By Jacie Sellars, Staff Writer
February 10, 2023
On Feb. 11, Ouachita RecLife will host RockFest, their annual rock climbing competition. RockFest will take place in the CRAG from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m., and 25 to 30 students are expected to compete. The competition has been a tradition since 2011, and RecLife is excited to host its 13th year.
According to RecLife director Shane Seaton, RockFest is scored based on the difficulty of the climb.
“We will put up routes of varying difficulties, and the harder the climb, the more points it is worth,” Seaton said. “Competitors climb as many climbs as they want to in the allotted time. They are ranked by totaling up the point values of their top three climbs.”
In order to make the competition as fair as possible, the climbing holds are rearranged into new positions. This prevents competitors from practicing the routes in advance. Since only the top three climbs are considered, competitors will be able to experiment as they learn the new routes and attempt different levels of difficulty. RockFest has several divisions, so there will be multiple winners.
All climbers in RockFest will be in the running for prizes from sponsors across the Arkadelphia community.
“Our sponsors this year include Ouachita Outdoor Outfitters, Climbers for Christ, Little Rock Climbing Center, Ozark Outdoor Supply and several local restaurants,” Seaton said. “There will be shirts, hats, hammocks, climbing shoes, gift cards and much more.”
The goal of RockFest is to encourage all climbers, so many competitors besides the winners will receive prizes.
“Just by participating, students have a good chance to win something,” Seaton said.
Although it is a competition, RockFest seeks to promote the benefits of climbing to everyone.
“Climbing is great exercise and is a great way to develop and deepen friendships,” Seaton said.
Students who climb will learn perseverance, critical thinking and teamwork. RockFest will have a friendly and supportive environment, and students with all levels of climbing experience are encouraged to participate.
“The CRAG is a great place to start climbing, and RockFest is an exciting time to try it out,” Seaton said. “Every year, we have students who have never climbed before participate in RockFest. It is a fun environment with everyone cheering for one another.”
RecLife staff will provide gear and instruction for beginners looking for a new adventure. Overall, RockFest will be a fun competition that students won’t want to miss out on.