Hang Loose [VIDEO]

Sep 302007
Authors: Tim Maddocks

A green-shirted volunteer looked down at a list to see who was next to climb in the Neptune Mountaineering Horsetooth Hang Saturday.

“Hunter,” said the volunteer, calling the next rock climber. “She’s addicted. This problem is like crack.”

Hunter Schumaker, 13, from the Estes Climbing Team started on the left end and seized hold of her first crimp. She slowly worked her way toward the right following the white chalk smears across the red-grained rock.

“Come on Hunter. Let’s go Hunter,” said the crowd.

The cheers and urging kept rhythmic pace. When she got halfway, approaching the most difficult section, she barely grabbed a distant hold. Her weight shifted as she made a stretched reach of faith. The crowd gasped.

“Nice,” said a few onlookers.

From there, it seemed easy going and Schumaker effortlessly topped the boulder.

Camaraderie seemed commonplace among climbers at the 12th annual Horsetooth Hang.

“Climbers are like a big unofficial fraternity. You meet people out here, and it’s like I don’t know you, but I know you. You can be climbing the easiest rock and experts will be cheering you on,” said Chad Bowman, a festival volunteer and climber since 2001.

Schumaker said she liked that everyone cheered when she climbed.

“It keeps me going,” she said.

While the atmosphere was more friendly than competitive, the Horsetooth Hang was still a competition. Climbers were judged at different skill levels and scored based on the difficulty of the climb.

Prizes were also given for trash pick-up. Climbers earned raffle tickets for turning in full garbage bags and climbing gear was raffled at the after party at Hodi’s Half Note.

Many climbers waiting for their runs filled garbage bags.

More than 300 pounds of trash was collected, Horsetooth Hand Director Cameron Crosssaid said. And some unique things were picked up, including a side panel from a car and lady’s underwear.

Hazen Goodyear, 21, came from Gunnison to climb, said he hadn’t even heard about the festival until the day before in an article printed in the Collegian. When he figured the climbing conditions were going to busier than he preferred he decided to join the waste management cause. He held up his half-full bag and shook it.

“There’s a lot of glass,” said Hazen.

Craig Luebben, one of the founders of the Hang, held a self-rescue clinic in the afternoon and promoted safety during the event.

Rachel Brooks, 19, was a volunteer spotting and giving advice even though she has only been climbing for three months. The scar above her right eye, from climbing without a crash pad, is enough for her to understand the importance of safety.

Brooks suggested routes and held the crash pad for John Colton, 47, who has been climbing for 34 years. His friends call him “Old Guy,” but he still listened to Brooks’ advice.

“Everyone supports everyone, no matter what,” said Brooks.

Staff writer Tim Maddocks can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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