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Rock climbers and outdoor enthusiasts alike will converge in Ogden April 12-14 for the sixth annual Ogden Climbing Festival. The Weber State University Outdoor Program teamed up with The Front, an Ogden climbing club, and Gear:30, an outdoor equipment store, to put together the community event.
To kick off the event on Wednesday night, local climbing enthusiasts and alpinists Shad Burnham and Brian Waters recounted their climb of the Cassin Ridge on Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America. The duo gave a presentation followed by a raffle at Slackwater, a pub and pizzeria in Ogden.
Burnham, who works at The Front, has been involved with the climbing festival for all six years. He said around 150 people came out to hear his and Waters’ account of their climb. The two survived the icy climb on 5,000 calories a day and humor. Burnham said it was a humbling experience.
“Brian pretty much had to babysit me to make sure I didn’t get hypothermia,” he said. “We were both pretty exhausted . . .”
Waters said the climb was incredibly windy, and at one point, he and Burnham were out of food and didn’t see each other for two hours while scaling the mountain.
Pre-event kickoffs include a free gear demo Friday evening at the Weber Rocks climbing wall, 5-9 p.m. The majority of the events will take place on Saturday at the Ogden Boulder Field. A bouldering competition, followed by a free barbecue and climbing clinics, will all lead up to the speech by festival keynote speaker Hayden Kennedy.
Kennedy, considered one of the all-around best climbers in America, will speak in the Wildcat Theater at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday. Kennedy has free-climbed El Captain in Yosemite National Park and won the Golden Piton Award for his ascent of Cerro Torre.
The WSU Outdoor Program leaders need the help of community volunteers for a trail restoration and boulder field cleanup project to be held on Sunday at 10 a.m. Parking is available at St. Joseph’s Catholic High School.
“The passion in Ogden especially is unreal,” Burnham said. “The trail cleanup is probably my favorite part — just being able to actually give back in what we do.”
Students as well as community members are invited to participate in all the climbing festival events. The WSU Outdoor Program provides year-round campus recreation and education. Students can rent equipment from the WSU Outdoor Program at a discounted price.