This week, facts about the International Climbers’ Festival, where thousands gather to swap climbing tales at the foot of the Wind River Mountains, near Lander, Wyoming.
CURWOOD: This month, hundreds of rock climbers will descend on, and then maybe ascend, the Wind River Mountains, near Lander, Wyoming. They're congregating for the Eighth Annual International Climbers Festival. The area first started attracting world-class climbers 11 years ago, when a goal prospector discovered a set of climbworthy limestone cliffs. Participants range in age from 1 to 71 and hail from throughout the U.S. and countries including Mexico, Germany, South Africa, and South Korea. They gather, not to compete, but to celebrate their up and coming sport.
Early modern climbers drove wooden pegs into natural crevices. Nowadays, climbers encountering an impossibly smooth rock face may drill a bolt right into the cliff, to get a leg, or a hand, up. The practice has raised controversy about possible environmental damage. Changing technology has also accelerated the speed of the sport. Back in 1958, one climb, in Yosemite National Park, took 40 days. Now, an expert can summit it about four and a half hours. But, back at the festival in Wyoming no one's racing to the top. Participants swap stories, build trails, and team up for a Jell-o tug-of-war. The climbers who yank the most adversaries into a pit of Jell-o win appropriate prizes: ropes, to use on future climbs. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.
Living on Earth wants to hear from you!
P.O. Box 990007
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.
Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.
Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion
The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.
Energy Foundation: Serving the public interest by helping to build a strong, clean energy economy.
Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.
Buy a signed copy of Mark Seth Lender's book Smeagull the Seagull & support Living on Earth