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VT Climbing Festival Recap

Posted Monday, October 25, 2021

From September 24-26, 2021, the Climbing Resource Access Group of VT (CRAG-VT) held its third annual Vermont Climbing Festival. Cochran's Ski Area and climbing in Bolton ("the land of boulders and bears") make for an awesome venue. 

The first year (2019) was an impressive feat of festival organization, led by an all-volunteer team. So much was learned, and the second year was sure to grow... and then COVID shut down the possibility for a 2020 in-person event. Like we all did, CRAG-VT pivoted, and created a great virtual festival, bringing legendary speakers onto the screen from England (Pete Whittaker) and Yosemite (Ron Kauk). In 2021, CRAG-VT hired its first Executive Director, Lauren Greco, who worked tirelessly to bring an even better, back in-person, outdoor festival to our climbing community. 

During this year's festival, Petra Cliffs guides led 9 outdoor climbing clinics with 36 particpants, from Intro to Climbing to more advanced Trad and Rock Rescue skills, to Women's Multi-Pitch climbing. It was awesome! Thanks to Tim Farr, Paul Brown, Steve Charest and Andrea Charest for sharing their expertise and passion for climbing. 

Other highlights of this year: the Friday night fireside "Climber's Storytelling," led by Bill Patton; peaceful camping; amazing food truck breakfasts and dinner; pro climber, North Face Athlete and presenter Anna Pfaff; a crack wrestling machine built by CRAG-VT VP Mischa Tourin; a dyno wall (see that story below!); and the incredible DJ Kanganade keeping the crowd energized. 

CRAG-VT worked through some challenges of materials and commitments as the festival drew closer. When the dyno wall from the first festival suddenly fell through, there was a scramble for materials and volunteers to build a new wall. This past winter, we removed a climbing wall from the Maple Wind Farm barn in Huntington (see that brutal process here!), and we were happy to give it a new life as the "Donny Wall" comp wall. Over three days, several volunteers built a new free-standing frame, and the wall served its purpose very well-- dozens of dyno competitors, trying hard on dynos set by Metrorock, to the beats of DJ Kangande

Thanks, CRAG-VT, for bringing the community together through this festival. We are always impressed by what a crew of voluteers can do, and by the kindness and camaraderie of climbers. We can't wait for next year! 

Last month, we joined CRAG-VT for the 3rd annual Vermont Climbing Festival. The festival featured camping, climbing, workshops, clinics, competitions, speakers, music, and more. It was so fun to hold an outdoor gathering again, and we are looking forward to next year!