Do you know what its like to climb 24 hours straight, pitch after pitch on demanding, technical granite till your tips pink out, feet swell, and mouth dries up like the ass end of the Swahili? Well, let me tell you . . . er, actually, I only made it to hour 22.5 at the launch of the friendly new competition: the 24 Hours of Gunnison Glory, held at Hartman Rocks, west of Gunnison, Colorado. But even turning in our scorecards 1.5 hours shy of the finishing line, we came to know the experience. And the thing is, its a tough but extremely rewarding one. This sentiment offered in 2009 by Matt Samet (former editor of Climbing Magazine) was and will always be an amazing summary of the 24 hours of Gunnison Glory, an Endurance Climbing Festival designed with everyone in mind.
So, over Memorial Day Weekend (May 28-30, 2010), Gunnison, Colorado, played host to the second annual 24 hours of Gunnison Glory (gunnisonglory.com). With an 8,000-acre granite playground as the event stage, with route cards on almost 300 routes and boulders with balloons strung from them, a group of local climbers were able to conjure up an amazing amount of support and participation to help support their causes and the event. Hosting more than 70 climbers from coast to coast, the Hartman Rocks Recreation Area and the 24 hours of Gunnison Glory helped raise money for Six Points (a local non-profit organization working with mentally/physically disabled adults), Climb Up So Kids Can Grow Up (climbupsokidscangrowup.com) and the security of climbing in the Gunnison Valley (hopefully a Non-Profit climbing users group).
Of the 70-plus climbers in attendance, few truly pushed towards the 24-hour goal and instead chose to climb hard, have fun, and stay safe sleeping when it seemed needed and waking with the sun to push one another once again. According to longtime local climer Luke Mehall, this is the beauty of the event. The 24 hours of Gunnison Glory is a climbing event focused around camaraderie instead of competition. For those that did attempt to push against the 24 hours, the year's hardest crux was climbing against the cold temps from 4-6 a.m. Jason Flaster from New York was the event's lone wild man keeping himself and others motivated enough to keep at it for the entire 24 hours long. We all made sure to tip our hats to him as he stood by with an energy drink in hand during our Golden Ticket Raffle and Awards Ceremony. As far as, who climbed the most routes, two local climbers, Josh Duft and Caleb Justice, climbing in the 12-hour youth category, compiled more than 150 routes between them throughout the day to score more points than anyone else. Thankfully, the future leaves room for growth as the event has still not seen anyone climb at least one route in every hour, no one has hit the 100-route mark, and no team has ever finished all the way to the finish line together. So please add one or all of these accomplishments to your tick lists and come out next year and test yourself.
During one of the wildest weekend Hartman Rock Recreation Area has ever seen, the new Rage in the Sage [Gunnison Glory, Gunnison Growler (bike race) and the Sage Burner (foot race)] brought upwards of 650 participants and their friends in and out of Hartman's Rocks without leaving a permanent scar. With Leave No Trace ethics in mind all participants, workers and spectators came, played, and respected each other and the land enough to leave room for growth again next year.
If you missed out this year, we hope that you can clear your schedule for the Memorial Day Weekend of 2011 as we are planning to offer the same amazing experience with as many extra perks as we can come up with before then. Musical entertainment in town, shoe demos at the climbing venue, and much more await the participants of this growing Endurance Climbing Festival in 2011.
Beyond contributing to the most amazing raffle experience ever (The Golden Ticket Raffle), the 24 hours of Gunnison Glory would obviously not exist without our gracious sponsors. So we would like to put out a huge THANK YOU to:
Western State College, the City of Gunnison, Rock N Roll Sports, Evolv Sports, and Gunnisons Bureau of Land Management were major players in this years event!!!
The Gunnison Valley Peaceful Warriors, Sterling Ropes, Mountain Khakis, Climb On!, Mochas Café, Smith Optics, The Bean coffeehouse, Voodoo Climbing Yoga for the Peaceful, Friksn, and Sanuk deserve a huge round of applause and thanks for their contribution.
And last but not least we would like to thank, the Access Fund, Leave No Trace, Gene Taylors, Crested Butte Mountain Guides, The Secret Stash, Gunnison Construction, Vivapura, The Warriors Way, Sharp End Publishing, Team Yogaslackers, ZICO coconut water, High Mountain Liquor, HogNDogz, Escape Bodywork Boutique, Petzl, the Powerstop, Mountain State Rescue, the Earth Based Institute, the Gunnison School of Yoga, Metolius, Paradox Sports, Wanderlust Hostel, and Mountain Pro guiding for their amazing assistance.