Saturday, July 17, 2010

The International Climber's Festival

The second leg of my trip involved going to the International Climber's Festival in Lander, WY. The main reason for me going there was that the Solid Rock Climbers for Christ National Conference was being held at the same time and place. We did this on purpose so that we could have a presence there and do an outreach for the event. We were going to do this by feeding the climbers burritos.

I arrived in Lander on Wednesday afternoon. After registering for the festival, I made my way to the park to hopefully meet up with Calvin and his crew. They were no where to be found. So I set up my tent next to what I hoped was theirs and proceeded to be bored for a few hours. The coolest part about Lander was that you can camp in the city park for free for up to three days. Where else in the US can you do that? After a while, it was time to go to the first event of the festival, a talk by Arno Ilgner. Those who have never heard of him, he wrote a book called the "Rock Warrior's Way." It deals with the mental aspect of climbing. He then gave a presentation on applying those principles to climbing. After an hour, the presentation ended and I found Calvin at the presentation. We then went to grab some food and begin preparing for the week.
Lander City Park

The first day, our crew went to Wild Iris to climb. It is at a higher elevation than Lander so it was cooler up there. After climbing a few warm ups, Calvin and I met up with Paige and Jonathan who were climbing a route named, Hot Tamale Baby 11d. I took a go at it, but was stumped by the reachy crux on pockets. Calvin then gave it a go. After a few falls, he made it up to the top. I then got on to figure out the moves. It was hard. After that, I went over to a 10a sport route that Brad and Torrie had left draws on. I was planning on getting them back. I start climbing. The beginning is a bolted crack. I get about 10 feet up, and while trying to get in position to clip the bolt, I slip out of the crack and hit the ground. Luckily I felt my hand slipping so I was prepared to hit the ground. After the fall, the people next to us though I had taken a harder fall than I had taken and expected me to be hurt. I was not hurt at all. My ankle felt a little tender, but was fine. I then got back on the climb and managed to make it to the crux. There I had trouble reading the route and had to rest on the rope. I managed to get through the crux and make it to the top. After that, I figured I was done for the day. But Chris, Torrie, and Brad managed to get me to climb another 5.9. Then the other Brad came with Heather and they were planning on getting on a 12b called Rising From the Plains. I then gave that route a go on top rope. It starts off with a very thin and technical slab. It then goes into a roof with larger holds. I made it all the way through the slab before coming off. Then when I got to the roof I had some troubles with the reaches. As I neared the top, my finger, which I had injured this past spring at Smith Rock, started to bother me. Therefore, I decided to stop climbing and end the day.
Heather on Rising from the Plains

The next day, Torrie and I went back to Wild Iris to film and photograph Paige and Jonathan. I was basically sent along to help set up the fixed line for Torrie to hang on. After meeting up with them, Torrie and I headed to the top of the bluff and began to set up our line. It was quite a challenged getting up there. We had to do some easy 5th class climbing and finding cracks to build and anchor proved difficult. After finally building the anchor we rapped down and Torrie began to get his camera gear ready to shoot. He ended up hanging on that rope for a few hours while Paige and Jonathan climbed multiple routes in the area. After he was done shooting, I jugged up the rope and took down the anchor. Then I had to climb back down the way we went up. It was much scarier going down. I was waiting for a hold to break. If that would have happened, I would have had a nasty fall. Luckily, that didn't happen. After that, we got one more climb in and then headed back to town for the evening.

On Saturday, we showered then got to hear from Steve Hughes (one of the board members and an expert on evangelism in today's society). After that, we began to prepare for the burrito feed. We had to chop veggies and get the beans ready. After one cut finger and a massive blister, the preparation was done. We then headed to the park to get ready to serve the people. The feed went well. Many hungry climbers showed up and enjoyed the massive burritos. After the burrito feed, Torrie and I headed to the showing of films from the Telluride film festival. The films were very good. Even the one on trout fishing in Kamchaka. My favorite was on Alex Honnold free-soloing Moonlight Buttress and The Regular Northwest Face on Half Dome.

Sunday we were blessed to hear from Paige Claassen speak about her life as a climber and Christian. After that we headed up to Sinks Canyon for one more day of climbing in the Lander area. I was not very motivated to climb, so only got in a few pitches. Then we went to a former climber and member of Solid Rock's house to shower. It was nice getting to get cleaned up and to get to know someone. That was our last day in Lander. The next morning we would get some work done on the internet and then head to Ten Sleep.

I will soon have a post up about Ten Sleep and Devil's Tower. In that post you will hear about whippers, Australians, Johnny Bravo, and a bull.

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