Golden auto belays, industrial-sized hold-washing machines, hold galleries and the best part—free Rock and Ice, Gym Climber and training books: The 2019 Climbing Wall Association Summit hosted in Loveland, Colorado, was buzzing last week, May 15-17.
“This was part of our plan to grow our presence in the climbing industry,” said Zach Schwartz, from UCS. “The CWA show is probably one of the few places where you can receive feedback from that many industry influencers.”
Nearly 60 companies, including Rock and Ice and Gym Climber, set up booths and posted up in conferences to learn, share and connect on climbing-gym related topics. Setters from the US, current and future gym managers from Germany and Japan, and hold and wall companies from Slovenia and Bulgaria attended.
In the 60-plus sessions, topics included leadership, startup tips, legal advice, coaching, routesetting, program organization and roundtable discussions. Halls were filled with people eager for tips about starting a youth climbing program or learning better financial management. Attendees congregated in room entrances to snag free salad, bread and sandwiches.
Leading up to the conference, on Tuesday, May 14, Ascent Studio in Fort Collins indulged CWA attendees with a fun Strength and Campus competition. A redpoint round leading up to a finals event, a speed-campus comp, deadlifting on a 20-mm edge, a 360 turn hold, a max pull comp and a volume deadhang all filled the busy night, which also featured over-caffeinated drinks and burritos. Hold companies showed off some new products as well while climbers compared lock off ability and finger strength.
The colorful exhibit hall in the Embassy Suites Hotel Loveland opened at 8:30am on the 15th to the attending industry professionals. Each day ended with a Summit Party and libations as a reprieve from the day of conference sessions and meetings.
In addition to food and drinks, some companies offered giveaways or competitions throughout the event. Scarpa gave away a pair of shoes in exchange for the best pinch strength—a comp involving gripping a wooden block with an attached weight. TruBlue offered a limited-edition golden auto belay for the winner of an auto belay pull-up comp. The writers of Rock and Ice and Gym Climber proved they’ve still got it—that golden auto belay will be a treasure for afterwork use.
Rock and Ice and Gym Climber met with several companies, including TruBlue, during the CWA. Chris Koske at TruBlue Auto Belays described their equipment, weighted pull-ups and burritos.
At the closure of the Summit, Wooden Mountain Bouldering Gym offered its walls for a Shape Gallery, an exposition of boulders ranging from V0-V7 and featuring the latest and greatest holds. Over 30 boulders were crafted for the climbers’ and CWA attendees’ pleasure. More beer and more contests wrapped up the night.
The 2020 CWA Summit will be May 13-15. Follow their site for updates.