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Waggoner Takes The Reins at USA Climbing

Climbing Business Journal:

USA Climbing, the National Governing Body for Competition Climbing, is proud to announce that Kynan Waggoner has been named the Chief Executive Officer of the organization.

Well deserved.

Kynan has been a big supporter of the LT11 broadcasts of USA Climbing national events that I’ve been a part of, and I look forward to harassing him more at future events.  He’s also pretty creative when it comes to thinking of things to do with a shovel while out at the boulders, so there is that as well.

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Mountain Project App Goes Free

Black Diamond PR on their new partnership with Mountain Project’s mobile app:

Black Diamond Equipment®, a global innovator in climbing, skiing, mountain sports equipment and apparel, announces the launch of their partnership with Mountain Project, the definitive online resource for the rock climbing and mountaineering communities. Beginning today, Black Diamond Equipment and Mountain Project will take Mountain Project’s current paid mobile application and make it free to the climbing community.

I think I’d personally rather pay for the ads to not be there, but I think the unfortunate reality for most mobile app developers is that in-app advertising is a more sustainable business model than having users pay up front.

I’ve only perused the app briefly since this change was made, and the advertising does seem fairly non-intrusive.  If you’ve used it I’d love to hear your thoughts on this change.

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Petzl RocTrip Photo Contest

Cool contest going on right now by Petzl to win a trip to the Antalya, Turkey portion of the upcoming 2014 Petzl RocTrip.  Mrs. Narc and I went to Antalya at the end of 2012, and we really loved it.

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Prana Living, Yoga Gear Maker, Is Sold to Columbia Sportswear

Interesting news today about one of my favorite companies:

On Tuesday, Prana Living, a yoga gear maker, was sold to Columbia Sportswear for $190 million.

Prana will join Columbia’s stable of sports apparel brands, which include its eponymous mountain gear line, the upscale Mountain Hardwear, and Sorel, the boot maker. Columbia, based in Portland, Ore., has a market value of $2.86 billion, but its shares were up 6.5 percent in after-hours trading on news of the deal for Prana, and good first-quarter earnings.

I’m not actually sponsored by any companies1, but I often like to joke that I am sponsored by Prana provided I ignore my credit card statements. I love their clothes and basically try to only engage in activities, be it work or play, where I can wear their stuff.

Knee jerk reactions to this kind of deal in the outdoor space are not usually met with a lot of optimism2, but I’m hoping for the best.

  1.  Hence the lack of gratuitous @-mentions and #hashtags in my Instagram feed
  2.  See the Black Diamond, Gregory Pack merger
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Adventure Rock Opening 2nd Location

There are a lot of new gyms opening around the country these days, but the announcement this week that my home gym, Adventure Rock, is opening a 2nd location later this year was really exciting to finally see:

Adventure Rock Climbing Gym, the premier climbing facility in Wisconsin, announces plans for the construction of its second location in the city of Milwaukee.  The facility will be located on the Eastside at 2240 North Commerce Street; construction is expected to break ground mid-summer of 2014 for an official opening in December of 2014.

The climbing wall manufacturer chosen for the job is Boulder, Colorado based Eldorado Climbing Walls. The climbing wall design for the facility includes over 18,000 square feet of climbing terrain, with wall heights up to 42 feet tall, of that terrain, 2,000 square feet will be dedicated to bouldering. The facility will also include a dedicated fitness area, pro-shop and some of the most helpful staff in the industry.

I can’t wait to check it out!

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More Details On Death Of Mark Hesse

Longtime climber and conservationist Mark Hesse died while climbing at the Boulder Rock Club this past January, but until this week it was unclear what actually caused his death.  While it is still not entirely clear what happened since nobody witnessed the accident, this article in the Boulder Camera seems to indicate this may have been another instance where a climber thought they were clipped into an auto belay system when in fact they were not:

The climber who was found in January after falling at the Boulder Rock Club died from blunt trauma, not a medical problem, officials said, and the popular climbing gym has since started using a new belay device to improve safety.

If that is what happened, this is the 2nd such incident to happen in the past 6 months.

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The Hidden Industry Of Hold Manufacturing

Interesting piece in Climbing Business Journal about the industry behind many of the holds we pull down on in gyms around the country:

For some hold companies, there seems to be no upside in disclosing that they no longer manufacture their holds in-house. The climbing industry has embraced the romantic image of the passionate climber shaping and pouring holds in their garage. But to succeed in today’s crowded marketplace, hold companies need professional production facilities that can fulfill modern expectations of quality, consistency, durability and efficiency, while providing a safe environment for the employees that are being exposed to urethane fumes and sanding particulates on a daily basis.

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