellow Water Stone co-owner and Rendezvous organizer Kenny Parker. Together, Kistler and Parker have helped run this local climbing festival for a total of 10 years (with a one year hiatus in 2012). The event brought climbers from far and near to celebrate not just the New River Gorge but the climbing community in general. According to Kistler, though, the festival proved to be a source of tension between the local climbers and the National Park Service. She says the future of the ‘Vous is now uncertain at best.

“Our relationship with the Park Service is really important to the New River Alliance of Climbers, and we need to make sure everything we do is in compliance with that relationship,” Kistler says. “We’ve been talking about bringing the Rendezvous back every three years because we don’t want to stick a fork in it, but the yearly New River Rendezvous is definitely done.”

Although this comes as disappointing news for the local climbers and businesses in Fayetteville, W.Va., Kistler says there is talk of collaborating to host another climbing event in the not-so-distant future.

“We’d like to keep the dream going,” she says, “but we’re really looking at the next local, younger generation to step up and take it over.”

Best of the Rest

Float the Boat
Atlanta, Ga., January 18 •

Rock and Rave
Atlanta, Ga., March 8 •

Sand Rock Hoe-Down Clean-up
Sand Rock, Ala., March 15 •

Dixie Rock 25
Chapel Hill, N.C., March 28-29 •

Carolina Crush
Raleigh, N.C., April 26 •

Chattanooga, Tenn., October 3 •

Triple Crown Hound Ears Competition
Boone, N.C., October 4 •

Triple Crown Stone Fort Competition
Chattanooga, Tenn., October 11 •

Steele, Ala., October 25 •

Fall Flash Fest
Asheville, N.C., November •

Crimpin’ Crazies Climbing Competition
Durham, N.C., November •


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