Communities – Welcoming

Duncan Brown hosts a legit community event – the North Black Range Boulder Meet

The climbing community is a funny old beast. What used to be a ragtag collection of grizzled outdoors folk has grown into an incredibly eclectic mix of people. The bearded mountain folk of yore are are now joined by bearded city hipster boulderers, indoor competitors training hard for the promise of Olympic gold, fitness enthusiasts jumping on board the climbing trend, adventure climbers, alpinists, ice climbers, big wallers, sport climbers, trad climbers, weekend warriors, die hards, and dirtbag lifers. And along with the rich diversity of climber types is the even richer diversity of backgrounds – tradies, students, corporate folk, defence force personnel, retail workers, butchers, bakers and candlestick makers. You name it. They are all there.

Fabreece Fernandes making use of the huge amounts of pads available to make an attempt on 'The Riddle'. Image by Joachim 'Jogi' Ellenrieder

Fabreece Fernandes making use of the huge amounts of pads available to make an attempt on ‘The Riddle’. Image by Joachim ‘Jogi’ Ellenrieder

But despite them all sharing a common interest in the pursuit of the vertical, it’s not often that everyone gets together. It takes an inclusive, fun, community-focused event for everyone to gather and share their love of climbing. Luckily for the Canberra community, and for those close enough to drive down for the weekend, we have the North Black Range Boulder Meet (NBRBM) .

The NBRBM began five years ago and has run every year bar one, with this year’s event on 14/15 October. The idea behind is simple – provide a free, community-focused climbers’ get together where you can meet other climbers, share stories and climb a few boulders together. There are no fees, the camping is free, the granite is world class, the walk ins are short, there are great giveaways from sponsors, fun events like the Pad Stacking Championships and the evening is capped off with Crashpad Cinema, where we show some great new outdoor films on a big screen in the forest and everyone brings their crashpads, lounges around and gets psyched.

The crowds gather at The Hill for the first instalment of 'Crashpad Cinema' at the 2016 event. Bring a pad and a blanket and settle in for some inspiring adventure films in a unique setting. Image by Joachim 'Jogi' Ellenrieder

The crowds gather at The Hill for the first instalment of ‘Crashpad Cinema’ at the 2016 event. Bring a pad and a blanket and settle in for some inspiring adventure films in a unique setting. Image by Joachim ‘Jogi’ Ellenrieder

As the size and diversity of climbing grows and gyms continue to sprout like mushrooms after rain, for the community to remain as strong as it has been historically the need for community events like this will grow as well. One of the defining features of the climbing community has always been its inclusiveness. All are welcome in our ragtag family and events like these help to spread that message and to welcome new people to the fold.

Originally appearing in VL #22, this piece is part of a series on community – read the first instalment here.

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