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Ohio State community and beyond to get behind first rock climbing festival

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Elizabeth Heym, a third-year in computer science engineering, climbs a rock wall. Credit: Courtesy of Alex Leeder

Elizabeth Heym, a third-year in computer science engineering, climbs a rock wall at Scioto Audubon Metro Park. Credit: Courtesy of Alex Leeder

While Ohio does not have much in the way of mountains, Columbus residents still have the opportunity to climb.

Scioto Audubon Metro Park is hosting the first Community Rock Climbing Festival on Sept. 10. Attendees will be able to open climb on the 6,100 square foot rock climbing wall, compete in a climbing competition and other rock climbing-realted activities.

Matt Kaderly, organizer of the festival and assistant manager of Sharon Woods Metro Park, said the project has been in the works for five months.

“We are trying to bring a community together utilizing the rock climbing wall at Scioto Audubon park,” he said.

Part of that community is Ohio State University, and one student group that plans on attending the festival is Mountaineers at Ohio State. President Harrison Fillmore, a fourth-year in Chinese, said club members will look forward to meeting and competing with other climbers during the event.

“We like competitions, so it would be really fun to compete with that. Meeting new climbers is always a huge, it’s always fun to go down there and see new faces and meet new people,” he said.

While the club mainly focuses on outdoor trips, volunteering and hard-skills clinics, Fillmore said the festival will be a good way for them to be able to connect with the broader Columbus community.

“One of the best things about the mountaineers is that when you’re a member you have access to a huge alumni network of people who probably have gone on to do more outdoorsy things in cooler locations,” he said. “We’re trying to connect to people outside of the OSU bubble in Columbus and at large.”

The festival isn’t just for those already a part of the climbing community, however. Kaderly said one ideal outcome of the festival is that people new to outdoor pursuits can come back to Scioto Audubon after attending.

“With this climbing wall down here we always have people interested who have never climbed before or experienced any type of outdoor activity, we would like to get those people involved and get them to recreate more outside and visit the metro parks,” he said.

If visitors enjoy the festival it will become recurrent, and based off of positive feedback so far Kaderly said he thinks it is likely the event will happen again.

“We would like to see this be a reoccurring event, year after year, but for any first time event success makes it more reasonable to happen,” he said.

The full schedule of events includes 15 activities throughout the day, beginning at 2 p.m. and ending with the screening of “Everest” after dark. Attendees will also be able to buy food from several local food truck vendors throughout the afternoon.

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