WASATCH MOUNTAINS, Utah — The Salt Lake Climbers Alliance (SLCA) is a non-profit rock climbing advocacy group that hosts the annual Salt Lake Climbing Festival. This year’s event will be held August 27-28 at Solitude Mountain Resort. The festival includes rock climbing clinics on Saturday and Sunday, a big Saturday evening bash, seminars, and a schedule chocked full of events.
The climbing clinics, hosted by local guiding operations, range from introductory to advanced topics. Folks new to climbing will enjoy fundamental education clinics like the introduction to top roping with Park City-based White Pine Touring or Rock On! tools to become a better single-pitch climber with Park City guiding operation Inspired Summit Adventures. There are plenty of opportunities for seasoned climbers too, with clinics like rock rescue and aid climbing. Additionally, Inspired Summit Adventures, supported by the National Ability Center, is hosting the Salt Lake Climbing Festival’s first adaptive climbing clinic.
Registration for clinics includes a ticket to the Saturday evening party. However, the big celebration is open to all, and a Saturday night entry ticket includes dinner from Yoshi’s Japanese Grill, two drinks from Moab Brewery, Athletic Brewing, or Guayaki Yerba Mate, plus access to the art and vendor market, games, swag, and a lot more.
Cheyanne Bushman, the SLCA Event and Sponsorship Coordinator, describes some anticipated event highlights.
“A lot is happening at this year’s base camp,” she explains. “We have a couple of really unique seminars you can attend to prevent injury and learn how to properly warm up as climbers. The new climbing gym in downtown Salt Lake, The Bouldering Project, will facilitate yoga specifically for climbers. Kelli Harline, a Utah native, will perform a sound bath in the mountains for meditation and rejuvenation. Backcountry will be leading out a hike from Solitude Mountain Resort with a toast to the Wasatch with Moab Brewery.”
The music line-up includes four local bands. “On top of all that, the SLCA has some amazing vendors attending this year; which includes all of our favorite climbing gear companies, non-profits, and a local art market,” Bushman exclaims, “There is so much happening Saturday evening at the Climbing Festival’s Base Camp that there should be something for everybody to enjoy!”
Amidst all the scheduled fun and learning, the SLCA uses the festival as an opportunity to bolster and unite the climbing community. “Our main goal is to build up our community and create new relationships with one another that will ultimately… help us create more stewards of Wasatch for better crag citizenship,” Bushman states.
The event is open to people of all abilities and identities, with the intention of cultivating inclusion. “In a crazy world that is so busy and divided, I hope the festival can be an opportunity for individuals to have an unforgettable experience in the beautiful Cottonwoods and be able to escape for the weekend to celebrate life and the joy climbing brings to each of us no matter what our background and differences may be,” Bushman says.
The Salt Lake Climbing Festival is the SLCA’s biggest fundraising event. Every dollar raised aids the organization in achieving its mission to: “Serve as the unified voice of all climbers in the greater Wasatch region, engaging as an advocate to protect outdoor climbing access and as a steward to maintain sustainable climbing resources in the Wasatch and surrounding regions.”
“With the funds raised, we are able to use that money to facilitate more trail and anchor maintenance projects in the Wasatch. Which enables the SLCA to continually protect and make Wasatch Climbing sustainable and safe for all climbers to use,” Bushman explains, “Not only does the climbing fest help fund our mission, it creates the ultimate space to educate the community on safe practices, risk mitigation, and how we all can do our part to protect the Wasatch by being Stewards ourselves.”
Event sponsors are a big part of what makes the annual festival a fundraising success. Corporate sponsors donate climbing gear for the hourly raffle, which includes some big ticket items. “Raffle tickets are only $5, and the gear prizes range from crash pads donated from Black Diamond to outdoor wear from Patagonia or climbing membership gift cards from our local climbing gyms [including Momentum Indoor Climbing, The Front Climbing Club],” Bushman says.
“Our corporate sponsors are the backbone of SLCA Events. Without them, we financially could not support a festival, and there would be no vendor village,” Bushman says.
If the Salt Lake Climbing Festival isn’t already an end-of-August tradition, it’s not too late to register for this year’s happenings. Bushman encourages festival goers to “come ready to participate and socialize.”