Lander International Climbers' Fest 2016 Boulder Bash
words by Erin monahan
photography by carlos romania
The Lander International Climbers’ Festival 2016 started off with a casual bang...
Athletes, volunteers, and dedicated climbing bums hailing from the East coast to the West, gathered at the Cabin Boulders for the Boulder Bash. Goal Zero team members, Ian and Lisa, brought solar power to shed light on the problems as this was an evening boulder session under the stars. Five Ten came through with swag and the festival also provided hungry climbers with pizza, beer, and La Croix (for those who like their water fancy).
Bouldering in Lander -say what?!
David Lloyd, local climber and bouldering guru, has hunted down and established all of the bouldering in the Lander area. Having written the guidebook with help from climber and talented graphic designer, Ben Sears, Lloyd is an incredible source of knowledge and inspiration. Lloyd generously helped organize the event, and showed everyone around, including athletes Jon Cardwell and Chelsea Rude who brought their ferocious pup, Puma. Around 8pm the try-hards and top-outs began.
ABOVE: Top Left: John Cardwell utilizes his sticky, Spiderman-like fingers and toes to power his way up Mr. Bigglesworth (V5). Top Right: A crusher sinks a heel hook. Bottom Left: Chelsea Rude chalks up and talks beta. Bottom Right: Party-goers come for the boulders and stay for the beer.
The Cabin Boulders are pleasantly varied for the beginner and skilled climber alike. After parking at Bruce’s Parking 3.8 miles up Sinks Canyon, we hiked two minutes along the road south, and then accessed the even-keeled trail. The granite erratics make up the most popular boulder garden in the Lander area because of its concentrated nature.
The Cabin Boulders were the perfect spot to kick off the festival. Lander local and festival organizer, Emily, did a fantastic job of welcoming the party-boulderers to the area. Climbers were beyond psyched to receive free pizza, and all the beer and La Croix they could stomach. Like vultures on roadkill, they cleaned out the box of Five Ten swag. No chalk bags or neon Five Ten Tees stood a chance.
As the night progressed friends were made and a small group formed around the North Face of the Twitch Boulder. Some worked the Ship’s Prow (V3). Chelsea Rude and Josslyn Corredor, from Kinetik, floated up this heel-hooking route. Ashley, who got her start climbing at her local YMCA nine months ago, made quick and easy work out of it as well. Some sat under Mr. Bigglesworth (V5). Galen Peterson, from Kinetik, was able to execute the dyno on Cherokee Dudes, which bumps the V5 up to a V7.
With beer and music everyone remained relaxed, low-key, and friendly, as climbers usually are. Though no one spoke of politics, there was a quiet, unspoken “Anti-Trump” vibe, which helped everyone feel closer. It was apparent that everyone tried a little harder knowing that underneath it all, grades aside, we shared that common “Anti-Trump” bond and ethos.
The night ended with a crash pad giveaway from Kinetik. A lucky dude and dudette walked away with a free, waterproof crash pad from this Made-in-the-USA company. Shannon was stoked to win the pad because now she doesn’t have to rely on borrowing her friend’s, and she can go bouldering lone-wolf style. The plight of many rope climbers: the necessity for a partner that won’t short rope or drop you.
Half a keg later, a group of considerate climbers helped to ensure the boulders were cleaned up of any forgotten solo cups or pizza crust. Who doesn’t like the crust? I mean really.
Descending the trail at 11:30pm, scant of light pollution and cell service, Sinks Canyon is immutable proof that frequent doses of wide open spaces are a necessary element of living a rich and healthy life. Climbing is a peculiar activity in that at the same time that we push ourselves to climb harder, we are frequently reminded by the landscape to step back and see the forest through the trees. Taking us out of our elements and our routines, the places we explore demand that we step outside of ourselves. We must be careful to not let our minds get warped in the brutal exploitation of climbing through obsessing over who climbs what. The star-filled night sky took the celebrity out of climbing and allowed everyone to commune over a common love for challenge and adventure. This set a rewarding tone for the week’s festivities ahead. Let the clinics, free swag, beer guzzling, and climbing lingo rants BEGIN! Where’s Chris Kalous when you need him to rant about aid climbing? Oh, you bet he’s here!