Artley Goodhart works in the warranty department at SCARPA, but every now and then we send him out on the road to help at festivals and demo events. This year, Goodhart attended the Ouray Ice Festival and split time between the SCARPA booth and the ice, where he switched roles and tested his limits as a competitor.
As an employee for SCARPA in the warranty department, my day often includes repairing boots or helping in the distribution center with picking orders. Work often consists of average days, but every now and then I get to break out of the routine as a new project or event becomes available. Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the Ouray Ice Festival. I worked the SCARPA booth for most of the weekend, and then competed in a speed climbing competition on the last day.
Working this event meant that I had a place to stay in the SCARPA condo, which as any climber knows, is a huge perk. And the town of Ouray had plenty of fun stuff to do while off the clock. Being on the clock entailed hanging out in a big festival type tent setting people up with SCARPA boots to demo in the ice park. This part of the job I really enjoy. Talking about the gear with people who are pumped to try it out is great, and it motivates me.
As the festival rolls along I’m having a great time and looking forward to the competition. The morning of the competition I get to the park early and burn a few practice laps. When 9am comes around it is time to get geared up and head down to the race area.
At the base of the two climbs they explained that competitors would climb one pitch and then switch sides and race again for a total of two laps. After clipping in we were allowed to place our first tool on the ice, but that was all. Once situated the countdown began – five, four, three, two— BAM I exploded with all I had trying to get good sticks without getting the pick in so deep that it would be hard to remove.
The climbing was kind of a blur because it was not technical, just pure speed, which means I climbed like a crazy person. The first lap left its mark and when I got to the bottom my muscles ached and my lungs burned from the harsh cold air. Lap two I dug deep, deeper than I would like to admit considering the speed I was going, but I topped out. My time combined 3:15 for two pitches of ice, which was probably two hundred feet total.
Overall I was happy with my time, and although I was not super fast, I know I gave it my all. Shortly after finishing my laps and watching the rest of the competitors race I headed back to the SCARPA booth. Back at the tent my coworkers were excited for me and we joked about how I felt like I was going to vomit on the second lap.
The day continued on as the festival goers filtered in to return their gear. I asked them how they liked their boots and got feedback while listening to them talk about their adventures on the ice. And at this point I definitely started looking forward to the next festival. Events like this are part of what makes my job great. I love having these breaks from routine to keep things fresh.