Rifle has always held a reputation as the place in Colorado for hard sport climbing. With clinics, demos, and countless routes it’s no surprise the Rifle Climbing Festival hosted by apparel brand, prAna, drew over 300 moderate, advanced, and elite level climbers.
SCARPA’s demo selection of trailrun, approach, and climb shoes went quickly as everyone awoke with the sun, eager to hit the crags. SCARPA climber, Sam Elias was there to explain the uses and benefits of each shoe to those interested.
Moving away from more traditional clinics like learning to bolt while on the ground, instructors took it to the next level and demonstrated how to bolt while climbing, essentially teaching how to establish new routes. During one of the trail-work clinics, instructors and volunteers built stone staircases in washouts that climbers were using to reach crags.
The organizers added some friendly competition with a game they coined, “Spry Fest.” People won points for various tasks like wearing a helmet all day, coming to vendor events with a harness still on, demoing shoes, and more.
Surprising, one of the most talked about things at the Fest wasn’t the climbing or Chris Sharma’s presence – it was the raffle. Described as “the most epic raffle ever,” it lasted over an hour and a half, and everyone walked away with some kind of schwag.
For prAna’s first year putting on this festival, everything went extremely well. All registered climbers received something, whether it was free schwag, a delicious barbecue, great demos, or incredible climbing. Overall, it was family-friendly and all of the money raised was given to the Access Fund and The Rifle Climbers Coalition.