By RJ Lau, Co-Chair of the Climbing Committee
Over the weekend of June 17-19, Manda and I hosted the Rumney Together Festival. This was a joint effort organized by the New Hampshire and New York/North Jersey chapters. We also had AMC volunteers from CT, BOS, WMa, RI and a staffer who came up from PA! In addition to AMC volunteers, we had pro athletes Nina Williams and Sam Elias, support from the Ladies Climbing Coalition, ParaCliffHangers, Climb United, Rumney Climbers Association, Brianna Blanchard and Mike Morin of the Access Fund, and of course our main sponsor Black Diamond.
We offered around 30 different clinics throughout the weekend along with many other events. We celebrated Gay Pride Month, paid respects to the land we all spent the weekend enjoying with a Land Acknowledgement from Elder Dan and Chief Paul. Hosted a Juneteenth Observance breakfast and speech by our own Colin Aina. There were bonfires, raffles, community conversation and presentations, acro yoga, food, fun, two movie screenings, JEDI Training and Reel Rock 16 and so much more! The weather was actually great for a weekend of climbing, albeit a bit chilly at night. Despite some rain, everyone managed to keep climbing all weekend long!
Our mission was to create an inclusive climbing community by offering a wide variety of clinics, including affinity spaces. We chose to offer this as a free event (other than the cost of camping), and to cap the number of participants at 80 in order to generate conversation and community, but due to high demand we allowed a few more folks in and ultimately hosted around 100+ participants!
Overall, we just wanted to provide traditionally underrepresented climbers a fun and welcoming environment that wasn’t too commercialized or intimidating. With the amazing help of our own NY/NJ volunteers Anthony Leong, Sarabeth Brockley, Yan Cheng, Jon Kwon, Sheryl Choo, and Cara Dorney (NH & NY/NJ), we definitely made that happen! On the next page are a few quotes from some participants about what they loved about the weekend …
What We Loved
“This is a weekend I will remember forever. From the walking tour on Friday with Ladd, to the open climbs with Cait + Sam and Sam + Adam, to ACROYOGA, pizza, fireside chats, and reel rock, I loved all of it. THANK YOU SO MUCH GUYS! Huge props to you for putting this on, and for such a low price too.”
“Y’all did a phenomenal job. PHENOMENAL! And with incredible spirit. Everyone was so helpful, so generous, and y’all clearly have a lot of love and passion for building community in climbing. That shined through all weekend.”
“Thanks for a really lovely weekend! I also want
to stress again that the smaller size of the festival worked really, really well to maintain that feeling of community and building connections with others there.”
“I had an awesome time and thought it ran pretty smoothly for how many people were there. Great event, I would definitely come back again. Thank you for organizing it and keeping the cost low (that is huge!), providing some food, fun, and a safe space!!”
“Thank you for organizing a fantastic weekend of climbing! My partner and I are thrilled to get more involved with AMC and our local climbing community.”
“Loved the variety of the clinics, the welcoming and inclusive environment even for less experienced climbers, the location, the land-acknowledgement ceremony, and all the speakers!”
“The vibe! Everyone was so kind and supportive. It was the best weekend! My leaders on Saturday for Climb United and Casual Climb with Sam and Adam on Sunday were amazing. Thank you for putting this together, it was a blast!!”
“Pretty much everything!! What a terrific event. The limited size of the festival was foundational to the experience: it helped keep things manageable, the walls didn’t feel too crowded, the clinic sizes were ideal, and it felt like I really got to know and connect with lots of people – other attendees, clinic leaders, and the organizing crew.”
“Getting to climb with a great group of people, all very supportive, and the leaders I had were incredibly knowledgeable and helpful.”
“Accessibility, quality people/community, variety of clinics. RT did a really great job meeting people where they are in their climbing journey and providing an inclusive, supportive space.”