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Climbers Festival opens Wednesday in Lander

Jul 9, 2013 - By Andrea Novotny, Staff Writer

The 20th annual International Climbers Festival, the longest-running climbing festival in the world, returns July 10-14 in Lander.

This year's festival offers large lineup of activities, including clinics, a service project, the keynote speaker series, the trade fair and the premiere of "Wind & Rattlesnakes: The Birth of a Western Climbing Town."

"When Todd (Skinner) started the festival in 1993, he hoped to showcase some of the great climbing around Lander," writes Brian Fabel, director of the International Climbers Festival. "Now, 20

years later, the festival has continued to bring hundreds of new climbers to world-class climbing.

Fable noted that climbing areas around Lander are in a new cycle of development with new and harder routes being added.

"Todd would be proud to know that Lander is still supporting climbing, and the climbers are still supporting the restaurants, hotels, and stores of Lander," he said.

"Wind & Rattlesnakes," created by Lander resident Kyle Duba, "tells the story about how this amazing cadre of climbers who were traveling all over the world descended on to Lander, Wyoming and made it their home. Many of them still live there today.

"I like to tell people the star of the movie ... is Lander," Fable said. "Anyone who enjoys Lander will enjoy watching this film."

"Wind and Rattlesnakes" is being shown Thursday in combination with eight other films.

The trade fair, on Friday at Lander City Park, is the only part of the festival that is free and open to the greater community. It offers educational games and activities, catered food, more than 30 different vendors, and a climbing wall, provided by the American Alpine Club with all necessary equipment, instructions and supervision. The night concludes with a dance party and music by the Screen Door Porch Band.

The highlight of the trade fair, says Fable, is the "dyno" competition, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. This style of climbing involves dynamic movements in which climbers jump, with "explosive and powerful movements" to grab rocks that otherwise would be out of reach.

The festival also includes presentations by explorers and world-class athletes "about how climbing has inspired their lives and has inspired what they do in the world," Fable said.

On July 11, the group will be partnering with the BLM and Sinks Canyon State Park for a service project, working on the shady side of Sinks Canyon Park, called the "School Crag." This area has "some of the easiest routes -- best for beginners," Fabel said, but the slope of the area is very steep. The volunteers plans make it step down in small, flat increments.

"One things that's unique about this year's climbing festival is that there are some clinics especially for youth," Fable added.

In the past year, the group has raised $12,000 in outside grants to support new youth climbing programs, including clinics, workshops, games and presentations.

The group offers youth climbing programs year-round. Registration for the youth clinics is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis.

Registration information can be found at the festival website, www.climbersfestival.org. Tickets also can be purchased at Wild Iris Mountain Sports on the opening day of the event. Adult tickets are $50; children's tickets are $30.

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