Scarpa North America Blog

Category Archives: Events

Bringing (Back) Climbing: Starting a Community Climbing Initiative in Wyoming

May. 21st 2013

SCARPA athlete and professional climber and coach, Alli Rainey, recently ventured off the beaten path to investigate rumors of an impressive bouldering wall at a wellness center in Thermopolis, Wyoming. Not only did Alli confirm the rumor, she and her husband Kevin spent several days working with the facility to update the walls and plant a seed to grow a climbing community in this small town.

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Gearing up for the New River Rendezvous 10

May. 9th 2013

SCARPA will join hundreds of climbing and bouldering enthusiast in West Virginia May 17 through 19 for the New River Rendezvous 10. The climbing festival, more commonly referred to as “The ‘Vous”, is put on each year by the non-profit New River Alliance of Climbers (NRAC). The ‘Vous is a grassroots, three-day celebration of everything climbing as well as the NRAC’s largest fundraiser.

Several SCARPA-sponsored athletes will offer climbing clinics and demo shoes. “SCARPA has made the clinics possible because it allows us to keep costs way down,” said Big-Cheese Rendezvous Organizer, Maura Kistler. SCARPA is bringing four athletes to The ‘Vous: boulderers Dan Horne and Michael Rosato, route climber Seth Bentley, and Editor of dpmclimbing.com, climber, and author, Mike Williams. Williams is a local in the New River Gorge and leads guided climbs.

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Rocket to Russia: Gord McArthur gears up for another year on the World Cup Circuit

Apr. 9th 2013

Gord McArthur is digging a hole in his backyard; two, actually. It’s what needs to happen when building the proper training structure if he is going to compete with the Russians on their level. The SCARPA mixed climber had a great past season competing on the World Cup circuit, placing higher than any North American in over a decade. In doing so, he has seen his future. And his future is a 26-foot high arch that will take up most of his backyard. “That’s what it takes,” he says, of going against the hammer and sickle hardmen of northern Asia. We got him to put down the shovel for a moment and give us his take on training at the highest levels, and preparing for a little known comp called the Olympics.

Can you tell us why the Russians are so formidable on the World Cup? The Russians dominate the sport of competitive mixed climbing because they train so well. And by that I mean, they have World Cup structures to train on, year round, and they have a team, amongst themselves, to train with. Having a solid training team/partner(s) is the key to success. You can’t push yourself to your ultimate level unless you have someone there, pushing you, motivating you, correcting you, or suggesting various things to you. They’re smart, really smart, and they know how to train to win.

How did you do this last year on the circuit? What’s it like climbing competitively in Europe and Asia? This year I did really well on the circuit. At the world championships in Kirov, Russia, I had my best result to date. No North American in the last 12 years has made it into the Top 20. Because the sport is so dominated by Russians, it’s tough to gain a spot past the qualifying round. But in Russia I managed to climb super well and landed 15th overall, which was huge.

Competing overseas is tough. North Americans are at a huge disadvantage because of the amount of travel it takes, money, adjusting to new cultures, food, people, languages—it’s not an easy road. But, all that being said, it’s un-freakin’-believable. The opportunity to see the world whilst doing what you love? Why wouldn’t you do it?

You’re building your own training facility in your backyard. Can you describe it to us, and why is it important to making the podium in the World Cup next year? If you want to do well on the World Cup, you need to be super specific in how you train. A lot of the Europeans and Asian representatives have World Cup “structures” to train on, which gives them a huge edge. So, I figured why not build my own? And now, the first North American World Cup structure is going to be in my backyard. It’s the only way forward.

Next season is going to be a huge season, packed with events and, oh, did I mention the Olympics? Yeah, so mixed climbing is going to be a demonstration sport next year. It’s important for me to be at the top of my game going into the coming season—to do well, really well.

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10th Annual Red Rock Rendezvous Climbing Festival

Apr. 2nd 2013

Break out of your winter hibernation and break in your new rock shoes at the 10th annual Red Rock Rendezvous this weekend, April 5-7. America’s greatest climbing festival is sponsored in part by SCARPA North America and will be a weekend-long celebration filled with climbing clinics, games, yoga and of course beer. Located only a few shameful minutes from the Vegas strip, Red Rocks provides an amazing venue with thousands of climbing routes, ranging from short sport routes to massive 20 pitch epics. The desert oasis makes for a nice change from the piles of snow in your front yard, and you can finally lounge if some shorts and soak up some sunshine.

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Brotherly Bonds: Dorais brothers put family first

Mar. 12th 2013

Brothers Andy and Jason Dorais are close beyond measure – they do just about everything together, including breaking speed ascent records on peaks throughout the U.S., while simultaneously completing their medical residencies in Utah. Recently, a family illness changed Jason’s plan to participate with the U.S. Ski Mountaineering Team and Andy went in his place while Jason stayed home to be with his wife. In this very personal, heart-wrenching piece, Andy talks about love, family, racing, and always keeping the big picture in mind.

Throughout the fall and winter, Jason and I trained to make the US Ski Mountaineering Team. Jason qualified at the National Championships, but I narrowly missed during the three qualifying races in early January. After all the dust had settled, I was the alternate for the 8 man team that consisted of John Gaston, Tom Goth, Marshall Thompson, Jason Dorais, Max Taam, Luke Nelson, Greg Ruckman, and Scott Simmons (Brian Wickenhauser had qualified but yielded his spot to Simmons). All the tickets were purchased and travel plans made. I was staying home.

Then, my brother’s wife got sick. She’s been sick and has been bravely battling a wretched case of cancer since being diagnosed last summer. All types of cancer are life altering and terrible but hers is advanced and quite serious. So far, she has risen to the occasion through surgery, chemo, and radiation, remaining charming and smiling through it all (more on her story here). She is a beautiful example of everything good in this world.

Jason has also been unshakable through this entire experience. In the last 45 days, he and Amanda have gotten married, moved, and been to the hospital uncountable times. He’s wrecked two cars, trained, raced, made the US team, worked the exhausting hours of a medical resident, and remained faithfully by his wife’s side as she has experienced what I’m sure are some of the deepest lows of her young life.

He’s made it look easy.

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Artley Goodhart Splits Time between the booth and ice at Ouray

Feb. 28th 2013

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.

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Up the Ante: The Powder Keg Backcountry Ski Race’s new Triple Crown

Feb. 26th 2013

In two weeks Brighton Ski Resort will host the 11th annual Powder Keg, a backcountry race fest of speed, strength and endurance. Racers from all over the Wasatch will descend on Brighton for a weekend of uphill ski running glory. With Race, Rec and Heavy Metal (think Volant Spatulas with 1st generation Fritschis) divisions, backcountry types of all creeds are welcome to participate or cheer on their favorite competitors.

New this year is a Triple Crown, three-race format, beginning with a sprint race on Friday, the main event on Saturday, and a technical team race on Sunday. With three full days of sweat, spandex and skin glue, it’s the biggest event of its kind in the US. Race organizer Chad Brackelsberg believes the race has earned the extension. “It’s becoming more European, where some races consist of multi-day events.”

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Will Gadd’s Favorite Ice Festivals: Modern Day Tribal Celebrations

Feb. 21st 2013

I’ve been going to ice climbing festivals for going on 20 years, and I’ve started to notice some themes at these tribal celebrations. Each one is a gathering of the climbing community; I romanticize these gatherings as the modern-day equivalent of the great tribal Pow Wows of centuries past, where the First Nations elders would tell stories, the youngsters would show off their physical prowess through games of skill, and the guy who sold the beer would do very, very well. Today’s festival communal bonfire is the slide show, and the games of skill are represented in the competitions, formal and informal, that always take place. Small sub-groups split off into bars, romances are kindled and broken, children conceived and plans made for hunting the mythical big ice climbs lurking over the horizon like the bison of old. Like I said, it’s a romantic comparison, but I believe in the idea of climbing tribes that are normally spread thin, gathering in celebration of a common idea: climbing icicles.

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VertFest 2013: a Festival of Freeride and Mountain Mettle

Feb. 14th 2013

Is cabin fever gettin’ you down? Then break out of your slump and keep the winter stoke going by heading to Alpental, Washington for the 7th annual Vertfest, sponsored in part by SCARPA North America.

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Ouray Ice Festival Recap Part 1: Sam Elias

Jan. 30th 2013

The Ouray Ice Festival took place January 10-13 in Ouray, Colorado. SCARPA athlete, Sam Elias, participated in the festival competition this year wearing the SCARPA Phantom Guides. Elias shared a few thoughts on competing and his experience at the festival.

The Ouray Ice Festival is the largest ice climbing event in North America. It is also the busiest few days of the winter for the small mountain town in southwestern Colorado. I love the town, and the festival is one of my favorite climbing events to be a part of. My first experience at the festival was for the difficulty competition, and it has been a source of sweetness and suffering for me ever since. In 2008, it was my second season ice and winter mixed climbing. It was incidentally my first climbing competition ever. I took 16th, and didn’t qualify for the finals. I had no expectations or thoughts about how I should do, and it was fun, but I knew I was strong and could be good at it. In 2009, I was not invited to compete. Unlike 2008, in 2009 there was no qualifier, only a final. So, you were either invited into the final, or not. I was still inexperienced and unaccomplished. I was invited into the final in 2010, and I had a very memorable performance. I ended up topping the route in a diving, buzzer beating finish with only 2 seconds left on the clock.

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