1,500 attend Aussie climbing fest
The weekend of October 17-19 saw more than 1,500 people attend the revived Australian Climbing Festival at the Katoomba Convention Centre in the Blue Mountains.
Last held in 2007, the three-day event featured a packed line-up of local and international speakers in addition to the Oceania and Australian National Bouldering Championships.
Speakers included adventure icons Greg Mortimer, Tim Macartney-Snape and Dick Smith as well as Andrew Lock and Tim Cope. Photography and filmmaking workshops with Simon Carter and US-based climber Cedar Wright proved popular, as did a debate on the sexiness of climbing.
The event also included a tribute to the late John Ewbank and a tradeshow featuring leading gear suppliers.
Victorians James Kassay and Claire Langmore were crowned overall winners of both Open (over 16s) events, beating climbers from as far afield as France, Canada and Singapore.
Climbers from New South Wales dominated the Masters (over 40s) competition, with Karen Allan taking out the women's top spot and Phil Staples the men's, while five separate junior classes saw up-and-comers from other states stand out.
Festival organiser Gemma Woldendorp said: “It was great to have really packed houses and we’ve had amazing feedback from everyone.”
Robert LeBreton, president of Sport Climbing Australia, added: "It was the biggest boulder competition we've ever had in Australia, both in terms of the number of participants and the crowd that was there to see the show.
“We had die-hard mountaineers, aid and traditional climbers watching as the competition boulderers did their stuff, while competition climbers queued up to meet the traditional climbers to listen to them speak.”
The festival, which was made possible by around 500 hours of volunteer contributions and raised more than $1,500 for Crag Care, is set to return in 2016.