Ok, so being the type of person I am I picked up a leaflet for the Australian Climbing Festival (ACF) from my local gym, went home and spoke to everyone I know about the event. Basically it is a place where you can spend an entire weekend learning about climbing, adventures and talking to others about it all too. I think I may have just discovered my idea of event heaven. Hosted in the Blue Mountains (anyone up for a trip), it is also where and when the Australian bouldering competition is being held (sigh, one day…) and thirdly Hazel Findlay, as well as others, will be speaking.
Hazel is a bit of a hero in my eyes even if she is 25 and therefore 5 years my junior. She’s been sponsored by The North Face for the last three years probably the coolest adventure company in the world which has meant she has had access to some of the worlds best climbing. The way I see it she is an inspiration to women in a mainly man orientated sport (sorry boys, still love you) giving future generations a role model that isn’t Martha Stewart or Nigella Lawson. Her adventures from around the world are inspiring- check out her blog hazelfindlayclimbing.com for more information…
Andy Kirkpatrick will also be there guest speaking. Frankly, this guy is badass. He likes winter climbs, very cold winter climbs. Oh, and long climbs, somewhere around 1,000m. To put this into perspective I’m lucky to climb three 70m climbs on a day out, and that takes all of my energy, not forgetting that i’m climbing at a much lower level than this guy. Andy recently raised £1.5m for sports relief leading TV presenter Alex Jones in Zion after only a months rest from his last trip in Antarctica. Just unreal.
There is however a little more to the ACF than the bouldering comp and some awesome guest speakers. I’m keen on the adventure films. I’ve always enjoyed hearing about others adventures, nothing is more motivational than seeing another’s story unfold in front of you. This year is the first Vertical Film Festival where you can submit your own entries and win prizes so it could be an exciting year for watching.
The list could go on… there are Novelty Comps, trade shows, workshops on everything from Aid-Climbing to slack lining and training clinics. So yes, as one of my friends pointed out it is not the same as a weekend climbing in the outdoors. Not as all, but if I had to choose a number two position it would probably go to this.
The Australian Climbing Festival is held from 17th to 19th October 2014 in the Blue Mountains. Visit Australianclimbingfestival.com.au for more information.