Vermont Climbing Festival returns to scale new heights

Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 6:17 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Vt. (WCAX) - The fourth annual Vermont Climbing Festival is underway, offering clinics for those with any skill level to give the sport a try.

While some folks are hesitant to step outside their comfort zone, others are taking advantage of what the Green Mountain State has to offer.

Teka Nicolas lives outside Boston and traveled to experience the climbing culture in Vermont. “It’s just really cool to experience a climbing clinic like this,” he said.

The weekend consists of camping, climbing, workshops, competitions, guest speakers, and entertainment. Nicolas says it’s an experience that she’s willing to do again. “Just being able to have a really safe and welcoming environment to learn new things about climbing. It’s not intimidating, it’s very accessible so it’s been awesome so far,” she said.

Petra Cliffs guide Dylan Thomas is among those working with beginners on the basics of how to climb. “With the festival especially, this is a great opportunity for beginners to come out and maybe try climbing or people who are newer to climbing can develop their skills,” Thomas said. “The most exciting thing about what I do is teaching. It’s just something I enjoy and love and I think just getting people the skills they need to go out in the mountains on their own and have a good time independently. To me, it’s a really rewarding experience.”

While rock climbing can be dangerous, Thomas says with the right support, anything is possible. “I personally recommend anyone interested in climbing or advancing their skills as a climber to seek professional instruction. Yeah, climbing is dangerous, there’s a lot of risk involved. Managing the risk is paramount,” he said.

The festival runs through Sunday in Richmond.