Craggin’ Classic Invades the Wasatch
More than 200 climbers from over 13 different countries flocked to Salt Lake City this past weekend to celebrate climbing at the AAC’s 2nd Annual Craggin’ Classic. With extraordinary help from the Salt Lake Climber’s Alliance and AAC industry partners, the rotating annual event dove into the deep community of Wasatch climbing. Locals climbed next to pros, Italian climbers swapped beta with climbers from Japan, and young guns gave tips to climbers from the 60′s (on routes those climbers put up themselves in the 60′s!).
Friday night, climbers flocked into Big Cottonwood Canyon for the festival’s kickoff at Brighton Ski Resort’s Milly Chalet. Twenty-four international climbers, fresh from a week of crack-climbing in Indian Creek, arrived on the scene ready to see how American climbers celebrate. Petzl athletes and SLCA volunteers served a dinner sponsored by Petzl and Mountain Khakis, and attendees enjoyed wine provided by Redwood Creek and local microbrews from wind-powered Uinta Brewery.
After dinner, Jonathan Thesenga presented Alex Honnold with the Club’s Bates Award for outstanding achievement by a young climber. Alex accepted via video, cracking up the crowd. Brian Smoot then took the stage with slides chronicling golden years of climbing around Salt Lake City. Up next was Steve House, sharing photos and stories from his book, Beyond the Mountain. Andrew Burr finished the night with a fast-paced show that embraced the wild diversity of climbing.
The next morning, down-clad climbers huddled around coffee and breakfast sponsored by the North Face, getting ready to head out to the area crags. An all-star cast of SLC locals came out to lead five-star locals-only tours in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons, and many attendees took advantage of Utah Mountain Guides-sponsored Sessions with the Pros — clinics with Kitty Calhoun, Kate Rutherford, Jasmin Caton, Caroline George, Mikey Schaefer, Steve House, Nancy Feagin and Cedar Wright. The day turned bright and crisp: perfect for sending. Saturday evening saw everyone back up at Brighton for dinner, music and libations of choice. Black Diamond’s own Use As Is and the Tolchok Trio kept everyone dancing until the place shut down.
The SLCA rallied climbers for a number of service projects on Sunday. The Craggin’ Classic wrapped up in style Sunday evening with a film fest and billiard championships at Brewvies in SLC. Stay tuned for the location of next year’s Classic, and check out Chris Dickey’s video of this year’s event.
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