Climbing News: A Roundup of What’s Happening Out There

Story 1: Outdoor industry heads vs. state of Utah

In response to backlash against President Obama’s designation of Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah, two leading figures in the outdoor industry—Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and Black Diamond founder Peter Metcalf—aimed criticism at Utah politicians in recent op-eds.

The resistance to the new monument comes from an array of high-ranking Utah politicians (namely Governor Gary Herbert, U.S.  Rep. Rob Bishop, and Attorney General Sean Reyes) who aim to sue the federal government and overturn the establishment of Bears Ears.

Presumably, these officials would prefer the 1.35 million acres of land be controlled by the state, which could then sell the land to private interests, likely for natural resource extraction. In 2012 the state legislature passed the Utah Transfer of Public Lands Act, which requires the federal government to relinquish control of public land back to the state. So far no action has been taken by the state of Utah.

In his article on the Patagonia website, Chouinard threatens to remove his company from the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show—a huge biannual event in Salt Lake City that draws the top brands in the outdoor industry. He even suggests the trade show be moved to a different state.

“Politicians in the state don’t seem to get that the outdoor industry—and their own state economy—depend on access to public lands for recreation. I say enough is enough. If Governor Herbert doesn’t need us, we can find a more welcoming home.”

Metcalf’s piece echoes a very similar sentiment. “By our industry’s twice-annual trade show remaining in Utah,” he states, “we are actually complicit collaborators in our own demise.” The outdoor industry contributes $12 billion to the state’s economy on an annual basis, and the loss of public land could cause a huge drop in this number.

In a post on his website Fringe’s Folly, Chris Kalman makes an interesting point about this whole debacle. The threat by Black Diamond and Patagonia to abandon the Outdoor Retailer tradeshow will do little to affect the industry as a whole. For that to occur, actual outdoorsmen (re: us climbers, among many others) would need to boycott the state entirely by refusing to recreate there. And for many lovers of our public lands, that could be a hard pill to swallow.

Story 2: Charles Albert sends another V15 … barefoot

French boulderer and Fontainebleau local Charles Albert recently completed DĂ©lire Onirique (V15/8c), barefoot yet again. The 20-year-old, nicknamed Mowgli and Barefoot Charles, has been climbing up to 8c without climbing shoes for four years.

Charles Albert

One of Charles’ most mind-boggling sends was a repeat of Guillaume Glairon-Mondet’s proposed 8c+, Le Pied Ă  Coulisse, also repeated by Jimmy Webb on the same day. While Webb used the original beta (proposing 8c), Charles did the climb using a variation that was “easier than the original method, but maybe only possible without climbing shoes.” No surprise there.

Check out more on Charles’ climbing style in the video below:

Story 3: Banff Mountain Film Festival hits the road

The Banff Mountain Film Festival (BMFF) has one of the outdoor industry’s most anticipated events since its founding in 1976. The festival itself— “nine epic days of mountain stories that include profound journeys, unexpected adventures, and ground-breaking expeditions,” according to its website–is held every fall in the small Canadian resort town of Banff, Alberta. After that, the show goes on the road.

The U.S. leg of the BMFF World Tour is taking place in multiple cities throughout 41 states during the winter and spring of 2017. For more details on festival locations and ticket prices in your state, check out the tour schedule here.

If you like what you see, maybe you should consider a little Canadian vacation this fall—the 2017 festival kicks off October 28 – November 5.


Want more climbing content? Get our awesome climbing newsletter, delivered weekly.

 

Explore more

More from Connor Griffith

An Interview with Carlo Traversi on the Future of Climbing, Gyms, and Deep Water Soloing

On Saturday, April 22nd, Carlo Traversi narrowly squeaked out a victory at...
Read More