The 2018 Smith Rock Craggin' Classic Took on Diversity and Inclusion in Climbing

September 22, 2018

If you were here for last weekend’s American Alpine Club’s Smith Rock Craggin’ Classic, you may have noticed it step outside its comfort zone of white male and female “rock stars” in feature films and clinics.

 Camp sites at the 2018 Smith Rock Craggin’ Classic

Camp sites at the 2018 Smith Rock Craggin’ Classic

Sarah Wolfe, the organizer for the event is very proud of this year’s panel ‘REPRESENT: Diversity & Inclusion in Climbing.’ “ I developed this program with a host of panelists and honestly, I was most excited about this part of the programming I put together and made a point to be able to participate!”

Panelists were (in the order featured in the header image courtesy of Bryan Sillorequez):

  • Hira Shamsuddin - Pakistani-American ice climber

  • Truc Allen - American Alpine Club (Vietnamese-American) 

  • Aaron Mike - Natives Outdoors - Navajo / Dine climber/guide 

  • Devo Derby - Adidas athlete and Japanese/African-American

  • Lila Leatherman - Alpenglow Collective, transgender climber

  • Ashley Shaeffer and Kellie Standish with Oregon Adaptive Sports [Ashley is an alter-abled athlete]


Sarah+Wolfe+at+Smith+Rock.jpeg
I think as an older adult, I have grown more and more to appreciate the bigger picture that is climbing and the outdoors. Giving back through volunteerism, working to help secure, preserve and maintain climbing areas and other precious outdoor locations, is not only crucial, but it is incredibly fulfilling, empowering and enjoyable.

And something I love about my work is bringing people together, helping them making new connections, learn new skills and information, enjoy the outdoors. All good stuff!
— Sarah Wolfe, Smith Rock Craggin' Classic Organizer | Oregon Climbs monthly newsletter publisher

Keeping with the diversity goal, “The guest athletes (always a challenge, as climbing remains a largely white male sport) were a great mix,” according to insurance and instructional/materials partner Jim Ablao from Chockstone Climbing Guides. Adding, “this was one of the best and most competent (not only climbing but instructing) groups I’ve worked with.”

Smith Rock Park management had offered up two or three options for projects to connect with the Craggin’. Sarah chose the Bivy Campground ADA project because she is personally invested in diversity and inclusion, and wanted it to feature programming around that at the event. “It’s great to see the park focused on making as much of the area ADA accessible as possible.” Rangers and Craggin’ volunteers installed 3 permanent ADA campsites easily accessible right off the main loop trail. Each pad is 18’ x18’ and made of compacted quarter minus gravel. 

 ADA campsite in the Smith Rock State Park Bivouac area

ADA campsite in the Smith Rock State Park Bivouac area

 ADA campsite in the Smith Rock State Park Bivouac area

ADA campsite in the Smith Rock State Park Bivouac area

A new movie partner this year was Adventure Film Festival (Craggin Classic has typically partnered with REEL Rock Film Fest, but their timing no longer aligns with the Craggin’ series) offered films that connected with the diversity/inclusion theme, even if it meant it focused on something other than climbing. 

 Watching shorts from the Adventure Film Fest at the 2018 Smith Rock Craggin’ Classic.  photograph courtesy of Bryan Sillorequez

Watching shorts from the Adventure Film Fest at the 2018 Smith Rock Craggin’ Classic. photograph courtesy of Bryan Sillorequez

And, just for fun, the Craggin’ added a Dyno Comp this year, presented by Bend Rock Gym and Entre Prises—a big hit. They built a wall specifically for the event and they hope to be able to feature it again next year. 

Kudos Smith Rock Craggin’ Classic on providing fun, knowledge, AND food for thought to this year’s participants!

 Dyno competition at the Smith Rock Craggin’ Classic

Dyno competition at the Smith Rock Craggin’ Classic

 Yoga was offered again this year at the Craggin’

Yoga was offered again this year at the Craggin’