craggin' classic

Castle Valley climber Jay Smith teaches clinic participants how to tape their hands at a past Moab Craggin’ Classic clinic. For this year’s schedule, go to americanalpineclub.org/moab-craggin-classic [Photo courtesy of the Craggin’ Classic]

Trad climber? Sport climber? Gym climber? Aspiring climber? The Moab Craggin’ Classic has a space for everyone in the climbing community.

“Everyone is welcome at the Craggin' Classic,” said local climber and guide Adam Fleming. “There are events and clinics specifically designed for folks with little experience or want to break into a new aspect of climbing. It is also a great place to meet partners and forge friendships.”

All levels of climbing abilities can find something to do at the event, held at the Spanish Trail Arena from Friday, Oct. 25 through Sunday, Oct. 27.

The Moab Craggin’ Classic is one of seven Craggin’ Classics put on across the country by the American Alpine Club to “gather the climbing community at world-class cragging destinations across the country to celebrate our fellowship, enhance our skills and education, and take ownership in preserving and caring for our climbing landscapes.”

The events for Moab’s Classic include clinics on different aspects of climbing techniques, a stewardship project, movie screenings, and lots of socializing with other climbers.

“If you've only interacted with other climbers in the gym or online, this event is a great way to make a real-life connection,” Fleming said.

The event begins on Friday, Oct. 25, at 4:30 p.m. with a kickoff party, bar, a raffle, games and evening entertainment.

Clinics throughout the weekend include “Off-Widths Are Beautiful” with Pamela Shanti Pack and Jay Anderson, “Intro to Crack Climbing” with Rob Pizem, “Movement Efficiency” with Marcus Garcia and many others. See a full list of clinics at americanalpineclub.org/moab-craggin-classic.

“There are numerous other useful clinics as well that can help you move from the gym to the outdoors, manage fear, crack climb, or other topics,” Fleming said. “All these clinics provide a low-cost way to get professional instruction.”

“The other big part of the festival is the stewardship project that we do every year to give back to the climbing crags,” said Elly Brophy, co-coordinator of this year’s festival. “Last year, we did trail cleanup to keep people from trampling crypto and the fragile environment.”

This year’s stewardship project is continuing trail maintenance with Grand County Active Transportation and Trails, Brophy said.

Local climbing store Pagan Mountaineering has attended the event since its inception, offering gear rentals to visiting climbers and handing out swag and discounts for event-goers.

Pagan Mountaineering owner Andrew Jonas said that the store was excited to have a booth and become “even more of a community point of contact for people climbing or travelers coming through to climb for the first time in Moab.”

Film screenings and musical performances are a few of the ways the Craggin’ Classic provides entertainment for when participants are wiped out at the end of the day.

On Friday, Oct. 25, climbers wiped out by a day of clinics can kick back and watch “REEL ROCK 14,” which features Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold as they climb El Cap and Nina Williams as she climbs into the no-fall zone of highball bouldering.

Saturday night will feature the film “Adaptive” at 6:30 p.m. The film features Maureen Beck, a professional climber and one of the 2019 National Geographic Adventurers of the year, as she attempts the first adaptive ascent of Lotus Flower Tower, located in the remote Cirque of the Unclimbables within the Northwest Territories. Born without her lower left arm, Beck is an advocate for people with disabilities in climbing and will also teach a climbing clinic during the Classic.

“This event is planned almost entirely by locals,” said Brophy, “and because this is a nonprofit fundraiser we depend a lot on our volunteers. It’s really cool that there are a lot of people around that want to support the cause.”

Anyone interested in volunteering can sign up by emailing Volunteer Coordinator Emily Sukiennik at emily.sukiennik@icloud.com.

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