Rifle RendezSPEW Recap

The Rifle RendezSPEW was an amazing success. An unprecedented amount of work was achieved, money raised, shwag raffled and fun had.

The Rifle RendezSPEW (formerly called the Rifle Clean Up) was part community service, part informal climbing competition, and it ended with a big barbeque, raffle and costume party where you had to dress up as a Rifle route. Over 150 climbers participated in the event on August 27.

At the registration area, there was a Five Ten shoe and Black Diamond harness demo. For a $10 registration fee, climbers got all the food and beer they could eat and drink, and they received a shwag bag with the new Rifle issue of Rock and Ice magazine, a CAMP Photon wire carabiner, a block of CAMP chalk, a Grivel 3F quickdraw sling, a Lapis boar’s hair brush, a Sterling Rope t-shirt or hat from Black Diamond or La Sportiva, a garbage bag for picking up trash and a Clif Bar. We had 100 shwag bags stuffed, and sold them all by noon.

This year, the event worked closely with the City of Rifle, and climbers were able to buy their season parking passes during the morning registration, which took place at the Feline parking lot. Communications between the City of Rifle and the Rifle Climbers Coalition (RCC) improved, and their concerns over climbers camping illegally and milling around in the road at the Project Wall were voiced and addressed.

Meanwhile, the RendezSPEW showcased what a good user group climbers are to the Park, first by helping the City clean ashes out all barbeque and campfire pits. Further, concerns over climbers standing in the road at the Project were addressed by a massive rebuilding of the retaining wall beneath the Project Wall warm-up routes, as well as clearing out a new picnic area across the river, which will eventually have a picnic table and bench for climbers to congregate (as opposed to in the middle of the road).

Revamping the base of the Project Wall. Photo courtesy of Andrew Bisharat.

Other clean-up projects included removing aluminum quickdraws that have been left in place on many popular routes for years. About a hundred pounds of frighteningly bad gear was cleaned this year, and either left as is, or outfitted with steel perma-draws. Strange Ranger, Cryptic Egyptian, Huge, Bauhaus Proklamation, Simply Read, 7 P.M. Show, Zulu, Anti-Phil and others were cleaned of bad gear.

New steel anchors were placed on all the aforementioned routes, in addition to Easy Skankin’, Spurt-atron, I am Not a Philistine, Sometimes Always, Apocalypse 05, Present Tense, PMS and others.

Glue-ins were added on the seasonally seeping, but excellent routes Le Specimen and Hand Me the Canteen Boy. Belay and trail improvements were made to the newly popular Sanctuary wall, and fallen trees were chopped and removed from the Arsenal and elsewhere. Dog droppings and garbage were cleaned up throughout the Park.

In addition to the clean up, the Game of SPEW (Send Points for Elitist Wankers) was held. Climbers were given a booklet/scorecard that explained the rules of the game, where climbers earned points for climbing routes and doing clean up projects, as well as other fun extra-credit points such as “Calling The Redpoint” (+750 SPEW points) or doing pull-ups at the anchors (50 pts/pull-up). You could also lose points for various penalties—Top Roping (-300), “Calling The Redpoint Fail” (-750). The winner, Keller Rinaudo, racked up an extra 3,000 points for climbing Rumor Has It in his birthday suit (Lynn Hill belayed), earning him a commemorative sweatshirt that says “I’m the Best Climber in Rifle.” Edgardo Baca came in with the lowest score, which earned him the “I’m the Worst Climber in Rifle” sweatshirt.

This year, one of the main goals of the RendezSPEW was to raise funds to cover the costs of a bird study that the Rifle Climbers Coalition (RCC) commissioned earlier this summer. The bird study was to determine if and exactly where golden eagles are nesting in the front half of Box Canyon, which resides on public lands that are managed by the Department of Wildlife (DOW) and are currently closed to climbing due to protect the eagle nests. The RCC, with the guidance and help of the Access Fund, is putting together a comprehensive proposal for how climbing can co-exist with the eagles to be presented to the DOW this November. The RCC recognizes the front half of the Canyon as an amazing climbing resource with potential for numerous moderate and futuristic lines; it is our long-term goal to open climbing access here, and this bird study was one step in this process. The RendezSPEW not only succeeded in raising the $800 balance we needed to cover the bird study, but with a total of $3,000 raised, there are now extra funds that will be used for future updates to the canyon, including hardware upgrades for routes and picnic benches for climbers.

The after party will go down as one of the most memorable, as dozens of climbers showed up dressed as Rifle routes (earning everyone an extra 10,000 SPEW points). The Beast, Glue Fairy, Le Specimen, Merry Maids, Living in Fear, Brown Chicken, Quasimodo, King Fisher, I am not a Philistine, FireArms, Purple and Green, Tijuana Crack Whore(s), Gay Science, Pinch Fest and several versions of Euro-Trash all made memorable appearances. A massive raffle and a DJ dance party finished off the event.

This event could not have happened without the incredible support of the climbing industry. Special thanks to CAMP, ClimbTech, Liberty Mountain, and the American Safe Climbing Association for their donations of steel hardware that is being used to keep Rifle safe and user friendly. Thanks to Avery Brewing and the Lander Brewing Co for supplying the beer.

Thanks to the Access Fund, Big Agnes, Black Diamond, Backbone Media, CAMP, ClimbTech, Cypher, Deuter, Edelweiss, Five Ten, Grivel, La Sportiva, Liberty Mountain, Prana, Patagonia, Rab, Rock and Ice magazine, Singing Rock, Sterling Rope, Summit Canyon Mountaineering and Wolverine Publishing for the amazing support!!!

Andrew Bisharat, on behalf of the Rifle Climbers Coalition (rifleclimbers.org).

Locals Corner

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