Harness Up For Vert Fest 2013: Local Climbers Show Off Their Moves

Climbers from the Northwest and beyond will be swinging into town next weekend for Oregon State University’s 22nd annual Vert Fest on Saturday, Feb. 16, part of the Northwest Collegiate Climbing Circuit (cleverly abbreviated NC3). It’s a student-run, student-led climbing competition that the whole community is invited to take part in.

Ty Atwater, climbing coordinator at OSU’s Adventure Leadership Institute, said that the University’s climbing center is anticipating as many as 150 people this year; last year’s Vert Fest was the biggest to date.

“It’s always a mystery,” he said. “We get a lot of day-of walk-ins from the community. If it’s raining at Smith that will help.”

Taking a break from popular Smith Rock State Park for the day could be well worth a climber’s while—registrants are automatically entered into the raffle for gear from NC3 sponsors like Entre-prises, and new sponsor, Keen. Plus, the comp’s format is changing this year.

Vert Fest is returning to its traditional format featuring both bouldering and top rope climbing. Each climber will need to complete one of each, plus one more of either. Finalists from the advanced and open categories will compete in a lead-climb final. The format is unique among competitions in the NC3.

Doors open at OSU’s McAlexander Fieldhouse at 9 a.m. Climbers check in and get assigned to a heat—the first heat starts at 10 a.m. and the second at 1 p.m. Finals take place at Dixon Recreation Center at 4 p.m.

In addition to the competition, the Adventure Leadership Institute will be selling used gear including kayaks, ski poles, and climbing shoes at the event.

Students volunteer their time the day of the event to help keep costs low for participants. Preregistration is only $35 for students and $40 for the community. Registration increases $5 for both on the day of the competition. Spectators get in for free!

For more information, reach out to Ty Atwater at 541-737-5517 or ty.atwater@oregonstate.edu.
NC3 dates and details about sponsors can be found online at http://nwclimbingcomp.wordpress.com/.

by Lana Jones

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