By Mailee Hung.
This year Reel Rock 11 went bigger than ever with Reel Rock Fest, a full weekend of events and excitement with the climbing stars themselves. On Saturday October 1st, we were honored to have Mission Cliffs host a series of clinics with Ashima Shiraishi, Daniel Woods, Conrad Anker, and Brette Harrington, followed by a climbing competition and good times in the community.
We kicked off the morning with the clinics, each athlete passing on knowledge in their areas of expertise. Up in the bouldering section, Daniel Woods talked finger strength and dynamic movement while Ashima Shiraishi gave some beta on the nuances of hand and body positions. In the ropes section, Conrad Anker gave his students the run-down on the vast set of tools and techniques he uses to prepare for onsighting and redpointing at altitude, and Brette Harrington got real about fear and mental strategies for getting your mind and emotions onside for the send.
Clinics with professional athletes can seem a little abstract at first blush. After all, what can a person really be “taught” about crimps, even if that knowledge is coming from Ashima?
But those who ask such a question are, to some extent, missing the point. Certainly each athlete passed on valuable information, but the overall experience was mostly a chance to hang out with the pros and share the stoke. Clinics with climbing phenoms like Daniel Woods are more about inspiration than beta—a reminder that, more than anything, these exceptional athletes got to where they are now for a love of the sport, a love we all share and want to pass along. This was perhaps most evident in Ashima’s second clinic, which had a handful of very young girls—some as young as nine years old—hopping on problems beyond their limit, grinning ear to ear. It’s hard to be skeptical about clinic efficacy in the face of such joy.
And speaking of love, the athlete clinics also raised a whopping $3,200 for the Access Fund, supporting outdoor advocacy and ensuring that the stoke also had real, tangible benefits for the community at large.
Psych was high as the clinics wound down and transitioned into the comp. All 80 contestants split up into teams under one of the four athletes’ bannerheads and tried to earn the most points overall for the win. Mission Cliffs buzzed with excitement as climbers moved from problem to problem, some of them lucky enough to get a catch from Conrad or Brette! But the real show was watching Daniel and Ashima try their hands at the intimidating 5.14 that soared over the main wall. Though the heinous sloper crux snatched away the onsight from both athletes, it did make for a sight to see! (Daniel took another stab at the redpoint later, but got pumped off the wall after flowing through the crux sequence.)
At the end of the day Ashima’s team The Crimping Cheetahs took home the win, with each climber receiving a sweet Reel Rock Yeti water bottle and Touchstone boar bristle brush. While the music played and everyone enjoyed exciting treats from food trucks and pop ups, the athletes mingled, took photos, and signed autographs. Whether they were active participants, shy fans, or curious onlookers, everyone in Mission Cliffs was welcomed to join in the fun and meet their heroes.
Amidst the libations and laughter, one member in particular hit upon perhaps the most salient point of Reel Rock Fest: “It is important to climb together.”
Mission Cliffs would like to thank the following people, without whom this incredible event could not have taken place:
- Reel Rock
- The North Face
- Ashima Shiraishi, Brette Harrington, Conrad Anker, and Daniel Woods
- Photography: Jeff Rueppel
- Beats: DJ Bunnymatic
- Boreas Gear
- Sugar and Spun
- Dum Indian Soul Food
- Sterling Ropes
- Goal Zero
- Our fabulous members
- The Mission Cliffs Staff
- The Touchstone Routesetters
- Reel Rock donors Yeti and Gore-Tex
For more pictures of the event, check out our Facebook Album!