OGDEN — This weekend, folks in Ogden will be climbing the walls — and the boulders.
The 12th Annual Ogden Climbing Festival comes to town this weekend, featuring two days of equipment demonstrations, competitions, clinics, service and stories. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday, and continues throughout Saturday.
Event organizer Daniel Turner, who is also the Weber State University Outdoor Program assistant director, says the festival offers something for everyone.
“This is a family-friendly event — bring out the whole family,” Turner said. “If you’ve ever had a desire to just know more about climbing, or increase your skill set, the Ogden Climbing Festival is the place to do it. There’s something for everyone, from beginner to professional climber.”
This year’s keynote presenter will be Sonnie Trotter, a professional climber from Canada. He recently made headlines with a first free ascent of El Capitan’s North American Wall.
“Sonnie has been a professional athlete for many years, and he’s very well known in the climbing community,” Turner said. “He travels around in a Scamp Trailer, with his wife and young children, all over the place. It’s kind of a unique spin, because he involves his family in all of this.”
Turner said Trotter is best-known for his “very technical ascents of trad (traditional) climbs.”
The Ogden Climbing Festival traces its roots back to 2007, when Turner — who had previously been organizing the Palouse Climbing Festival in Moscow, Idaho — moved here to work with Weber State University’s Outdoor Program. That first year it was called the Ogden Send Fest, and it was separate from another event — an arts festival started here by well-known alpine climber Jeff Lowe. The following year the two men decided the events should be combined, and the Ogden Climbing Festival was born.
“The arts piece of the festival has since gone away,” Turner said. “It’s now focused on education primarily, and outreach — building our Ogden climbing community.”
Turner said the beauty of the Ogden Climbing Festival is that participants can engage with it on all sorts of levels.
“You can go to the keynote speech and just sit there and be entertained,” he said. “Or if you’re looking for a more hands-on experience, we have all sorts of educational clinics, kids clinics, gym-to-crag clinics. There’s yoga for climbers, and a clinic for every skill level.”
One thing that’s new this year is the venue for the keynote speaker, according to Turner. Typically held at Ogden’s Union Station, this year the event has been moved to the new Monarch Building in downtown Ogden.
Turner said they usually get between 1,000 and 1,500 people at the festival each year. And, he says word is getting out.
“Our reach is becoming further,” he said. “I’ve noticed folks registering from out of state, who are passing through for the event.”
There are four main components to the 2019 Ogden Climbing Festival:
— Equipment Demo and Citizens Climbing Competition, 5:30-9:30 p.m. Friday at The Front Climbing Club, 225 20th St. Participants can try out climbing equipment from leading brands and register for the climbing competition, with thousands of dollars in prizes and raffles on the line. Admission is free.
— Stewardship Event: Trail Work and Crag Cleanup, 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, meet in the St. Joseph High School parking lot, 1790 Lake St. Participants will help improve access trails and prevent erosion in the Ogden Boulder Field and Schoolhouse Climbing area. Dress for the weather and bring gloves. A free lunch will be provided after the cleanup, courtesy of Lucky Slice Pizza.
— Educational Climbing Clinics, 1-5 p.m. Saturday at the Lower Ogden Boulder Field. Participants will be introduced to cutting-edge ideas and techniques. Registration is required, clinic costs range from free to $20. Check-in at the St. Joseph High parking lot.
— Sonnie Trotter, OCF12 Keynote Presenter, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Monarch Building, 451 25th St. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $30 for VIP tickets. The ticket includes entry in a raffle, food and beverage.
For more information, tickets or to register, visit www.weber.edu/ogdenclimbingfestival.